Marc Marquez took pole position for the third round of MotoGP at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, but only just from Jorge Lorenzo.
Championship leader Marquez – who has won here every time he’s raced at COTA – lapped his Honda in 2m03.188s. This was his fourth successive Austin pole.
"Really happy with pole position, we are working hard for tomorrow and it looks like my pace is good – both Yamahas are closer," said Marquez.
Although this is far from Yamaha’s best circuit, Lorenzo threw everything at Marquez, and got within 0.069s at his second attempt, but it just wasn’t enough to snatch pole.
“We made a great job to improve the bike in every session, so I did a very good lap time and I’m very proud of it,” said Lorenzo.
Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi will start third, getting to within half a second of pole.
“It’s crucial for the race,” said Rossi. “From this morning we improved the bike a lot. I did some good laps.”
Penalised Iannone best of the rest
Andrea Iannone qualified fourth, but will drop three places for his last-corner crash with Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso in Argentina.
That promotes Maverick Vinales (Suzuki), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Dovizioso to the second row.
Behind Iannone, Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will start eighth, ahead of Aleix Espargaro’s Suzuki, Scott Redding’s Pramac Ducati, Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) in a best-ever 12th.
Smith topped Q1 with a late flying lap, beating Aleix Espargaro by a tenth. Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro had to poor final sector on his last lap, restricting him to 13th position overall.
Hector Barbera had one final tilt at getting into Q2, but encountering Alvaro Bautista ruined his final effort, and he will start 14th.
Only 20 bikes will start as Jack Miller has been forced to withdraw through injury.
|1||Marc Marquez||Honda RC213V||2:03.188|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:03.257|
|3||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:03.644|
|4||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:04.247|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||2:04.265|
|6||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||2:04.339|
|7||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||2:03.913*|
|8||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||2:04.379|
|9||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:04.408|
|10||Scott Redding||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||2:04.485|
|11||Bradley Smith||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:04.988|
|12||Loris Baz||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:05.159|
|13||Pol Espargaro||Yamaha YZR-M1||2:04.867|
|14||Hector Barbera||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:04.944|
|15||Eugene Laverty||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:05.425|
|16||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia RS-GP||2:05.625|
|17||Michele Pirro||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||2:05.702|
|18||Yonny Hernandez||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||2:06.029|
|19||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia RS-GP||2:06.049|
|20||Tito Rabat||Honda RC213V||2:06.562|
* – Includes 3-place grid penalty