MotoGP™ qualifying at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas saw Marc Marquez clinch pole with a new record lap of COTA (2’02.886), with Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl joining him on the front row.
Marquez is quick wherever he rides but he appears to specifically enjoy the state-of-the-art Austin track where round two of the season is taking place and he secured his 11th premier class pole position by 0.289s from Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa – having dominated all weekend so far.
A solid effort from LCR Honda’s German rider Bradl put him at the back of row one as he got to within 0.423s of the rampant Marquez – making it an all Honda front three.
It will be an all-Yamaha second row for Sunday’s race, with Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) placing his ‘Open’ Yamaha fourth, 0.467s off pole. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were fifth and sixth, Lorenzo registering a time just 0.003s off Espargaro’s, with Rossi 0.001s behind his teammate.
Heading the third row is Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow (+1.007s), in front of compatriot Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Italian Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing). Smith and Iannone were both also just over a second behind Marquez.
On row four, meanwhile are Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).
The fastest ‘Open’ Honda rider Scott Redding will start just behind his GO&FUN Honda Gresini teammate Bautista at the head of row five, having missed Q2 by just 0.074s.
MotoGP 2014 – Grand Prix of The Americas – Round 2 – Qualifying
Marc Marquez 93 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2’02.773
Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2’03.062
Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 2’03.196
Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 2’03.240
Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 2’03.243
Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 2’03.244
Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 2’03.780
Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 2’03.800
Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 2’03.842
Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 2’03.846
Pol Espargaro 44 ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 2’03.913
Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 2’03.923
Scott Redding 45 GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 2’04.617
Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 2’05.062
Yonny Hernandez 68 COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 2’05.677
Saturday’s Moto3™ qualifying session saw Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) take pole with a record 2’16.342 lap, with Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) joining the Australian on the second row.
Qatar race winner Miller went into provisional pole position with the hot lap mid way through the session and was a second ahead of his rivals until the final stages when Vazquez and Rins closed to within 0.347s and 0.556s respectively and secured their row one starts.
Row two meanwhile comprises Rins’ young teammate and compatriot Alex Marquez, in addition to Italian Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) and Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team). All three qualified just over a second off Miller’s time, with Antonelli escaping unhurt from a crash.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) all feature on row three, whilst Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) qualified tenth after a big crash at the end of the session. He got up after the incident and looked to be uninjured.
There were also crashes for Eric Granado (Calvo Team), Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra) and Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) but all escaped without major damage done.
Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) grabbed Moto2™ pole in Austin with a late 2’10.135 hot lap, heading the front row from Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert).
Having won at round one in Qatar Rabat will aim to clinch his second victory of the year at a track where he came second last season. He outpaced Zarco by 0.266s for the top spot on his Kalex machine, but Zarco’s Caterham team will also be pleased to be on the front row at just their second Grand Prix.
Aegerter was 0.287s off pole to secure his first ever front row start. Just behind the Swiss rider on the grid is Belgium’s Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who heads a second row which also features Spanish duo Julian Simon(Italtrans Racing Team) and Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40)
German Moto2 rookie Jonas Folger (AGR Team) qualified seventh, ahead of Italian Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) and Japan’s Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) on row three. Another German Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) rounded out the top ten and therefore heads the fourth line of the Austin grid.
There were crashes for Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) and Axel Pons (AGR Team) but all escaped unharmed, a relief for Cortese after a big accident on Friday and the heavy crash he suffered in Qatar.
Repsol HRC Report
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez scored another record this afternoon with his pole position lap for tomorrow’s grand prix, at the track he celebrated his first pole position and victory in the premier class.
After leading every session so far in this weekend’s Red Bull GP of The Americas, Marc topped his pole time of 2013 (2’03.021) by 0.248s with a lap time of 2’02.773 on his final lap of 7 in this afternoon’s qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa found an improvement in his setup from yesterday, and starts from second on the grid alongside his teammate, with a time of 2’03.062. LCR Honda rider, Stefan Bradl, completed an all-Honda front row for tomorrow’s 21 lap race which will start at 14h00 local time.
Marc Marquez – 1st – 2’02.773 – “I’m very happy with how the weekend is going and with the qualifying session – especially taking pole position. I have a good feeling with the bike and have been setting a good pace ahead of tomorrow’s race. We will try to get a good start and I’m sure we’ll be fighting with Dani, as he is our strongest rival. I think that the beginning of the race will be the most important part, because with this heat the tyres suffer a lot. I will try to remain focused and have a good race!”
Dani Pedrosa – 2nd – 2’03.062 – “We improved the bike a lot today and I was able to ride much better than yesterday. I managed to come very close in qualifying and hope to take advantage of all my chances to win tomorrow’s race. Last year we came second so I will look to take one step further tomorrow!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi secured fifth and sixth places respectively, just 0.001 seconds apart, this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas.
The 15 minute shoot-out on the long Circuit of The Americas track (COTA) allowed little time for multiple hot laps so every second was crucial.
Lorenzo was first to record a time, taking what was his fastest lap of the weekend so far on his first flying lap to momentarily take the top spot. The 2’03.619 lap was challenged not long after, dropping him down the standings.
Teammate Rossi was also quick on the attack, his first lap a best of the weekend at that point, slotting in just outside the 2’03s with a 2’04.093. He then picked up the pace even further, closing in to less than a tenth from his teammate with a 2’03.670. Lorenzo managed to stay just ahead and the two Movistar Yamaha riders came in to pit around halfway, sitting in fourth and fifth respectively.
A lightening quick pit stop saw Lorenzo back out and putting it all in to his sixth lap. Despite going red through the first split he was unable to break into the 2’02s, taking a 2’03.243 on that final sixth flying lap to take fifth on the grid for the race, 0.470 seconds from Marc Marquez on pole.
Rossi’s efforts mirrored that of his teammate, putting it all in on the sixth lap to fight for the best possible grid start. He took an almost identical time to Lorenzo with a 2’03.244 lap for sixth, 0.471 seconds from first.
Jorge Lorenzo – 5th / 2’03.243 / 7 laps – “The progression from the first practice on Friday is very big, we were two seconds behind and now half a second. Anyway, as I thought it’s going to be a hard race tomorrow. Our goal is to fight for fourth or third position, I think it would be a good result because here our competitors are really strong so we need to make the best result we can, to finish on the podium would be a good thing.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th / 2’03.244 / 7 laps – “I am happy about today’s qualifying, especially because from this morning to the afternoon session we were able to improve the bike and in qualifying I was pretty fast. Following the last free practice we also made another step ahead and I enjoyed the qualifying session; I went well. I am happy to be on second row; it is not bad at all. I am also happy I am just four tenths from pole position. My pace is good, although we still have to work and cut some little tenth but I think tomorrow might be a good day for us.”
Massimo Meregalli – “Both the riders and the team have done a good job today. Last year in qualifying Jorge was a second behind and Valentino over two seconds off. Now both are within half a second of the front so the progress is clear to see. We still have some things to work out and maybe we can make another small step forward for the race. In Qatar we closed the gap over the practice sessions and were competitive at the front end during the race so we are confident that we can do the same here. The second row is not a bad place to start and the race is long and not won on the first lap. The weather could make things interesting for everyone so let’s see what Sunday brings us!”
Drive My Aspar Team
After a wide open start to the new MotoGP World Championship in Qatar in round one, the second round of the season has been all about Marc Márquez after a dominant weekend so far from the Spaniard, who set the pace in each free practice session before claiming pole position by a comfortable margin in qualifying. Pedrosa and Bradl at least managed to close the gap to the World Champion this afternoon, making up an all-Honda front row in tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas.
After struggling to break through the 2’06 barrier throughout free practice DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Nicky Hayden found a full second in qualifying mode to set three laps in the 2’05s, the last of which proving to be his best of the weekend and enough to secure fourteenth place on the grid. The American has struggled more than he expected at his home circuit but after making solid progress this afternoon he is hoping to find more pace in tomorrow’s warm-up ahead of the race. On the other side of the DRIVE M7 Aspar garage Hiroshi Aoyama continued to work on finding an improved front-end set-up for his machine, the Japanese rider qualifying two places behind his team-mate in sixteenth.
14th Nicky Hayden 2.05.062: “I honestly thought the flowing sections of this track would be easier than they have been today. I struggled through there last year and I thought it would be much more easy on the Honda but that hasn’t really been the case and we have also had some electronic issues that have cost us valuable time. It is a shame that our home GP isn’t going to plan at the moment but looking on the bright side we improved by a full second in qualifying and we have to keep working hard in the warm-up tomorrow to try and find a bit more. Hopefully we can do that and give the fans here a better show in the race.”
16th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.05.788: “Today we continued to work on the front end of the bike and we have found a pretty positive feeling. I feel more comfortable on the bike and the lap times are getting quicker. The only mistake we made was perhaps going a bit too far with the changes to the set-up because when they didn’t work we didn’t have time to go back. I’m not worried because we have a solid base to work from tomorrow and we know that will be very useful for the race. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend, we just have to stay focused on the job at hand and give it our best.”
Marc Marquez’s dominance at Circuit of The Americas continued as the Repsol Honda rider set a new Circuit Best Lap record of 2’02.773 in qualifying, beating the record he set last year by a third of a second to take pole position.
Marquez out-qualified his teammate Dani Pedrosa by 0.289 seconds, while LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl completed an all-Honda front row by finishing third quickest with a best lap time a tenth of a second slower than Pedrosa. All riders on the front row used the combination of the medium compound front and rear slicks during their time attack in Qualifying Practice 2.
Conditions today were similar to yesterday, with cool and windy conditions in the morning session followed by warmer temperatures in the afternoon, with a peak track temperature of 43°C recorded during Qualifying Practice 2. The thirty-minute FP4 session was used to assess race tyre options and all three rear slick options brought to this circuit were utilised. For the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders, both the medium and hard compound rear slicks were used to good effect today and should figure on the grid for tomorrow’s race. For the Ducati and Open-class riders, the medium compound rear is the preferred option, although some riders will elect to use the soft compound rear for the race. Front-end stability while cornering and braking is extremely important at Circuit of The Americas and this is evident with the harder, medium compound front slick being the most popular option.
The weather forecast predicts a slight chance of rain for tomorrow’s twenty-one lap Americas Grand Prix which starts at 1400 local time (GMT -5). The riders will have one last chance to confirm their race setup during the twenty minute Warm Up session at 0940.
Masao Azuma- Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division – “We were able to build on a solid first day here at Circuit of The Americas with good track conditions allowing the riders to evaluate the rear tyre options available to each of them. I expect to see all three rear tyre options being used for tomorrow’s race as they all performed well during race simulations, and the medium compound is likely to be the most popular choice. Marc is very strong at this circuit but overall the race pace among the riders is very close and hopefully we will see another very competitive race like we witnessed in Qatar.”
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