Vinales Handed Pole after Marquez Penalty


Vinales inherited pole from Marquez after qualifying (Photo Credit: MotoGP.com)

Maverick Vinales will start the Grand Prix of the Americas from pole position after Marc Marquez became embroiled in more controversy in Texas. The world champion had initially claimed his sixth straight pole at the venue in a thrilling end to qualifying but he was later handed a three-place grid penalty for baulking Vinales on a flying lap, demoting him to fourth.

Looking to maintain his undefeated record in both qualifying and the race at COTA, Marquez began the session as the overwhelming favourite for pole and looked well placed after setting a 2:04.134. However, a crash at turn 13 saw the Spaniard forced to make a hasty retreat to his Repsol Honda garage on his spare machine to defend top spot.

Once Marc returned to the track for the second run, the controversy began as Vinales, who was halfway through a potential pole lap, caught his compatriot in the fourth sector with Marquez coasting on the racing line. The Yamaha man was visibly annoyed as he backed out of the lap but to his credit, bounced back next time around to clock a 2:04.064.

Marquez was circulating close behind and immediately regained top spot, breaking into the 2:03s, but the post-session penalty would render his blistering lap irrelevant. Friday pacesetter Andrea Iannone starts second ahead of Tech 3’s Johann Zarco while Marquez will have arch-rival Valentino Rossi alongside in fifth.

Jorge Lorenzo completes a heavyweight second row in sixth ahead of championship leader Cal Crutchlow with Andrea Dovizioso, second in the championship, also deep on the grid in eighth. Dani Pedrosa overcame wrist pain to qualify ninth with Danilo Petrucci completing the top ten after advancing from Q1.

 

2018 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: (Grid Line-Up)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
125. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP2:04.064Q2
229. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR2:04.209Q2
35. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:04.210Q2
493. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda TeamPenaltyQ2
546. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP2:04.229Q2
699. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team2:04.294Q2
735. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda Castrol2:04.456Q2
84. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team2:04.865Q2
926. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team2:04.963Q2
109. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing2:05.058Q2
1142. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR2:05.260Q2
1244. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:05.829Q2
1330. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU2:05.457Q1
1453. Tito RabatDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:05.686Q1
1538. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:05.761Q1
1655. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:05.873Q1
1721. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:05.943Q1
1843. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing2:05.966Q1
1941. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:06.035Q1
2012. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:06.222Q1
2119. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:06.296Q1
2245. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:06.370Q1
2317. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:06.537Q1
2410. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:06.726Q1