Marquez Achieves Career-First Pole Position
On only his second MotoGP™ race weekend, 20-year-old Marc Marquez has achieved pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. 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. This 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.
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.
24 riders will start Sunday’s race. Wildcard Michael Barnes (GPTech) failed to make the 107% 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.
With reigning Moto2™ World Champion Marc Marquez on pole position, the inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas begins at 2pm local time (GMT -5) on Sunday. All of the action can be followed live on motogp.com.
Photo and story courtesy of MotoGP.com