Marc Marquez apparently had expansion plans for what had been a narrowing gap to the rest of the field. Marquez's stunning 1'37.683 during qualifying Saturday in Argentina put him seventh-tenths clear of next-fastest rider. Additionally, Marquez reclaimed the fastest times in every timing sector for a dominant performance at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit.
Still, it didn't stop what appears to be a resurgance for rival Jorge Lorenzo. His 1'38.683 -- only Marquez dropped into the 1'37s -- puts him firmly in the front row's second slot and marks a return to the top area of the timesheet for the Yamaha rider. Dani Pedrosa, who has spent much of practice as the second-fastest rider (and second fastest Honda) dropped into third after Lorenzo's fast lap.
The good news for Aleix Espargaro is that he qualified fourth and is leading the second row. The bad news is that grid position directly behind Marquez's pole spot actually means he lapped more than a second slower than the leader. Andrea Dovizioso, third-place finisher at the COTA race two weeks ago, put his Ducati into fifth. Valentino Rossi, who briefly climbed into second late in qualifying, saw his postion drop to sixth in the session's final two minutes. His 1'38.949 was good for 1.2 seconds behind the leader and the final slot on the second row.
Just a touch behind Rossi were Bradley Smith (7th) and Andrea Iannone (8th). Iannone crashed hard in an earlier practice but the team reported that the Italian rider is bruised but will race. Also sore is Stefan Bradl (9th) who high-sided viscously early in the qualifying session and didn't return after experiencing dizzyness. He is expected to race although that could change after medical exams.
Rounding out the top 10 was Alvaro Bautista, 1.7 seconds behind the leader.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||99||Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||1'38.425||0.742 / 0.742|
|3||26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||1'38.651||0.968 / 0.226|
|4||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Forward Yamaha||1'38.794||1.111 / 0.143|
|5||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||1'38.856||1.173 / 0.062|
|6||46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||1'38.949||1.266 / 0.093|
|7||38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||1'38.958||1.275 / 0.009|
|8||29||Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||1'39.237||1.554 / 0.279|
|9||6||Stefan BRADL||Honda||1'39.297||1.614 / 0.060|
|10||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Honda||1'39.429||1.746 / 0.132|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||1'39.822||2.139 / 0.393|
|12||69||Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||1'40.541||2.858 / 0.719|
|13||45||Scott REDDING||Honda||1'40.238||0.350 / 0.040|
|14||5||Colin EDWARDS||Forward Yamaha||1'40.476||0.588 / 0.238|
|15||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Honda||1'40.615||0.727 / 0.139|
|16||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||Honda||1'40.616||0.728 / 0.001|
|17||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||1'40.691||0.803 / 0.075|
|18||23||Broc PARKES||PBM||1'40.981||1.093 / 0.290|
|19||51||Michele PIRRO||Ducati||1'41.018||1.130 / 0.037|
|20||70||Michael LAVERTY||PBM||1'41.103||1.215 / 0.085|
|21||8||Hector BARBERA||Avintia||1'41.129||1.241 / 0.026|
|22||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Avintia||1'41.267||1.379 / 0.138|
|23||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ART||1'41.686||1.798 / 0.419|