Marc Marquez brought the best of MotoGP to their knees with a stunning pole position in Argentina. While his rivals lapped within tenths of each other, the reigning champion pulled out three quarters of a second on the lot of them to keep up his 100% pole position record in 2014.
Marquez had been the benchmark throughout free practice with his quickest laps being in the low-1:39s and Stefan Bradl will have thought he was in contention after setting a 1:39.297 on his first lap of Q2. Marc had other ideas though and immediately registered a 1:38.227 to assert his authority. Stefan’s session took an even bigger turn for the worse seconds later when the LCR Honda highsided exiting turn two, slamming him down on his hip and with the German looking visibly shaken on his return to the pits, his team pulled him out of the rest of Q2.
With the final set of tyres fitted, the decisive period of qualifying got underway with Dani Pedrosa slotting into second behind his teammate but a sizeable error at the penultimate corner left him a second slower once Marquez had improved again, the no.93 improving to a sensational 1:37.683. Pedrosa’s error allowed Jorge Lorenzo to steal second with a 1:38.425, knocking Aleix Espargaro off the front row to fourth in the process.
Andrea Dovizioso’s fine form continued with fifth for Ducati with Valentino Rossi qualifying sixth ahead of Bradley Smith who was given a fright by the production Hondas in Q1 who threatened to knock him out in the first session. Smith survived to reach the pole position shootout and was rewarded with seventh ahead of Andrea Iannone and the shaken Bradl.
Alvaro Bautista completed a disappointing afternoon for the satellite Hondas in tenth with Pol Espargaro riding through significant pain to qualify eleventh after a fall in final practice. Nicky Hayden won the battle of the customer Hondas to reach Q2 and take twelfth on the grid with Scott Redding narrowly missing out, causing him to start one place further back.