With many riders complaining about the asphalt of the Circuit of The Americas, because of the many bumps on the track and the dust that makes it very difficult to see, especially on the long back straight, today’s Qualifying sessions for tomorrows MotoGP race in Texas saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) showing he has no rival at this track, taking his 6th “pole position” in a row at COTA.
At Qualifying 1, it was time for Malaysian star Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech3) to show what he was capable of, and after some troubles in the earlier sessions, Syahrin occupied the top spot at Q1.
The Malaysian almost passed to Q2 for the first time, but in the final moments of Q1 Pol Espargaró (Red Bull KTM) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) upped the pace and were the two riders who qualified to Q2.
And speaking of Petrucci, it’s worth mentioning that the Italian and his Ducati Desmosedici GP18 are now the “kings of speed” at the Texan racetrack, with Petrucci clocking 347,9 km/h, a new speed record!
Hafizh Syahrin will start the Americas GP from 16th position on the grid, but even if that’s not the best qualifying result we could expect from the Tech3 rider, we already saw him doing fantastic recoveries during the race, so you can bet tomorrow he’ll be one of the riders we should expect to see fighting for the points.
At Qualifying 2, it was all about Marc Marquez and his dominance in Texas.
This racetrack seems to be perfect for Marquez, who in the five years before has won 5 times and always started from “pole”. Tomorrow won’t be any different, at least because the MotoGP champion will start from top spot on the grid, but this time Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha) is showing he can take the fight to Marquez and will start right behind the Honda rider.
Both of them had a close encounter during the Q2: Marc Marquez fell, and then returned to the track on his second Honda RC213V. While on his out lap, Marquez didn’t stay out of the race line, precisely at the moment when Viñales was about to pass by him on a fast lap, and both riders exchanged some words on track.
Third on the grid is a surprising Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki). The Italian has shown some problems aboard the Suzuki MotoGP prototype, and he’s even under fire by MotoGP legend and former Suzuki rider Kevin Schwantz, who says that Iannone doesn’t have what it takes to get Suzuki back on winning days.
But Iannone seems to be really comfortable in Texas, and after being fastest on day 1, he managed to get his Suzuki on the first row for tomorrow’s MotoGP race.
In Moto3 Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini) took the 10th “pole position” of his career, after a difficult qualifying session because of the ever changing weather conditions.
The track was drying quickly but riders were using rain tires for most of the session, before Phillip Oettl was the first one to try the slicks. When everyone was already thinking championship leader Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had secured the “pole position”, Jorge Martin did everything perfect on a final effort and stole “pole” from Canet, who starts from second ahead of John McPhee (CIP – Green Power).
Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) didn’t have a good qualifying session today. Used to be fighting for top spots, Norrodin will start the Moto3 race from 25th position on the grid.
In Moto2, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) bounced back from a difficult start of the 2018 season, and took “pole position” with a best time of 2m10.588s, and that was enough to grab “pole” in front of Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM), while third fastest in Moto2 qualifying was Mattia Pasini (Italtrans), the winner of the Moto2 Argentina GP.
As for Malaysian riders Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Team Asia) and Zuhlfami Khairuddin (SIC Racing Team), they will start the Moto2 race in 25th and 31st positions respectively.
One last note about the decision made public moments ago by the Grand Prix Permanent Bureau, that says that FIM MotoGP Stewards have been informed to “adopt a more severe approach when assessing possible infringements of the regulations and imposing penalties”.
This comes as a response to some riders riding in an aggressive manner, and all teams and riders are now aware that the FIM MotoGP Stewards will apply harsher penalties to riders who ride or do things that aren’t in accordance to the MotoGP spirit of fair play.