Never two without three: third consecutive pole for Francesco Bagnaia, who continues in Austin after Aragon and Misano. Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez will accompany him on the front row.
This one, we hadn’t seen it coming. Ninth in free practice, never among the fastest men since the start of the weekend, Francesco Bagnaia revealed the cards of his game in qualifying, this Saturday, after finding a setting that suits him well between FP3 and FP4 . One lap, but a very quick lap, was enough for him to get pole. The only man in the session under 2’03 (2’02.781), he won his third consecutive qualification. Unheard of for a Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2008. And unheard of in Austin, since it is the first time that Marc Marquez has been dethroned in the exercise.
Skillful on a circuit he loves, the eight-time world champion could not do better than third, 428 thousandths behind the poleman. However, he signed his best qualifying of the season. He will have Fabio Quartararo at his side, a good second behind his runner-up in the championship. The two bosses in the general classification will be the first to appear on the grid on Sunday for a race that promises to be a tough one again.
The Pramac riders will take possession of the second row, with Jorge Martin (4th) and Johann Zarco (6th). The Frenchman continues a positive weekend, ten days after his compartment syndrome operation. The two teammates will be separated by Takaaki Nakagami, who hadn’t done so well since Assen in June.
The third row will be colored with Suzuki blue, Alex Rins (7th) and Joan Mir (8th) being in the front row. The first city hoped for a little better, the second can be satisfied after a start of the Grand Prix des Amériques more behind, and a passage through the repechage. They will be challenged at the start by Luca Marini (9th), author of the second best qualifying of his young career in MotoGP. Dominator of free sessions 3 and 4, Jack Miller (10th) is the big beat of the session. Follow Brad Binder (11th), best KTM rider, and Pol Espargaro (12th) who completes the standings.
First non-qualified at the end of Q1, Franco Morbidelli (13th) will have the top-10 in his sights on Sunday. It could also do it for the returning Andrea Dovizioso (14th), who is progressing from kilometer to kilometer. It will be more complicated for the fourth Yamaha rider, Valentino Rossi (20th), who fell in the draft. The nine-time world champion will start just behind Aleix Espargaro (19th), who is having a nightmarish weekend in Austin.
Austin, GP of the Americas – Q2 MotoGP:
Continuation of the grid (Q1):
13. Franco Morbidelli
14. Andrea Dovizioso
15. Alex Marquez
16. Enea Bastianini
17. Iker Lecuona
18. Miguel Oliveira
19. Aleix Espargaro
20. Valentino Rossi
21. Danilo Petrucci
Current MotoGP Championship: 1. Fabio Quartararo 234 pts, 2. Francesco Bagnaia 186 (-48), 3. Joan Mir 167 (-67), 4. Johann Zarco 141 (-93), 5. Jack Miller 140 (-94) …
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