Marquez beats Rossi to claim seventh straight COTA pole

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Marc Marquez secured a seventh straight pole position at the Grand Prix of the Americas after setting a 2:03.787 in Q2 to finish 0.273 clear of second place Valentino Rossi, with Cal Crutchlow completing the front row in Texas.

After horrendous weather throughout the morning in Austin, thankfully it was beautiful blue skies above the Circuit of the Americas for qualifying. Normal service was resumed at the beginning of Q2 as Marquez slammed in a 2:03.787 straight out the gate, chasing down teammate Jorge Lorenzo – who topped the timesheets in Q1 - to put in the best time of the weekend.

Lorenzo then encountered what looked like a chain issue with his Honda machine heading onto his second flying lap behind the number 93 – a Marquez-style park it and run down pitlane followed for the five-time World Champion.

Meanwhile, Marquez’ scorcher of a time was seemingly well out of sight as the riders completed their first flying laps, Maverick Vinales a full two seconds back before his teammate Rossi jumped up to second, 0.733 the gap. No one could get closer than that to Marquez after the first runs though, with Rossi emerging as best of the rest ahead of Jack Miller, Vinales, Alex Rins and Crutchlow.

The riders emerged out of the box for their second time attacks, with Marquez unable to better his sensational first lap at the first attempt on fresh rubber.

But it wasn’t the same story for his rivals behind, with Rossi improving to move within three tenths of P1, with Rins and Miller exchanging laps good enough for the final front row slot just behind. However, neither would occupy P3 for long as Crutchlow crossed the line to displace the duo, the British rider just 0.087 off Rossi.

Marquez still couldn’t improve his time but in the end, it wouldn’t matter. Almost everyone backed out or couldn’t better their final laps and so the grid was set, with your front row in Texas consisting of two Hondas sandwiching a Yamaha – Marquez heading Rossi and Crutchlow. This is Rossi’s first front row since Malaysia 2018, while Crutchlow starts on the front row for the first time since Assen last year. A tasty row one in Texas.

Miller took top Ducati honours in P4 and just behind the Australian was a certain Pol Espargaro on board his TM. The Spaniard having a stellar Q2 session to secure KTM’s best MotoGP qualifying position in fifth, just 0.685 from pole, with Vinales improving on his last lap to grab a second row start in P6.

The Spaniard’s lap knocked Rins down a place to seventh, this the Suzuki rider’s best qualifying of the year to make it five manufacturers in the top seven, with Q1 graduate Danilo Petrucci eighth in Americas GP qualifying. It’s Fabio Quartararo joining the Spaniard and Italian on row three in ninth, with the Frenchman getting the better of teammate Franco Morbidelli – P10 for the latter. After progressing through Q1, Lorenzo will lineup in P11 for Sunday’s race, with rookie Francesco Bagnaia twelfth in his first Q2 session – the Italian crashing unhurt at Turn 1.

One of the major talking points from qualifying was the absence of Andrea Dovizioso in Q2. The Italian was unable to progress through Q1 after losing out to his teammate Petrucci and will have to aim for the podium from 13th.

Q1 Result:

Pos. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 Jorge LORENZO Honda 2'05.855  
2 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 2'05.891 0.036 / 0.036
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 2'05.907 0.052 / 0.016
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 2'06.147 0.292 / 0.240
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 2'06.324 0.469 / 0.177
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 2'06.464 0.609 / 0.140
7 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 2'06.527 0.672 / 0.063
8 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 2'06.543 0.688 / 0.016
9 Johann ZARCO KTM 2'06.824 0.969 / 0.281
10 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 2'07.129 1.274 / 0.305
11 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 2'07.308 1.453 / 0.179
12 Tito RABAT Ducati 2'07.417 1.562 / 0.109

Q2 Result:

Pos. Rider Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 338.3 2'03.787  
2 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 328.8 2'04.060 0.273 / 0.273
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 338.9 2'04.147 0.360 / 0.087
4 Jack MILLER Ducati 336.7 2'04.416 0.629 / 0.269
5 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 331.8 2'04.472 0.685 / 0.056
6 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 324.9 2'04.489 0.702 / 0.017
7 Alex RINS Suzuki 325.5 2'04.534 0.747 / 0.045
8 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 331.6 2'04.696 0.909 / 0.162
9 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 323.7 2'04.941 1.154 / 0.245
10 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 322 2'05.278 1.491 / 0.337
11 Jorge LORENZO Honda 329.2 2'05.383 1.596 / 0.105
12 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 328.6 2'05.887 2.100 / 0.504