Marquez takes pole; Vinales P2 with Rossi in P3

By | April 23, 2017

Austin, 22 April 2017: Marc Marquez extended his record of most Pole Positions in Grand Prix history across all classes, taking the 67th pole in career (his 39th in the MotoGP class, his second in a row this season and his fifth in a row at Austin at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday. Marc worked hard with his team on race pace on used tyres and despite suffering two crashes (without consequences) in FP3, he was able to regain good confidence on his RC213V and keep a fast pace, according to a Repsol Honda release.

While the stunning dash by the reigning champion got him another pole, the winner of the first two races, Vinales was second and multiple winner Valentino Rossi is third.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales scored a position on the front row with second place in this afternoon‘s qualifying for tomorrow‘s Grand Prix of The Americas. Teammate Valentino Rossi also pushed his YZR-M1 to the limit at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), claiming third place on the grid in the final minutes, adds Movistar Yamaha release.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders wrapped up today‘s intense Qualifying 2 session with some red-hot laps, securing Yamaha its first double front row start of the 2017 MotoGP season and setting the stage for a thrilling race.

Viñales waited for most of his competition to head out at the start of the 15-minute qualifying session. Wasting no time, his first flying lap was looking promising, but traffic on the track spoiled his efforts in the final corner. His second attempt, a 2‘03.912s, moved him to second place before he rushed back to the box for a fresh set of tyres.

With four minutes remaining, the young Spaniard pulled out all the stops to earn first place. He narrowed the gap to provisional pole to 0.083s with a 2‘03.125s, but knew he had a margin for improvement left. He made good on his promising pace, when he dropped a 2‘02.871s to briefly take over pole, before being pushed back to second after the flag was out. Nevertheless, Viñales is perfectly satisfied to have secured his second front row start for Yamaha, 0.130s from the front.

Teammate Rossi went straight into action as soon as the green light signalled the start of the 15-minute time attack. The Italian’s first lap initially lifted him to fifth, but he dropped to eighth when all riders had completed their first attempt. The long American track allowed him one more try and he responded soon with a 2’04.758s for seventh, but was back in eighth when he entered pit lane for a quick stop.

The Doctor returned to the pits with around six minutes on the clock and quickly changed tyres in under 60 seconds, before heading back out. Having dropped to tenth place, he was determined to show what he got and cleverly searched for some clear space on track. He perfectly timed his final attack, stepping up his pace on his seventh lap to better his time to a 2’03.673s  to take third, 0.932s from first.

Dani Pedrosa, fourth

Pedrosa, who was another victim (among many others today) of the tricky track conditions and had a small, inconsequent tumble at the end of FP4, also lapped among the fastest during the day and set the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying, missing out on the front row by just 0.193”.

Marc Marquez, 

POLE POSITION  2’02.741

Marquez celebrates with team after taking COTA pole on Saturday. A Repsol Honda image

“This pole makes me feel really good because I honestly didn’t expect it, or actually I thought it would be difficult. In fact, even considering that this circuit suits my riding style, I’ve been struggling a bit this weekend. We knew that our opponents were very strong on new tyres and we worked a lot on race distance, and I felt better on race pace than on qualifying pace. But anyway, this is a track I love, so I told myself, ‘Let’s try!’ and on my last lap I pushed to my maximum, doing my best, and we got another pole here in Austin which is very good. I’m happy with the team; we changed many things on the bike over the weekend and step-by-step we regained some confidence, so this afternoon we just focused on keeping a good pace and it worked well. We did a good job in FP4. I feel quite good on used tyres so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

eom/Honda and Yamaha releases