Alex Marquez took pole position for the Moto2 Grand Prix of the Americas after dominating for large parts of the qualifying session in Austin. The Spaniard beat former COTA winner Sam Lowes to pole after the Briton posed a late challenge with championship leader Mattia Pasini rounding out the front row in third.
For a long time, it looked as though Marquez had done all of the hard work in the very early stages of qualifying, having set a 2:10.745 on his second timed lap of the afternoon. Try as they might, nobody could threaten the Marc VDS rider until Lowes struck twelve minutes from time, lapping just one thousandth of a second quicker.
This prompted a response from Marquez who ventured back out in the closing stages to regain provisional pole, 0.156s ahead of the Briton and just in time before a rain shower hit the circuit just as proceedings were being brought to a close. Pasini continued his fine start to the season in third with Qatar winner Francesco Bagnaia returning to form in fourth.
Moto3 champion Joan Mir qualified a season’s best in fifth ahead of Luca Marini with Argentine polesitter Xavi Vierge forced to settle for seventh on this occasion, just in front of Dynavolt team-mate Marcel Schrotter. Fabio Quartararo and Isaac Vinales were the surprise names at the bottom of the top ten with Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira failing to match the pace which saw him top free practice, qualifying a disappointing twelfth.