Marc Marquez kept up his 100% pole position record in Argentina despite a heavy crash in qualifying at Termas de Rio Hondo. The Spaniard was the dominant force throughout free practice and despite his late slip-up in Q2, Marquez had enough in hand to see off Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Many of the day’s headlines were actually made in FP4 as Scott Redding’s Pramac Ducati suffered what appeared to be a rear tyre delamination, bringing out the red flag. The debris was cleared and the session quickly resumed but a second red flag later on due to “safety conditions” seemed to confirm fears that Michelin were uncertain over the safety of their rubber.
Following the qualifying session, Michelin chose to withdraw both the medium and hard compound rear slicks, replacing them with an extra medium compound tyre with a stiffer construction. To enable the riders to assess the new tyre option, an extra 30-minute practice session will take place on Sunday morning in addition to the scheduled warm-up.
The concerns over tyre safety didn’t affect Q2 but a severe bump at turn one did, catching out Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. Fortunately for Marquez, his tumble came after setting a 1:39.411 which proved comfortably good enough for pole, while a head-to-head in the dying seconds between Rossi and Lorenzo went the Italian’s way, enabling him to claim second on the grid.
Dani Pedrosa will head row two ahead of the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone with Maverick Vinales qualifying seventh, edging out Hector Barbera and Crutchlow. The Espargaro brothers will start together on row four, Pol ahead of Aleix, while Bradley Smith will be twelfth on the grid after only registering a 1:40.893 prior to his crash.
2016 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina (Qualifying Classification)
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