Franco Morbidelli grabbed pole position at the Circuit of the Americas track Saturday and gave himself a good chance to start his season with three wins out of three races. Morbidelli's 2'09.379 put him one tenth clear of the field but more importantly, it also showed that his pace is as fast as it is consistent.
In the first free practice, the Italian was second fastest, in the second practice he was again. In the third practice, he was third fastest and then in qualifying, he came out on top. As the winner of the first two races, he looks tough to beat come Sunday.
But Mattia Pasini (2nd) and Alex Marquez (3rd) plan to have a say in the matter. Pasini is a little more than a tenth back in qualifying with Marquez an additional tenth. Moreover, the two other front-row starters have had good race pace all weekend.
Takaaki Nakagami (4th) continued a strong COTA weekend (especially for a track he has admitted he does not like) and leads the second row. Thomas Luthi, who early in qualifying looked like he might grab the front row, slipped into fifth. Dominique Aegerter made a huge leap forward with a sixth, his best showing of the weekend.
Miguel Oliveira, fastest in the first practice Friday and second-fastest in FP3, slid to seventh, just nipping Xavier Simeon (8th). Ricard Cardus (9th) and Marcel Schrotter rounded out the top ten.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time||Diff. / Prev.|
|2||54||Mattia PASINI||Kalex||2'09.546||0.167 / 0.167|
|3||73||Alex MARQUEZ||Kalex||2'09.621||0.242 / 0.075|
|4||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||Kalex||2'09.960||0.581 / 0.339|
|5||12||Thomas LUTHI||Kalex||2'09.980||0.601 / 0.020|
|6||77||Dominique AEGERTER||Suter||2'10.301||0.922 / 0.321|
|7||44||Miguel OLIVEIRA||KTM||2'10.317||0.938 / 0.016|
|8||19||Xavier SIMEON||Kalex||2'10.358||0.979 / 0.041|
|9||11||Sandro CORTESE||Suter||2'10.366||0.987 / 0.008|
|10||88||Ricard CARDUS||KTM||2'10.417||1.038 / 0.051|
|11||23||Marcel SCHROTTER||Suter||2'10.478||1.099 / 0.061|
|12||97||Xavi VIERGE||Tech 3||2'10.478||1.099|
|13||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Kalex||2'10.491||1.112 / 0.013|
|14||7||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI||Kalex||2'10.500||1.121 / 0.009|
|15||42||Francesco BAGNAIA||Kalex||2'10.539||1.160 / 0.039|
|16||40||Fabio QUARTARARO||Kalex||2'10.682||1.303 / 0.143|
|17||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||2'10.748||1.369 / 0.066|
|18||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Kalex||2'10.759||1.380 / 0.011|
|19||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||Kalex||2'10.804||1.425 / 0.045|
|20||49||Axel PONS||Kalex||2'10.813||1.434 / 0.009|
|21||60||Julian SIMON||Tech 3||2'10.864||1.485 / 0.051|
|22||32||Isaac VIÑALES||Kalex||2'10.912||1.533 / 0.048|
|23||10||Luca MARINI||Kalex||2'10.923||1.544 / 0.011|
|24||52||Danny KENT||Suter||2'10.932||1.553 / 0.009|
|25||2||Jesko RAFFIN||Kalex||2'11.012||1.633 / 0.080|
|26||57||Edgar PONS||Kalex||2'11.055||1.676 / 0.043|
|27||45||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA||Kalex||2'11.351||1.972 / 0.296|
|28||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||2'11.715||2.336 / 0.364|
|29||5||Andrea LOCATELLI||Kalex||2'12.162||2.783 / 0.447|
|30||27||Iker LECUONA||Kalex||2'12.638||3.259 / 0.476|
|31||62||Stefano MANZI||Kalex||2'13.061||3.682 / 0.423|
|32||47||Axel BASSANI||Speed Up||2'13.922||4.543 / 0.861|