Brave lap on slicks sees Miller take pole
#ArgentinaGP Qualfiying | Times | Quotes | Images
Jack Miller’s (Alma Pramac Racing) huge gamble to switch to slicks on a drying track for the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina certainly paid off, with the Australian snatching a jawdropping maiden MotoGP pole position off Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa on his final lap. In doing so, Miller became the first ever Ducati Independent Team rider to secure pole position.
Jack Miller – P1
“It is a great satisfaction and for this I want to thank the team that did a great job both during the winter tests and during these first two race weekends. I felt confident to try to get back on track with slick tyres.
“It was not easy, especially in the two turns that were still wet. I thought, It’s time to go all-in. It was the right choice that’s why I’m really very happy”.
Dani Pedrosa – P2
“What a qualifying session. It was very tight and challenging with the mixed conditions. Once the rain stopped the track started to dry pretty quickly, and at a certain point there was a dry line. The problem was that turn 7 was completely wet, and then the final corner was pretty damp as well. Jack (Miller) made an incredible pole on slicks. After my first exit, which wasn’t perfect, I considered switching to slicks as well. In the end, I decided to stay with rain tyres and to try and push to the limit. I did a good lap and I’m very happy with the result, because being on the front row is important for tomorrow. Honestly, it’s difficult at the moment to know what tyre choice we’ll make for the race as conditions have changed so much over the weekend. So we’ll wait and see how the weather will be tomorrow, looking forward to a good race either way.”
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was 0.212 seconds off the Australian’s time to put himself third on the grid and impress once again, with the Frenchman now having taken an incredible six front row starts in a row.
Johann Zarco – P3
“I had the two bikes ready for the time attack, one with slicks and one with rain tyres. I saw the guys going out with slicks, but corner seven and eight were just too wet, so it was complicated. I tried to wait and see the sectors how Jack (Miller) was going and I had to decide quickly before it was too late. I chose the rain tyres, because I knew I felt more comfortable, even if it’s drying out. I was pushing a lot, it’s a good place. I didn’t think it was possible for me to do the same on slicks like Jack did. I’m happy. It’s another opportunity to start well tomorrow and even with the difficult conditions during the sessions, I hope we have enough information to prepare the warm up and be ready for the race.”
After impressing all weekend, Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) will launch from fourth – his best premier class qualifying by some margin and on for a provisional front row until the end of the session.
Tito Rabat – P4
“We were close to finish on the front row, but even fourth place is much more than I expected. I’m very happy with the Ducati, with the team and right now things couldn’t be better. We had two great days here and I almost can’t believe what we achieved. But the race is on Sunday, we must keep our feet on the ground and stay focused in order to do as well as today and yesterday. Tonight I have to relax and think about the race. It’s good that we went fast in dry and also in wet conditions, so we are ready for whatever the weather will bring.”
Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Alex Rins lines up fifth after another impressive performance.
Alex Rins – P5
“I’m very happy because this qualifying position is my best result in MotoGP. And I’m excited because we didn’t expect it in these conditions, it was really difficult to be fast…but we did it, so I’m quite happy! Slicks were impossible because the all of the third sector was very wet. But I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow starting from the second row.”
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) couldn’t convert his superior Free Practice pace into pole and the reigning World Champion starts sixth. Initially heading out on his second run to gamble on slicks, the number 93 gave it one lap before coming back in to switch back to wets. “Too much risk,” says a rider thinking of the Championship.
Marc Marquez – P6
“Today was quite challenging but very positive as a whole. Qualifying didn’t go as expected but we are not that far. I struggled a bit in my first exit on rain tyres and I don’t know why, because in FP3 and FP4 I had a very good feeling. I decided to try the slick tyres but it was too risky. As soon as I exited the pit I realised that if I touched the wet side of the track the risk of crashing was great. When I passed turn seven and eight I started thinking that pole position is important but that the race is tomorrow, so I came back. It’s a pity we’re not on the front row but I’m happy because I think we’ve worked well this weekend. Yesterday on the dry we’ve been competitive and we’ve been fast today on the wet also. I prefer dry conditions for the race but we’re also ready in case it rains. We’ll see how the weather is tomorrow and what the track conditions are like, then go from there.”
Q1 graduate Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – who was the early pace setter in Q2 after eclipsing the Ducatis – heads up the third row of the grid in seventh.
Meanwhile Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) starts eighth on the grid after progressing through from Q1 and is fairly satisfied with the result, with 2017 winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) lining up alongside the Italian in ninth.
Andrea Dovizioso – P8
“Today the situation wasn’t easy at all, because there was drizzle in some parts of the track and the surface was very tricky. This morning we did a good job to work calmly and this afternoon, despite problems with sliding in the curves, I did two good qualifying sessions after using the same rain tyres in Q1 and in Q2, and so I’m happy to start from row 3 tomorrow. With wet conditions my set-up is quite good, but a lot will depend on the amount of water on the track, if it rains tomorrow and it looks like it will. I’m very satisfied with the job my team did, because despite a difficult day yesterday, we were able to really turn the situation round today.”
Maverick Vinales – P9
“Today was difficult. We always suffer in the wet and at the moment we are not on the same level as our main rivals. We have to keep working on the bike’s set-up and keep improving in the wet. We have work to do during this season, in order to be strong – but I know we can improve a lot, so we will just continue to work on improving the grip level, to be more competitive, and we’ll see tomorrow. We’ll hope for a dry race, that would suit us much better.”
After looking strong all weekend, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) will aim to pick off some of the riders in front of him on Sunday when he shoots from tenth – another rider to initially gamble on slicks before heading back in.
Cal Crutchlow – P10
“I’m disappointed, we should have been on the front row and that’s the bottom line. Of course I’m not happy, we made a tactical mistake as a team, it’s nobody’s fault and I didn’t have to get on the bike. But the problem was when I went back out on the track, I was going really good on my lap, but when I went on to the water on my hot slick it was just too slippery and I lost two seconds – simple as that. We tried a risky solution with the slicks and it wasn’t the right one and now we have to accept it. We’re tenth on the grid and disappointed is an understatement as we should have been front row today, there’s no doubt about it as we had the pace to be competitive in both the wet and the dry. The thing that I’m concerned about now, starting from tenth, is that there a lot of guys to pass to win the race and these guys at the front start like rockets.”
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) couldn’t give the Termas de Rio Hondo grandstands a dream Saturday as he qualified in P11 but just 0.022 back from Crutchlow, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starting P12.
Valentino Rossi – P11
“It was a difficult day for me, because in these conditions – when you have to go out on the wet tyre, but the asphalt is becoming dry – I’m in a lot of trouble. I can’t push, because every time I try to push more I feel the front close. At the end of the qualifying I tried to do a smooth lap, I was able to improve my time, but anyway it was not enough to be with the top guys. We have to work, but especially we have to hope that tomorrow will be full dry or full wet, because then I feel quite comfortable, but in these half-and-half conditions it will be very difficult. My preference is full dry, for sure, because for me with the full dry I have a good pace to make a good race.”
A breathtaking MotoGP qualifying session left the Ducatis of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), who qualified P14, and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – who ended the day P18 – with plenty of work to do.
Jorge Lorenzo – P14
“It was another difficult day for us. This morning the conditions were very strange, with the track half-dry and half-wet, and we struggled to find a good feeling. In the afternoon, with the track even wetter, we were quite quick and in Q1, when an almost dry line had formed on the track, I was first before returning to the pits. Unfortunately, because of a misunderstanding with my team who put a soft rear on instead of a medium one, I could only improve by half-a-second and that wasn’t enough to go through to Q2. In any case let’s hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow, so that I can get the best out of the warm-up and improve the bike for the race.”
Danilo Petrucci – P18
“It’s a difficult weekend for me. We have problems to make the tyres working well. We worked a lot with the team and today things have improved a bit. But I have to admit that the feeling is not the best. Tomorrow I’ll start behind him and it will be difficult but I’m sure I can get to the top 10. Congratulations to Jack. He did something great”.
With Jack Miller on pole we’re guessing that a few more of his supporters might rouse themselves out of bed for a very early start to their week when the lights go out at 0400 Monday morning.
MotoGP Qualifying Results
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing 1’47.153
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’47.330
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’47.365
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1’47.681
- RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’47.743
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’47.754
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’47.845
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 1’48.247
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’49.044
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 1’49.304
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’49.326
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’49.975
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Angel Nieto Team 1’49.878
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team 1’50.063
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’50.175
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’50.324
- SIMEON Xavier 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing 1’50.364
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing 1’50.449
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Angel Nieto Team 1’50.606
- LUTHI Tom 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’50.833
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’51.007
- MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’51.012
- SYAHRIN Hafizh 55 MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’51.142
- NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda 1’51.387
Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), who was 29th at one stage, produced a breath-taking final lap to take his first ever Moto2 pole position at the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) led the session until the very last second, with the Italian then forced to settle for second on the grid. Danny Kent (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) was another rider who leaped up the time sheets at the end, his 1.56.536 – on his last lap – was enough for the Brit to start third.
Italtrans Racing Team rider Mattia Pasini – second for the majority – will start from fourth, as Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) managed to jump up to fifth after a flurry of personal best times at the end. After crashing twice in FP3, Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors ) lines up on the sixth on his return to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in the Moto2 class.
Red Bull KTM Ajo star Miguel Oliveira heads up the third row of the grid in seventh, just ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who managed to get himself into the top ten when the chequered flag was waved.
FP3 front runner Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) came home ninth.
Remy Gardner – P9
“After this great FP3 I was feeling good and at the start of the qualifying I felt I didn’t really make the most of the dry conditions, plus I got held up, so I think we could have been further up the grid. Then it rained a bit more and I came in to put in a new rear tyre. It took me a while to really understand how much grip there was. In some corners with the water on the track there was more grip, I had to get my head around that. It’s not a bad starting position, but I think I wanted a bit more. Anyway, the race is tomorrow and the conditions will be unpredictable as well, so we have to see.”
American Joe Roberts (NTS RW Racing GP) rouned out the top ten in his best ever qualifying by some margin, as well as the first top ten for new chassis manufacturer NTS .
With Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) down in P15, the Moto2 race looks set to be a cracker. You can view the full results from qualifying here.
Moto2 Qualifying Results
- Xavi Vierge (KALEX) 1’56.137
- Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) KALEX + 0.271
- Danny Kent (GBR) SPEED UP + 0.399
Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) timed the weather to perfection to take his first Grand Prix pole position at the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina . His 1.53.782, just before the rain started to fall at Turn 1, was 0.306 seconds ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) who grabbed his best ever qualifying. The weather might be miserable, but the passionate home crowd had something to cheer about as Argentine Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) lines up third on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Adam Norrodin missed out on the front row by just 0.016 of a second in fourth with more good pace in Argentina, ahead of Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) lining up fifth. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), who was quickest in FP3, completes the second row of the grid.
0.003 behind Di Giannantonio was SIC58 Squadra Corse rider Niccolo Antonelli who heads the third row, as Championship rivals Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) line up next to each other in eighth and ninth.
Despite crashing whilst coming back on to the track at Turn 1, Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) remounted and qualified in the top ten, with a number of high profile riders further down the order.
Moto3 Qualifying Results
- Tony Arbolino (ITA) HONDA 1’53.782
- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM + 0.306
- Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) KTM + 0.548