Marc Marquez has taken his fourth pole position in Argentina in a row, with a superlative display of riding on a drying track during qualifying. The Repsol Honda rider's fastest qualifying continues his monopoly of pole positions in the MotoGP class at the Termas De Rio Hondo circuit, and also brings his total to 66 pole positions, putting him ahead of Jorge Lorenzo again as the rider with the most poles in the modern era.
Marquez was simply unstoppable on a drying track, his first fast lap putting him a second clear of the field, then improving that time by another second, to lead the field by over three quarters of a second at the end. Marquez' time was only briefly challenged by Karel Abraham, but his second lap was enough to gap the field.
That left Karel Abraham in second, his first ever front row. The Czech rider rode impressively on a two-year-old Ducati Desmosedici GP15, and giving the Pull&Bear Aspar team an emotional front row start. Cal Crutchlow came very close to beating Abraham into third on his last lap, but he came up just three thousandths of a second short on the LCR Honda.
Hondas and Ducatis dominated the two front rows, with Danilo Petrucci taking fourth on the Pramac Ducati, a tenth of a second faster than Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda. Pedrosa had come though from Q1 along with Valentino Rossi, the two veterans putting on a dazzling display in the first session, but one which left them a little short of tires in the second qualifying session. Changing conditions made it harder too: the track started very wet in Q1, but dried out considerably throughout Q2, creating a dry line and giving riders their best times at the end of the session.
After dominating the weekend in the dry, Maverick Viñales' lack of experience was telling in the wet, ending Q2 1.7 seconds slower than Marc Marquez. But a second row start is manageable, especially if the race is dry tomorrow, as forecast.
Valentino Rossi will start from seventh, slightly disappointing but hampered by tires, as Pedrosa had been. Rossi just pipped Aleix Espargaro, the Aprilia rider now in eighth, ahead of Loris Baz in ninth.
Q1 turned out to be as thrilling as Q2 in Argentina, with drama throughout. Jack Miller appeared to have the upper hand, but a mistake by the team not having fresh rubber ready left him unable to ride in the last five minutes of Q1, and miss out on what looked like certain passage through to Q2.
Neither factory Ducati made it through to Q2, with Andrea Dovizioso just bumped out by Rossi, while Jorge Lorenzo struggled on his first time out on the Ducati in the wet. Lorenzo will start from sixteenth, his worst qualifying position since Brno in 2008, his first year in the class.
|To Q2||26||Dani Pedrosa||Honda||1'49.235|
|To Q2||46||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||1'49.421||0.186||0.186|