Marquez Dominates Qualifying in Argentina

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Marc Marquez was in a class of his own in qualifying for the Argentine Grand Prix, claiming pole position by half a second at Termas de Rio Hondo. The world champion was half a second clear of the rest of the field with Aleix Espargaro backing up his impressive practice form with a phenomenal second place, giving Suzuki a front row start in the third race of their MotoGP comeback.

After a problematic final practice session, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 found both of their riders in Q1 but only one would advance to the pole position shootout. Bradley Smith was the man that handled the pressure best, setting his quickest lap time of the weekend to top the session, but Pol Espargaro buckled and will subsequently start a disastrous eighteenth.

Despite the reprieve, Smith wouldn’t figure in the fight for pole as Jorge Lorenzo took up the challenge for Yamaha’s factory team. The Spaniard set a 1:38.485 on his first flying lap but was quickly usurped by Marquez who opened up a three tenth advantage on his opening run.

Unusually, Marquez was going for three runs and made full use of both Honda RC213Vs at his disposal, clocking a 1:37.873 on his second machine before returning for a third attempt in the dying seconds and shaving another tenth off his own benchmark. By the time he was done, Marc had half a second in his pocket but Espargaro had put in the performance of the afternoon to finish best of the rest.

Andrea Iannone put a third different manufacturer on the front row with a 1:38.467 on his Ducati, two hundredths clear of Cal Crutchlow who matched Lorenzo’s early time to steal fourth from the two-time champion. Andrea Dovizioso will start sixth with Danilo Petrucci impressing to head the third row, beating championship leader Valentino Rossi in the process.

Maverick Vinales gave Suzuki yet more positive news by rounding out the third row while Bradley Smith pipped compatriot Scott Redding to tenth spot on tomorrow’s grid.



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