Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez claimed his 6th consecutive pole for Sunday’s MotoGP race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin Texas in spectacular style after holding off fellow Spaniard Maverick Vinales of Movistar Factory Yamaha and Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone.
However, the Honda rider’s pole time was momentarily in doubt after having low-sided his bike at Turn 13 on lap 2 of his qualifying run 1 in Q2 after having set his provisional pole.
There was another hiccup in Marquez’s quest for pole as his first lap during qualifying run 2 was slower than the fast charging Vinales, which ruined thr Yamaha rider’s attempt in securing a frony row start.
Vinales’ Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi was in contention for a front row start twice, having lapped second fastest in both of his qualifying runs but was soon relegated to 5th as Iannone and Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Johann Zarco took 3rd and 4th respectively.
Updated: Pole-sitter Marc Marquez has been dropped 3 grid positions by Race Stewards for cruising in the racing line and hampering Maverick Vinales’ fast lap. The reigning world champion will start from fourth while Vinales will start from pole. Iannone and Zarco will start from 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Argentina race winner and current championship leader Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda was 6th behind Rossi.
Ducati Corse’s Jorge Lorenzo was 7th, and like Rossi, the Spaniard took provisional 2nd before been relegated to the 3rd row.
Andrea Dovizioso was another rider who qualified for the provisional front row but ended in 8th on the grid once Q2 was officially over.
Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa claimed 9th while enduring the effect of his post-surgery on the right wrist injury sustained from the crash in Argentina 2 weeks ago after avoiding a hard charging Zarco.