Austin MotoGP: Marquez on pole, but under investigation

Austin MotoGP: Marquez on pole, but under investigation
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Apr 21, 2018, 7:59 PM

Marc Marquez provisionally continued his unbroken run of MotoGP pole positions at the Circuit of the Americas, but is under investigation for baulking closest rival Maverick Vinales.

Marquez predictably led the opening runs at the Austin, Texas track with a best lap of 2m04.134s, giving himself a 0.394s buffer over nearest challenger Valentino Rossi.

But the reigning champion lost the front end of his works Honda at Turn 13 mere moments later, falling from the bike and forcing him to get a ride back to the pits to change to his second bike for the final part of the session.

On his out lap for his second run, Marquez blocked Vinales while the Yamaha rider was on a hot lap, touring on the racing line at Turn 15.

Vinales was forced to abandon his lap and gesticulated angrily at Marquez, but regrouped to grab the top spot with a 2m04.064s next time round.

Marquez well and truly obliterated that effort as he lapped in 2m03.658s, 0.406s up on Vinales - but as the session ended, it was announced the incident between the pair was under investigation.

Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone was best of the rest in third, 0.551s off the pace and one thousandth of a second ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco.

The second works Yamaha of Valentino Rossi was fifth ahead of the lead Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo.

Points leader Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was seventh ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), an injured Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Danilo Petrucci, one of two riders to advance from Q1.

Completing the top 12 were Alex Rins (Suzuki) and shock Q1 pacesetter Pol Espargaro.

Q1: Espargaro fastest, Miller struggles

An impressive last-gasp effort from Espargaro put the KTM rider atop the timesheets in the first qualifying segment, less than a tenth clear of Pramac Ducati man Petrucci.

LCR Honda rookie Takaaki Nakagami missed out on a Q2 spot by three tenths and will head up the fifth row of the grid ahead of Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati) and the second KTM of Bradley Smith.

Hafizh Syahrin (Tech 3 Yamaha) led the way after the first runs in Q1, but couldn't replicate that form in the final stages of the session and slipped down to sixth and 16th place on the grid.

Argentina poleman Jack Miller struggled and could manage no better than 18th, while the Aprilias of Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding were a subdued 19th and 22nd respectively.

Q2 results:

1 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 2'03.658  
2 25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 2'04.064 0.406
3 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 2'04.209 0.551
4 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 2'04.210 0.552
5 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 2'04.229 0.571
6 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 2'04.294 0.636
7 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 2'04.456 0.798
8 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 2'04.865 1.207
9 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 2'04.963 1.305
10 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 2'05.058 1.400
11 42 spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 2'05.260 1.602
12 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 2'05.829 2.171

Q1 results:

Q2 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 2'05.169  
Q2 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 2'05.245 0.076
13 30 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 2'05.457 0.288
14 53 spain Tito Rabat  Ducati 2'05.686 0.517
15 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 2'05.761 0.592
16 55 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Yamaha 2'05.873 0.704
17 21 italy Franco Morbidelli  Honda 2'05.943 0.774
18 43 australia Jack Miller  Ducati 2'05.966 0.797
19 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 2'06.035 0.866
20 12 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Honda 2'06.222 1.053
21 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 2'06.296 1.127
22 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Aprilia 2'06.370 1.201
23 17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 2'06.537 1.368
24 10 belgium Xavier Simeon  Ducati 2'06.726 1.557
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Marquez gets three-place penalty for blocking Vinales

Marquez gets three-place penalty for blocking Vinales
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