In changeable weather conditions at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on Saturday afternoon saw several riders come to grips with the layout before them and it reflected in their qualifying times.
However, Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez wasn’t one of them and as such the reigning series champion will start Sunday’s race from pole position with Karel Abraham and Cal Crutchlow alongside him on the front row of the grid.
This is Marquez’s fourth consecutive pole position at this circuit (out of four visits to the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit), his 38th in the series and the 66th of his career, setting a new record across all classes of the Championship, at only 24 years of age.
Marc was the only rider who was able to get into the 1’47” range in the wet conditions that affected the qualifying session.
“Today on the full wets in FP4, I was really comfortable. It was a little bit slippery but the feeling was very good,” Marc said. “In qualifying the conditions were different and not the best for my riding style, as it was half wet and half dry, but we managed and tried to do a great lap and ultimately got the pole. I even thought about fitting the slick but then, speaking with Santi [Hernandez], we decided not to do it. We did a good job with the team and I’m very happy to start from the front row tomorrow. They say it will be dry, so the race will be another story, but we’ll try to find a way to fight for the podium.”
Maverick Vinales, who had been quickest here all weekend, ended up in sixth place, the end of row two, while teammate valentine Rossi was seventh, on row three.
“Today the weather conditions played a major role in the outcome,” said Yamaha’s Massimo Meregalli. “It already had its influence in FP3 this morning, because we had a lot of things we wanted to try. When the rain became heavier in the second half of the session, it prevented the riders from putting in a soft tyre. Because of this Valentino had to go through Q1 to get a place in Q2. “
“Today was Maverick‘s first mixed qualifying session aboard his YZR-M1. As a result he suffered from a lack of grip on the rear, as he hadn‘t had the opportunity to work on his wet setting before today. However, he once again proved that he is a very versatile rider and quickly adapted to the situation. We have seen how strong Maverick‘s pace is yesterday and in today‘s free practice he again set fast laps, this time in the damp conditions. All in all, we got a lot of work done in today‘s two practice sessions and Valentino also made a good step, so we are quite certain that they will both be strong contenders tomorrow, regardless of the weather.”
The grid for Sunday’s GP of Argentina:
- Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1'47.512
2. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1'48.275
3. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1'48.278
4. Danilo PETRUCCI, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1'48.908
5. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1'49.008
6. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1'49.218
7. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1'49.272
8. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1'49.323
9. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 1'49.630
10. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1'49.724
11. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1'49.825
12. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1'50.725
13. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1'49.488
14. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1'49.916
15. Scott REDDING, OCTO Pramac Racing – 1'50.048
16. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1'50.310
17. Jack MILLER, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1'50.319
18. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1'50.673
19. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1'50.676
20. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1'50.910
21. Hector BARBERA, Reale Avintia Racing – 1'51.058
22. Sam LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1'51.199
23. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1'52.340