Marquez Leads Honda Lockout In Qualifying At COTA


Marc Marquez will lead an all-Honda front row on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas after translating his practice dominance into pole position. The field did close up in qualifying but the reigning champion still had time in his pocket, beating teammate Dani Pedrosa by three tenths of a second with Stefan Bradl just behind in third.

Having topped every single session in the run-up to Qualifying 2, Marquez rode out of pitlane as the odds-on favourite for pole position and he quickly justified his status with a 2:03.051 on his first timed lap. That initially gave him a half-second lead although Pedrosa soon cut the gap to a mere eleven thousandths by the end of his first run.

Despite countless near-falls on his way around the Circuit of the Americas, Marquez continued to light up the timing screens and with a minute to go, he ripped up the record books with back-to-back laps, both within the previous pole position record. Bradl produced a late flyer to snatch third with Jorge Lorenzo briefly going fourth, only to be demoted by Aleix Espargaro who had buried himself in the factory Yamaha’s slipstream.

Valentino Rossi came within a thousandth of a second of his teammate in sixth with Cal Crutchlow claiming the honour of top Briton, and top Ducati, with seventh spot. Bradley Smith will line up eighth ahead of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso with Alvaro Bautista making the most of a Q1 reprieve to take eleventh from Pol Espargaro.

Scott Redding almost caused an almighty shock in the dying seconds of Q1 by setting a 2:04.617 to go third fastest, just seven hundredths away from eliminating the elder of the Espargaro brothers. The British rookie also comfortably outpaced Nicky Hayden’s fellow production Honda to secure thirteenth on the grid. Michael Laverty will start twentieth for Paul Bird Motorsport having narrowly outqualified his teammate Broc Parkes.