Marc Marquez on COTA MotoGP Pole Position

MotoGP 2016 coverage brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils and Chemicals
MotoGP 2016 coverage brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils and Chemicals

Marc Marquez – P1

“I’m really happy with this pole position. It looks like I feel good here in America. Maybe I didn’t do the perfect lap in qualifying and both Yamahas are closer but we’ll try to manage as best as possible tomorrow. I’m happy with how the weekend is going in general, I feel a little better with the bike every time I go out on track and our pace for the race seems competitive. The tyres are working quite well, but of course, as always here at Austin, making the right choice for the front will be crucial. It will be a tough race, both physically and in terms of lap times, because even though it doesn’t seem like it, everything is pretty tight, but I feel comfortable and I think I have the chance to fight for the victory.”

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Jorge Lorenzo – P2

Little by little we are coming closer and closer. I was very focused to make the fastest lap time as soon as possible, we made a great first lap then I didn’t expect to improve so much, more or less half a second more, and stay so close to Marquez. I was really pleased, really proud, it was a pity to not be in first place as we were only half a tenth slower than Marc but I think we made a great job in these two days and we are quite ready for tomorrow. It will be a long race with different tyres and for sure the physical condition and concentration will be hard, and to stay on the bike will be important!

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

Valentino Rossi – P3

This result is crucial for the race tomorrow and it‘s also a good result for the work that we‘ve done today, from this morning we‘ve improved the bike a lot and this afternoon in the free practice with the race tyre I was quite strong. I started qualifying quite confident and I did some good laps. The front row is always a very good target especially when I have to fight with Marquez and Lorenzo when they are quite strong.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Andrea Iannone – P4

“This afternoon everything seemed to be a bit more difficult: I don’t know if the rain had made the track conditions worse, or for whatever reason, but in any case I struggled to be quicker than in the morning. On the last lap of Q2 I was improving my time, but I went long and so it wasn’t one of my best qualifying performances. Here at Austin it seems to be easier for me to have a good pace than do a quick lap, and I’d like to understand if it depended on the characteristics of the track this afternoon or on some problem of mine. Tomorrow it will be really important to make a good start, because it could be decisive for the outcome of my race.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Maverick Viñales – P5

“The second row is a good position to start from, but I’m not happy enough. Ok that we are fourth, but with more than a one second gap, this isn’t where I want to be. Today we couldn’t take all the profit out from our machine, in FP3 and FP4 we found an effective set-up with worn tyres, but then when I put the new ones for the qualifying we found out that it was much worse. This affected the qualifying, I felt I had the potential to get onto the first row and it’s a pity. We now have to understand what happened and what’s the solution for tomorrow. For sure we have to change our approach and try to be a lot more confident.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Cal Crutchlow – P6

“Today is a good day for us. The whole Team did a fantastic job because we had some mechanical problems in the third free practice, and we had to change the whole bike in FP4. So it was a little tough to manage the situation but overall we are doing the best job with what we have. Tomorrow we have to look forward to the race because I think our pace isn’t too bad, and we should be competitive. It’s better to be on the second row for the start to give us a chance of getting away with the fastest riders.”

Andrea Dovizioso  – P7

“Unfortunately it’s been a bit of a troubled weekend for several reasons. We have always had small issues that prevented us from doing a complete session, except for qualifying. I don’t have much feeling on the front, especially in the middle of the curve because the front end tends to close in easily, and also in qualifying I didn’t do a great time because I didn’t ride smoothly. However we are set up better for the race: with the hard rear tyre we are quick and this is surely an advantage, but I had hoped to come into qualifying with a bit more pace. Tomorrow morning in the warm-up we will try and improve a bit more and I’m confident I’ll manage to stay in the leading group in the race.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Dani Pedrosa – P8

“This weekend has been a bit tough for us so far; we are working very hard but just not going fast, in particular due to the grip levels. This afternoon I tried the hard tyre, but it’s not the one that works best for us. It has been difficult for us to find the best setup for the bike. We will continue working hard for the race; we have to be very focused and make a good start.”

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

Aleix Espargaró – P9

“I’m happy, I would have never thought that with a ninth place I would have been this happy, because this is not where Suzuki deserves to be, but it’s an improvement from where we were in the early races. In Qatar and Argentina I was feeling very bad; no way to understand how to be faster, I crashed many times, we had so many difficulties…. but now with this chassis and the new set-up I finally started to feel better, to be able to turn the bike as I want and finally to be more effective. In qualifying we did a very good job, I did many laps and finally I missed the second row by only one-tenth. Also in FP4 I made good times with worn tyres, so I think we are in a better position.”

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Scott Redding – P10

This is the best qualifying of the season and I feel quite satisfied. I must admit that I have never been very strong in qualifying and to be honest, I do not know why. My target was the third row but that is okay: we are very close. Unfortunately, I have never managed to do a perfect lap. I feel confident for tomorrow. I did well in FP4 and the feeling with the hard rear tire is good. I hope to find soon the pace I had in Argentina. But it will be important to start better.

Scott Redding
Scott Redding

Bradley Smith – P11

“Firstly, I have to give a big thanks to the team because they didn’t pause from working throughout today and they never stopped believing in me or the direction that I wanted to go towards regarding the feeling of the bike. Without their efforts, it wouldn’t have been possible so again, I must thank them. Yesterday we made a few big adjustments and still struggled. However, step by step we’ve now come back to where we need to be due to our work in the third and fourth practice sessions today. Of course, I still believe that we can improve further tomorrow and we have a good chance to do this in the warm up as well as later in the race. I feel a lot more positive with the bike that I now have underneath me for the GP. Yet, having said that we still need to make a decision regarding the tyre choice, because we were working so hard on the setting of the bike that we didn’t decide on the tyres. It’s a fantastic result by my team and I’m really pleased with this position so now I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the race.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

Pol Espargaro – P13

“The day ended in a disappointing way and of course, I’m not satisfied with the result and how things went. It’s strange because overall we managed to improve the bike and the feelings with the new harder rear tyre were positive. Yet, from FP3 onwards we started to experience some vibrations, which we weren’t able to solve today. Nevertheless, even if it was tricky to ride, I pushed as much as I possibly could in all of the sessions. In the morning, I just missed QP2 by 0.014 in the final seconds of the session and to be honest, this was quite frustrating. Afterwards, we experienced the same issues in FP4 and again in Qualifying 1. There, I really gave it everything I had and risked crashing out in every braking area, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to go to QP2 and once more, I missed out by only a small margin of 0.018. To start from the fifth row complicates the race a bit because the first corner is critical. In fact, I had a problem here at the beginning of the GP last year where another rider crashed into me and I couldn’t do anything about it. Anyway, this afternoon we will have to work to find a solution to our issue and I think that if we turn the situation around we have a good chance of riding to a decent result. Also, we still have to decide which rear tyre we want to use because at the moment we don’t have a clear indication. The soft is too soft for the 21 laps and with the hard one we can be more consistent but this kind of tyre makes us lose a few tenths every lap. So we have some work to do, but I am determined to finish the Grand Prix as well as I possibly can tomorrow.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Hector Barbera – P14

“So far, the weekend has been very difficult. We had unexpected problems and we tried some ideas that didn’t worked. We didn’t work well and we could see it clear this morning when we were not able to get into Q2. I had to try it in Q1, and in my final lap I knew that I had to pass Bautista, because if I would not try, my lap would be slower… But we lost the lap. I didn’t find a good feeling to set a fast lap, but on the other hand, I’m confident for the race. I’m eager to start because I know that I can complete a positive race.”

Hector Barbera
Hector Barbera

Eugene Laverty – P15

“It’s been a tough one this weekend actually. Yesterday with the crash it was difficult to find the direction. We went the wrong way this morning and came back a little bit this afternoon in qualifying. P15 is not bad but I’d like to be getting into Q2, that’s where we need to be. I’m on the fifth row so I’ve got to try and make a good start. This Ducati gets off the line well and I’ve got the horsepower for the back straight which always comes in handy, so let’s see what we can do. It is nice compared to last year when I didn’t have that power, I now have any extra overtaking place on the straight.”

Eugene Laverty
Eugene Laverty

Alvaro Bautista – P16

“This morning we did a very important test on the setup, trying to improve, but it didn’t provide the results we had hoped for. So in the afternoon we made some less drastic changes in what we felt was the best direction and I tried using the hard rear tyre. All told, it didn’t go badly, a lot will depend on the temperature we find for the race tomorrow. We need to improve acceleration, coming out of the corners the bike tends to become unstable and that costs us time. In qualifying I improved my time and I could have done even better, but unfortunately another rider got in the way. In any case, we know that we can improve a lot in the race. We’ll see what the weather is like tomorrow and we’ll do our best”.

Alvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista

Michele Pirro – P17

Too bad, really. I put the new tire, and I crashed at the first corner as I lost the front. I am disappointed because I could have done better, it was also possible to get into Q2 because I’ve always been very close to the riders in front. I am confident for tomorrow even if I will start from behind. I am confident because my feeling is good and this is why I am disappointed. I have to apologize to the team because we had the potential to improve.

Michele Pirro
Michele Pirro

Yonny Hernández – P18

“We changed some things on the bike to try to improve and we did not have a good feeling. I felt like I could not have given any more. I changed my bike and the second one was very different, so I was unable to pick up the pace to get into the top positions. It’s a shame, but the most important day is tomorrow. For me the best strategy is to get a good start and focus on my performance. It would be nice to score some points for the championship and have a good race.”

Yonny Hernandez
Yonny Hernandez

Stefan Bradl – P19

“These were good qualifiers for me. My only disappointment is that I wasn’t able to line up my best performance in the various sectors. On my flying lap I also had to overtake a rider and that cost me a few tenths in the straight stretch, but I’m satisfied anyway, especially because in the practice sessions we found some good solutions that give us a good pace even on used tyres. It will be an interesting race. On such a difficult track the RS-GP is performing well, so we are moving in the right direction. We still have a few things to try during the warmup session, especially the hard rear tyre option that we will evaluate”.

Stefan Bradl
Stefan Bradl
Jack Miller withdraws from COTA MotoGP with foot injury

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller has been forced to withdraw from Sunday’s Grand of the Americas because of an injury to his right foot.

Miller’s brave bid to overcome the pain and discomfort ended after just three laps in today’s FP4 session and he did not participate in qualifying.

Miller’s Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Tito Rabat will start from 20th position in his first MotoGP race at the 5.5 km Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Despite intensive physiotherapy and a pain killing injection the team decided that the safest option was to allow the 21-year-old Australian to concentrate on being fit for the next race at Jerez in Spain.

Overnight X-rays revealed Miller broke the 5th metatarsal in his right foot when he crashed in FP1 on Friday.

The heavy fall also bruised his right ankle, which he injured in a pre-season motocross crash although fortunately there was no further damage to those earlier fractures.

Jack Miller

“This is a really physically demanding track and with every lap the pain just got worse so in the interests of safety it is better to give this race a miss. We tried all the options with physiotherapy and a pain killing injection for FP4 but it didn’t work.

“I’m sorry for the team but this is racing and now I just want to be fit for the next race in Jerez. It’s unlucky but I’ve learnt a lesson from pushing too hard on a cold tyre in practice. The most pain is coming from my ankle, one of the screws in the plates from the earlier injury maybe moved a little bit when my foot hit the track.”

Qualifying Report

Marc Marquez remained undefeated at the Circuit of the Americas, securing pole position ahead of Lorenzo and Rossi.

The MotoGP World Championship headed out for a titanic 15 minute Q2 session. All eyes were on Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he was expected to again walk the field at a track that he has made his own. The Spaniard opted for the softer option front and rear while Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR) went with the medium front option.

It was Lorenzo who struck first, immediately setting a 2’03.613, the fastest lap of the weekend up to that point. Not only was this the fastest lap of the weekend, but it was also Lorenzo’s first 2’03s, having only previously managed mid 2’04s.

But Marquez responded immediately and dropped to a 2’03.188, just over a second off his own pole record and 0.425s faster than Lorenzo’s time. After their first runs were complete, Lorenzo was the only rider within a second of Marquez.

Their battled continued as Lorenzo dropped his time to a 2’03.257, 0.069s behind Marquez and the closest a rider had been to him throughout the entire weekend. Neither would be able to improve their time, despite getting tantalisingly close on multiple occasions.

This meant for the fourth consecutive year, Marc Marquez secured pole position at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. Not only did he continue his domination of the Texas track, but Marquez also claimed the 60th pole position of his career and will have his first back-to-back starts from pole since the German and Indianapolis GPs in 2015.

After a difficult start to the weekend, Lorenzo was relieved to take second place and gave Marquez something to think about as he got within a tenth of him. It’s clear the Majorcan has the pace to stick with Marquez for a lap, but can he do it over race distance?

The gap was slightly larger to Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in third, the Italian 0.387s behind his teammate and 0.456s back on Marquez. He may not have challenged for pole, but Rossi remains adamant that the front row will allow him to stay with the leading duo. Interestingly, Rossi used his bike with winglets to secure third, one of the first times he has used the winglets to achieve a fast lap. This is Rossi’s first back-to-back front row starts since the Malaysian and Australian GPs way back in 2013.

Fourth and leading the Ducati charge in the session was Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team). The Italian has been strong over the course of the weekend and he had been one of the few able to consistently get within a second of Marquez. Unfortunately Andrea Iannone will be demoted to seventh for Sunday’s race as a result of his attempted last lap pass in Argentina. Expect big moves from the Italian into Turn 1 after the lights go out.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) produced the fifth fastest time and will be moved to fourth as a result of Iannone’s penalty. Back in 2015, Viñales started from 12th on the grid at the Circuit of the Americas, riding to ninth in the race. If he can again gain at least three places in the race, Viñales could very well be looking at a first visit to the podium. COTA was the scene of Viñales’ first Moto2™ victory in 2014.

Sixth in the session and the leading Independent Team rider, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) will move to fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race. After two difficult opening rounds, Crutchlow is out to remain upright and score his first points of the year.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten. From Viñales in fifth to Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) in 12th, under a second split the eight riders. While the leading four may be in a league of their own, the battle for the top ten looks tighter than ever.

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) did not participate in Qualifying due to a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot after a Friday fall. It was announced during the FP4 session that the Australian will miss the race and return to action in Jerez.

MotoGP 2016 - COTA - MotoGP Qualifying

MotoGP 2016 – COTA – MotoGP Qualifying

Moto2

For the fourth time in his Moto2 career, Alex Rins grabbed pole position as Zarco and Lowes completed the front row.

The sun shone down on Qualifying for the Moto2™ World Championship, the track improving with each and every lap. Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) immediately set the pace with a 2’08.850s on just his fourth lap, over a second faster than the existing pole record. A rapid lap in the bank, the Spaniard then shifted his attention to making up for the time lost to rain in FP3 and tweaked his race setup.

With ten minutes remaining the red flag was brought out after Efren Vazquez (JPMoto Malaysia) fell at Turn 7. He immediately received medical attention trackside and was transported off the circuit via ambulance. The Basque rider regained consciousness while being transported to the circuit medical centre before being flown to the University Medical Center Bravkenridge via helicopter.

Qualifying would resume for the final ten minutes, producing a swarm of frantic fast laps in the dying seconds of the session. But Rins’ time would go largely unchallenged, Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) improving to a 2’09.066 on his final lap. Zarco was also under the pole position record by a considerable amount but unable to dip into the 2’08s like Rins.

2015 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas race winner Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was another to set an early benchmark lap. Like Zarco, he would improve his time late in the session to secure his third place position on the front row, eventually able to set a 2’09.100. The Brit remains astoundingly confident of his ability to remain with the front-runners; able to set competitive times even on 20 lap old tyres.

The top three proved in Argentina that they’re able to match each other’s pace and produce thrilling racing. They’ll be out to do the same again on Sunday as both Lowes and Rins hunt their first wins of the 2016 season.

Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) will lead the charge from the second row, the Swiss rider having had mixed fortunes since switching to Kalex machinery. Only 0.008s behind him was teammate and countryman Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) who is out to defend his championship lead.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP), Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) made up the top ten.

All of the top eight riders were under the 2015 pole record and within half a second of Rins. Morbidelli was almost half a second behind Corsi in eighth, two clear groups emerging in Qualifying.

MotoGP 2016 - COTA - Moto2 Qualifying
MotoGP 2016 – COTA – Moto2 Qualifying
Moto3

Qualifying for Moto3 in Austin saw the track go from wet to dry to wet to dry, conditions never ideal but Oettl keept his cool for pole from Navarro and Bastianini.

After a shower just before the lunch break, Qualifying began under heavy skies but with the rain holding off. The track was not yet fully dry as the pit lane opened and riders first went out with wet tyres. As the activity increased, the track quickly dried. Most riders did just two laps on their wet tyres before returning to the pits for slicks with over half an hour to go. Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) was the first to hit the track with slicks, soft in the front and rear.

The Moto3™ World Championship Qualifying began to pick up stream as Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) began to improve his times, dropping under the 2’20 barrier with 27 minutes remaining. Slicks were now clearly the choice for the remainder of the session even though times were still three seconds off the pace of FP2.

Everything looked to be progressing well until the rain flag was brought out with 20 minutes remaining. Riders out on track pushed for a final fast lap before any water settled on track. The field would soon be sent back to the pits once again. Riders returned, but many kept their helmets and tyre warmers on, ready to go back out on track as soon as the rain stopped.

With ten minutes remaining riders were back out again with slick tyres fitted. Was a hectic battle for pole position just beyond the horizon? Several riders down the order would improve their time, but none inside the top ten saw their positions changed.

This saw Oettl secure the first pole position of his career. The German rider has frequently shown well in practice but has struggled to complete a single fast during Qualifying. His work ethic saw him complete more laps than any other rider in the early part of the session. A 2’18.398 may have been three seconds off the pole record, but he was still half a second faster than anyone else in the session.

Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) will line up second on the grid, repeating his front row start from Argentina. The last two times Navarro has started from the front row he has gone on to finish on the podium, a foreboding sign for Sunday’s race. With 29 points, Navarro is just seven points shy of the lead in the championship. As both of his rivals start outside the top ten, Austin could be a perfect chance for the Spaniard to grab the points lead.

For the first time in 2016, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) will start from the front row as the Italian took third in the session. It has so far been a disappointing start to the year as he has claimed just 11 points and has only once scored points.

Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) and Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) will head the second row of the grid. The entire top five took huge benefit from setting a banker lap during the first dry period of the session.

In just his third World Championship race, Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) will start sixth. This comes just a week after the Malaysian produced a spirited ride in Argentina to challenge for the podium before falling at the final corner.

Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing), Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold), Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) and Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) formed the top ten. Times were more spread out than usual due to the unusual conditions of the session. Many of the big names and championship hopefuls in the lightweight class missed out on the top ten, unable to make the most of limited dry track time.

Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will start in 12th place while Qatar GP winner Nicolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) will launch from down in 30th place.

Karel Hanika (Platinum Bay Real Estate) crashed at Turn 14 with Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia) suffering a third crash of the weekend at Turn 15.

MotoGP 2016 - COTA - Moto3 Qualifying
MotoGP 2016 – COTA – Moto3 Qualifying