MotoGP Qualifying Results From Austin

Marquez on pole with Lorenzo and Rossi on the front row.

Marc Marquez pole position
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda©Motorcyclist

The MotoGP World Championship headed out for an epic 15-minute Q2 session. All eyes were on Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he was expected to again walk the field at a track that he has made his own. The Spaniard opted for the softer option front and rear tire while Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR) went with the medium front option.

It was Lorenzo who struck first, immediately setting a 2’03.613, the fastest lap of the weekend up to that point. Not only was this the fastest lap of the weekend, but it was also Lorenzo’s first 2’03s, having only previously managed mid 2’04s.

But Marquez responded immediately and dropped to a 2’03.188, just over a second off his own pole record and 0.425s faster than Lorenzo’s time. After their first runs were complete, Lorenzo was the only rider within a second of Marquez.

Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha
Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha©Motorcyclist

Their battled continued as Lorenzo dropped his time to a 2’03.257, 0.069s behind Marquez and the closest a rider had been to him throughout the entire weekend. Neither would be able to improve their time, despite getting close on multiple occasions.

This meant for the fourth consecutive year, Marc Marquez secured pole position at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. Not only did he continue his domination of the Texas track, but Marquez also claimed the 60th pole position of his career and will have his first back-to-back starts from pole since the German and Indianapolis GPs in 2015.

See Last Year's Race Report From COTA:

After a difficult start to the weekend, Lorenzo was relieved to take second place and gave Marquez something to think about as he got within a tenth of him. Lorenzo has the pace to stick with Marquez for a lap, but can he do it over race distance?

Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha
Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha©Motorcyclist

The gap was slightly larger to Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in third, the Italian 0.387s behind his teammate and 0.456s back on Marquez. He may not have challenged for pole, but Rossi remains adamant that the front row will allow him to stay with the leading duo. Interestingly, Rossi used his bike with winglets to secure third, one of the first times he has used the winglets to achieve a fast lap. This is Rossi’s first back-to-back front row starts since the Malaysian and Australian GPs way back in 2013.

Fourth and leading the Ducati charge in the session was Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team). The Italian has been strong over the course of the weekend and he was one of the few to consistently get within a second of Marquez. Unfortunately Iannone will be demoted to seventh for Sunday’s race as a result of his attempted last-lap pass in Argentina. Expect big moves from the Italian into Turn 1 after the lights go out.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) produced the fifth fastest time and will be moved to fourth as a result of Iannone’s penalty. Back in 2015, Viñales started from 12th on the grid at the Circuit of the Americas, riding to 9th in the race. If he can gain at least three places in the race, Viñales could very well be looking at a first visit to the podium. COTA was the scene of Viñales’ first Moto2 victory in 2014.

Maverick Viñales
Maverick Viñales, Team Suzuki Ecstar©Motorcyclist

Sixth in the session and the leading Independent Team rider, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) will move to fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race. After two difficult opening rounds, Crutchlow is out to remain upright and score his first points of the year.

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda©Motorcyclist

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten. From Viñales in fifth to Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) in 12th, under a second split the eight riders. While the leading four may be in a league of their own, the battle for the top ten looks tighter than ever.

Andrea Dovisioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovisioso, Ducati Team©Motorcyclist

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) did not participate in Qualifying due to a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot after a Friday fall. It was announced during the FP4 session that the Australian will miss the race and return to action in Jerez.

The premier class battle commences at 14:00 Local Time on Sunday.

Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team©Motorcyclist
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda©Motorcyclist
2016 MotoGP Austin, Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar©Motorcyclist

2016 Americas GP Qualifying Results
1. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
2. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
3. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
4. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
5. Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
7. Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
8. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
9. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
10. Scott REDDING (45) OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI
11. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
12. Loris BAZ (76) Avintia Racing DUCATI
13. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
14. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
15. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI
16. Stefan BRADL (6) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
17. Michele PIRRO (51) OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI
18. Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI
19. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
20. Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
21. Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA

2016 MotoGP Starting Grid at Circuit of the Americas
2016 MotoGP Starting Grid at Circuit of the Americas©Motorcyclist