Marc Marquez was in a class of his own in the wet conditions at Termas de Rio Hondo as he claimed pole position for the Argentine Grand Prix. The reigning champion was three quarters of a second quicker than anyone else but Karel Abraham stole the show, qualifying a sensational second for Aspar aboard a 2015-spec Ducati.
After rain had curtailed final practice on Saturday morning, a number of high-profile riders were forced to go through Qualifying 1 with only two spots available in the second session. Andrea Dovizioso looked to have secured one of them with a 1:49.488 early on but last-gasp improvements from Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi saw him knocked out. As a result, ‘Dovi’ will line up thirteenth on the grid but his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo fared even worse, leaving him sixteenth.
Marquez had avoided the stressful route into Q2 and was visibly braver in the treacherous conditions, clocking a 1:48.571 on his first run to open up a one-second advantage over the competition. While he regrouped in the pits, Pedrosa halved the gap on the second Repsol Honda, gaining the benefit of fifteen minutes extra track time in Q1 with Danilo Petrucci also moving onto the front row.
If there was any doubt over the identity of the polesitter, that was soon put to bed as Marquez improved still further, setting a 1:47.512 with a minute remaining to claim a Grand Prix record 66th pole. The day’s other big story unfolded right behind with Abraham following the world champion around, leaping up to second for a career-best grid slot.
Cal Crutchlow bumped Petrucci off the front row with Pedrosa falling to fifth while the Movistar Yamahas of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi qualifying sixth and seventh respectively, the championship leader not enjoying the same level of confidence in the wet as he had in the dry. Aleix Espargaro starts eighth for Aprilia ahead of Loris Baz and Alvaro Bautista while Jonas Folger and Andrea Iannone complete the fourth row after bringing up the rear in Q2.
2017 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina: Qualifying Classification
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