Marc Marquez took his fourth pole position in succession for the Indianapolis Grand Prix but that only tells half the story of a nail biting qualifying battle. For much of the session, it looked as if Simone Corsi was going to claim his first pole in three years, and the Italian will never come closer than he did today.
The Ioda Racing FTR hit the front immediately when qualifying began, setting a 1:44.964 and incredibly, Corsi was confident enough to sit in the pits for the best part of 20 minutes as his rivals tried in vain to beat him.
With eight minutes left on the clock, his resistance was finally broken by Scott Redding as the Briton looked to repeat the form that saw him set the pace in final practice. By this time, Corsi had finally ventured back out on track and lowered the target time to a 1:44.259 before Marquez joined the party, lapping a tenth quicker.
Andrea Iannone also emerged as a contender in the dying minutes, moving into second place, while Bradley Smith jumped up to fourth with a well-timed effort. Timing was everything in the fight for pole too and Corsi regained top spot as the chequered flag flew, prompting joyous scenes on the Ioda Racing pit wall.
The celebrations proved slightly premature though as Marquez was bearing down on the finish line himself. The title hopeful snatched pole position by just one thousandth of a second, forcing Corsi to settle for second.
Iannone and Smith were both more than satisfied with third and fourth as they navigated their way through traffic. Thomas Luthi also found a clear lap to take fifth with Mattia Pasini qualifying a season's best of sixth.
Pol Espargaro claimed an excellent seventh while Dominique Aegerter finished eighth on the sole remaining Technomag-CIP Suter. Esteve Rabat and Alex De Angelis both held places on the front row in the closing minutes but the mad scramble at the end dropped them to ninth and tenth.
After his practice promise, Scott Redding will have been frustrated with 11th but his problems were nothing compared to those of Stefan Bradl. The championship leader crashed in morning practice and never looked on the pace in qualifying, ending up in a lowly 22nd.
|1||Marc Marquez||SPA||Suter||Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol||1:44.038|
|2||Simone Corsi||ITA||FTR||Ioda Racing Project||+0.001|
|3||Andrea Iannone||ITA||Suter||Speed Master||+0.120|
|4||Bradley Smith||GBR||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+0.306|
|5||Thomas Luthi||SWI||Suter||Interwetten Paddock Moto2||+0.585|
|6||Mattia Pasini||ITA||FTR||Ioda Racing Project||+0.694|
|7||Pol Espargaro||SPA||FTR||HP Tuenti Speed Up||+0.747|
|10||Alex de Angelis||RSM||Motobi||JIR Moto2||+0.826|
|11||Scott Redding||GBR||Suter||Marc VDS Racing Team||+0.827|
|12||Jules Cluzel||FRA||Suter||NGM Forward Racing||+1.005|
|13||Michele Pirro||ITA||Moriwaki||Gresini Racing Moto2||+1.009|
|14||Ricard Cardus||SPA||Moriwaki||QMMF Racing Team||+1.022|
|15||Julian Simon||SPA||Suter||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2||+1.024|
|16||Max Neukirchner||GER||MZ-RE Honda||MZ Racing Team||+1.056|
|17||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Pons Kalex||Pons HP 40||+1.098|
|18||Mika Kallio||FIN||Suter||Marc VDS Racing Team||+1.122|
|19||Raffaele de Rosa||ITA||Suter||NGM Forward Racing||+1.135|
|20||Yuki Takahashi||JAP||Moriwaki||Gresini Racing Moto2||+1.146|
|21||Jordi Torres||SPA||Suter||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2||+1.331|
|22||Stefan Bradl||GER||Kalex||Viessman Kiefer Racing||+1.333|
|23||Randy Krummenacher||SWI||Kalex||GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing||+1.410|
|24||Xavier Simeon||BEL||Tech 3||Tech 3 B||+1.458|
|25||Mike Di Meglio||FRA||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+1.496|
|26||Claudio Corti||ITA||Suter||Italtrans Racing Team||+1.644|
|27||Ratthapark Wilairot||THA||FTR||Thai Honda Singha SAG||+1.851|
|28||Carmelo Morales||SPA||Suter||Desguaces La Torre G22||+2.021|
|30||Anthony West||AUS||MZ-RE Honda||MZ Racing Team||+2.122|
|32||Alex Baldolini||ITA||Pons Kalex||Pons HP 40||+2.209|
|33||Jacob Gagne (WC)||USA||FTR||GPTech||+2.556|
|34||Valentin Debise||FRA||FTR||Speed Up||+2.915|
|35||JD Beach||USA||FTR||Aeroport de Castello||+3.181|
|36||Mashel Al Naimi||QAT||Moriwaki||QMMF Racing Team||+3.305|
|37||Robertino Pietri||VEN||Suter||Italtrans Racing Team||+3.401|
|38||Santiago Hernandez||COL||FTR||SAG Team||+4.132|
|107% Time: 2:11.068|