Marc Marquez delivered on his free practice potential to claim his fourth consecutive pole position at the Circuit of the Americas. The championship leader had been quickest in every session leading into qualifying and despite a closer challenge than many expected from Jorge Lorenzo, Marquez maintained his 100% qualifying record at COTA.
The Repsol Honda rider started Q2 as the red-hot favourite for pole position but eyebrows were raised by a sensational opening effort from Lorenzo, the reigning champion setting the fastest time of the weekend on a 2:03.613. Marquez’s initial response was seven tenths slower but it didn’t take him much longer to get up to speed, improving to a 2:03.188 to secure pole position.
Lorenzo came back strongly on his second run to close the gap on his compatriot, ending up just 0.069s adrift but ultimately, the session followed the form book as Marquez claimed pole. The fight for the final front row spot wasn’t quite as clear cut with Andrea Iannone climbing to third with a minute to go but a last-ditch effort from Valentino Rossi saw him join his teammate on the front row. Iannone was relegated to fourth, which will soon become seventh when his grid penalty for the final lap mayhem in Argentina is applied.
As a result, Maverick Vinales will head the second row on the Suzuki with Cal Crutchlow the leading satellite rider in fifth. Andrea Dovizioso will line up sixth, one spot ahead of his teammate while Dani Pedrosa and Aleix Espargaro will complete row three.
Scott Redding starts tenth ahead of Bradley Smith who was the unlikely pacesetter in Q1, much to the chagrin of his Tech3 teammate Pol Espargaro, while Loris Baz lines up twelfth after reaching Q2 for the first time in his career.
2016 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas (Qualifying Classification)
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