Marc Marquez took pole position in a chaotic qualifying session for the Argentina MotoGP race, crashing out in the closing moments but keeping the top spot ahead of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
After topping both Saturday practice sessions, Repsol Honda man Marquez always looked like the man to beat, and his opening Q2 salvo of 1m39.411s proved out of reach for his rivals for the rest of the session.
The two-time champion, however, suffered a low-side crash at Turn 1 in the closing moments of the session in almost identical circumstances to his FP3 crash.
Marquez's initial lap time gave him an advantage of 1.1s over Lorenzo at first, although this was halved when Rossi jumped to P2 late on with a time 0.577s slower.
During the final runs, Lorenzo briefly took second place, four hundredths up on Rossi, before the Italian snatched the place back from his factory Yamaha teammate by lapping 0.375s down on Marquez at the chequered flag.
That relegated Lorenzo back to third, ahead of the second factory Honda of Dani Pedrosa and the works Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.
Maverick Vinales moved up to seventh at the end of the session on the best of the Suzukis, with Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) and Cal Crutchlow, who crashed his LCR Honda at Turn 1, completing the third row.
Bradley Smith was another man to lose the front at the first corner, and could do no better than 12th behind the Espargaro brothers Pol and Aleix, having previously topped Q1 from his Tech 3 teammate.
Scott Redding was the highest-profile casualty of the opening session, and will start 14th behind Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) and ahead of Jack Miller, who crashed his Marc VDS Honda twice.
FP4 tyre drama
The start of qualifying was delayed as Redding suffered a delamination of his rear tyre in FP4 in an incident not dissimilar to that of Baz in Sepang testing, albeit without a dramatic crash.
That brought out the red flags while the debris from the back of Redding's Pramac Ducati was cleared, and the session was resumed before being suspended for a second time with four minutes to run to establish the circumstances of the failure.
FP4 was eventually resumed once again, with Lorenzo supplying some late drama when he suffered a routine low-side crash at Turn 1, the same place Marquez had fallen in FP3.
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1:39.411|
|2||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:39.786|
|3||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:39.944|
|4||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1:40.011|
|5||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||1:40.198|
|6||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||1:40.272|
|7||Maverick Viñales||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR||1:40.375|
|8||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||1:40.524|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||Team LCR||Honda RC213V||1:40.528|
|10||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:40.654|
|11||Aleix Espargaro||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR||1:40.708|
|12||Bradley Smith||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||1:40.893|
|13||Loris Baz||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||1:40.744|
|14||Scott Redding||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||1:40.750|
|15||Jack Miller||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V||1:40.881|
|16||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||1:40.897|
|17||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||1:40.990|
|18||Michele Pirro||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||1:41.116|
|19||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V||1:41.157|
|20||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||1:41.611|
|21||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||1:41.692|