Jack Miller followed his maiden podium and victory in Qatar with the first pole position of his Grand Prix career in Texas. The Australian was truly dominant throughout Saturday’s qualifying session with Efren Vazquez and Alex Rins sharing the front row with him after their private battle over second place.
The writing was on the wall from a very early stage as Miller clocked a 2:16.929 but the championship leader moved pole position even further out of the reach of his rivals with a 2:16.342 just after the halfway point, smashing the previous qualifying record set last season and giving him a one second cushion. With that part of the puzzle firmly in place for Sunday’s race, the focus now switched to the fight for second.
Alex Marquez was currently the man in possession but his teammate Rins overhauled him seven minutes from time, cutting the gap to Miller to 0.883s. Rins’ Estrella Galicia Honda was being followed closely on the race track by the RTG Honda of Vazquez and the elder Spaniard eventually snatched P2 from his compatriot with a 2:16.689 two minutes from the end, pipping Rins by two tenths in the final reckoning.
Niccolo Antonelli was quickest in the very early stages but eventually slipped to fifth after a fall with Jakub Kornfeil taking sixth ahead of Alexis Masbou, Romano Fenati and teammate Isaac Vinales. Brad Binder rounded out the top ten although his session ended with a nasty high side at turn twelve while Eric Granado had a similarly painful fall at the same corner, sustaining a cut to his right arm.
British duo John McPhee and Danny Kent will start close together in fifteenth and sixteenth but the Scottish youngster was another rider to rue a fall which potentially cost him grid positions.