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MotoGP Austin: Lorenzo runs Marquez close for pole

MotoGP Austin: Lorenzo runs Marquez close for pole
Apr 9, 2016, 8:03 PM

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.

Qualifying results

SpainMarc Marquez  Honda RC213V  2:03.188 
SpainJorge Lorenzo  Yamaha YZR-M1  2:03.257 
ItalyValentino Rossi  Yamaha YZR-M1  2:03.644 
SpainMaverick Viñales  Suzuki GSX-RR  2:04.247 
United KingdomCal Crutchlow  Honda RC213V  2:04.265 
ItalyAndrea Dovizioso  Ducati Desmosedici GP16  2:04.339 
ItalyAndrea Iannone  Ducati Desmosedici GP16  2:03.913* 
SpainDani Pedrosa  Honda RC213V  2:04.379 
SpainAleix Espargaro  Suzuki GSX-RR  2:04.408 
10  United KingdomScott Redding  Ducati Desmosedici GP15  2:04.485 
11  United KingdomBradley Smith  Yamaha YZR-M1  2:04.988 
12  FranceLoris Baz  Ducati Desmosedici GP14  2:05.159 
13  SpainPol Espargaro  Yamaha YZR-M1  2:04.867 
14  SpainHector Barbera  Ducati Desmosedici GP14  2:04.944 
15  IrelandEugene Laverty  Ducati Desmosedici GP14  2:05.425 
16  GermanyStefan Bradl  Aprilia RS-GP  2:05.625 
17  ItalyMichele Pirro  Ducati Desmosedici GP15  2:05.702 
18  ColombiaYonny Hernandez  Ducati Desmosedici GP14  2:06.029 
19  SpainAlvaro Bautista  Aprilia RS-GP  2:06.049 
20  SpainTito Rabat  Honda RC213V  2:06.562

* – Includes 3-place grid penalty

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