Alex Rins claimed the second pole position of his short Grand Prix career after crushing the Moto3 competition at the Circuit of the Americas. The Estrella Galicia rider led his two title rivals Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales but the two were never a threat to their compatriot who dominated the session from start to finish.
Rins had already been the man to beat in free practice, leading Salom by 0.9s this morning, and the seventeen year old immediately established a similar advantage in qualifying. In fact, Rins was the only rider to hold provisional pole throughout the forty minutes and the only question would be to how fast he’d go. Midway through, Alex took his KTM to three consecutive pole laps in the 2:16s bracket, culminating with a 2:16.396 which would ultimately be his quickest lap of all.
As it turned out, each of the three flyers would have secured pole in their own right with Salom and Vinales scrambling to achieve some sort of respectability alongside him on the front row. Salom would get the closest after some alterations to his bike in the pits which helped drag him out of the midfield. The championship leader was just under half a second down by the finish with Vinales saving his best lap until the dying seconds to get within 0.704s of the lead.
The dominant riders had over a second in hand over the rest with Jack Miller at the head of the chasing pack in fourth, matching his career-best qualifying result, while Jonas Folger salvaged fifth after a tough afternoon on his Aspar Kalex-KTM, just in front of Alex Marquez. Niklas Ajo was another rider to improve at the death to snatch seventh from Danny Webb while Alexis Masbou and Arthur Sissis completed the top ten.
John McPhee’s testing weekend continued with 28th his best result but the Scot’s day was nothing compared to Japanese youngster Hyuga Watanabe who had two separate crashes. The first was all his own fault but the second was a scary-looking fall when he became tangled with Toni Finsterbusch under braking for turn twelve, flipping Watanabe over his handlebars. Thankfully, he limped away from the accident but it remains to be seen whether he’s fit to race tomorrow.