On only his second MotoGP™ race weekend, 20-year-old Marc Marquez achieved pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas on Saturday. The Repsol Honda Team rider led teammate Dani Pedrosa, as championship leader Jorge Lorenzo appeared to miscalculate his final run en route to third place.
Fastest all weekend so far with the exception of third practice, Marquez had also topped a three-day test session at the new Circuit of the Americas last month. On Saturday afternoon, he posted the quickest ever MotoGP™ lap time at the Texan venue, delivering 2:03.021 and thus undercutting 1983 and 1985 World Champion Freddie Spencer to become the youngest ever pole-sitter in the top class of the sport.
“We are happy of course because we have taken our first pole position, which is important and always exciting,” Marquez said after the session, complete with the wide smile that has already become a trademark of his. “We knew beforehand that we could fight for pole, but you never know what will happen in the session. Both Dani and Jorge are fast over a single lap – and we managed to overcome them.
“The important stuff starts tomorrow because we have a long, physical race with many of changes of direction to deal with. We need to be ready because tomorrow is what really counts and I will do the best that I can.”
Pedrosa lowered his personal best on the final run but missed out on pole by two and a half tenths, whereas Lorenzo appeared to avoid traffic by touring through the pit lane – only to rejoin the track too late to post a last-gasp challenge.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow – who had not attended the test last month – will head up Row 2 from LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
The top eight is completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi.
Ninth on the grid will be leading CRT rider Aleix Espargaro, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider not only jumped up from Q1 but proceeded to out-qualify both Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden (10th) and Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies (12th). Between the two Americans will be Tech 3 newcomer Bradley Smith, starting 11th in Round 2.
The fifth row will be headed up by Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who like 14th-placed Randy de Puniet (Aspar) had challenged but failed to earn a spot in Q2. In 15th position, Hector Barbera will be the leading Avintia Blusens rider, starting the race in front of PBM duo Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty, NGM Mobile Forward Racing pairing Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama.
The back row will consist of Australian Bryan Staring, Czech Lukas Pesek and American wildcard rider Blake Young for Gresini, Ioda and Attack Performance Racing, respectively.
Twenty-four riders will start Sunday’s race. Wildcard Michael Barnes (GPTech) failed to make the 107 percent threshold, whereas Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham has sustained a fracture to his right collarbone following a collision with Staring in Q1. The Czech has since undergone surgery in the Brackenridge University Hospital of Austin and has been declared unfit to race on Sunday. He may be able to return next time out in Jerez.
The inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas begins at 2:00pm local time on Sunday. All of the action can be followed live on motogp.com.
Britain’s Scott Redding will start at the front of the grid for Sunday’s Moto2™ race in Austin. On his first pole position in any category of the World Championship, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider will share the front row with Takaaki Nakagami and Nico Terol. Championship leader Pol Espargaro starts seventh.
Displacing Italtrans Racing Team’s Nakagami, Redding – second in the standings – registered 2:10.577 and was almost seventh tenths of a second quicker. Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Terol (who achieves his first Moto2 front row) was just two hundredths of a second down on Nakagami as Tuenti HP 40’s Esteve Rabat and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter rounded out the top five.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins dominated the Moto3™ qualifying session for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. The 17-year-old from Barcelona, who was also on pole for last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, will share Sunday’s front row with championship leader Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales.
Having already topped the final practice session, Rins proceeded to register a blistering pace of 2:16.396 and firmly placed his Estrella Galicia 0,0 bike at the front of the grid.
MotoGP Qualifying Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)
- 1 Marc Marquez 2’03.021 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 2 Dani Pedrosa 2’03.275 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 3 Jorge Lorenzo 2’04.100 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 4 Cal Crutchlow 2’04.267 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 5 Stefan Bradl 2’04.445 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
- 6 Andrea Dovizioso 2’04.873 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 7 Alvaro Bautista 2’04.942 SPA HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
- 8 Valentino Rossi 2’05.380 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 9 Aleix Espargaro 2’05.389 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 10 Nicky Hayden 2’05.568 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 11 Bradley Smith 2’06.740 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 12 Ben Spies 2’07.044 USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
- 13 Andrea Iannone 2’06.872 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
- 14 Randy De Puniet 2’07.129 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 15 Hector Barbera 2’07.717 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
- 16 Yonny Hernandez 2’07.738 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
- 17 Michael Laverty 2’08.259 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
- 18 Colin Edwards 2’08.475 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
- 19 Claudio Corti 2’08.792 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
- 20 Danilo Petrucci 2’08.825 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
- 21 Hiroshi Aoyama 2’09.062 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
- 22 Bryan Staring 2’10.098 AUS HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
- 23 Lukas Pesek 2’10.507 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
- 24 Blake Young 2’10.606 USA APR CRT Attack Performance
- 25 Karel Abraham 2’03.275 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing