Alex Rins secured back-to-back pole positions either side of the summer break with a dominant performance on Saturday at Indianapolis, leading an Estrella Galicia 1-2 on the grid. The Spaniard beat teammate Alex Marquez to top spot with Maverick Vinales rounding out the front row but championship leader Luis Salom had a disastrous session.
Rins was the clear leader from the moment qualifying kicked off with a 1:48.135 ten minutes in, already quicker than the original pole record. Alex wouldn’t be overhauled at any stage with the only change coming in the margin of superiority. In the second half of the session, the 17 year old powered into the 1:47s but one of the men expected to challenge him for pole had all sorts of problems.
Lying down in seventh, Luis Salom lost the back end of his KTM through the high speed turn one, landing hard on his backside. The signs weren’t good for the Red Bull Ajo squad as their leading rider crawled away on his hands and knees before being stretchered away but the tough Salom returned to the track in the closing minutes.
Rins’ benchmark time was a 1:47.392 by the end of the session which put him three tenths clear of Marquez with the no.12 rider displacing Vinales two minutes from time. With his chief title rival in trouble, Maverick would have been keen to gain as much ground as possible but third was the best he could manage.
Efren Vazquez secured fourth on the grid for the ever-improving Mahindra team with Jack Miller and Arthur Sissis ensuring a strong Australian presence on row two with fifth and sixth respectively. Jonas Folger, a podium finisher on his Aspar debut here last year, will have to come through from seventh to pull off a repeat performance and will have Miguel Oliveira and Zulfahmi Khairuddin for company while Salom salvaged tenth with his last lap of the afternoon.
The points leader wasn’t the only rider in difficulty as Brad Binder crashed twice on his way to nineteenth. Meanwhile, John McPhee’s performance was hindered by sickness which restricted him to 30th.