The intermediate class closed the show on Saturday in Austin and they brought some twists to the tale. While several stories were unfolding throughout the field, there seemed to be another Marquez master at COTA, Alex Marquez taking an early lead in the qualifying session and letting the chasers do their job. Sam Lowes did it best, by exactly one thousandth of a second but that gap proved not to be sustainable after the Marc VDS rider’s final time attack. Marquez scored pole to get his title chase back on track, while Lowes cannot be too disappointed with a front row start. The leading duo will be joined by Mattia Pasini in third grid position after the Italian made some late progress.
Pecco Bagnaia had a somewhat frustrating session, several mistakes seeing him miss out on the front row by one hundredth of a second and settling for fourth. A splendid Joan Mir was not too far away from his teammate, adding a fifth grid position to the team’s reasons to celebrate. Luca Marini also put in an admirable performance to close the second row of the grid, six tenths down on the poleman.
Xavi Vierge’s seventh position was consistent with what he showed throughout the weekend, the Spaniard fronting the fourth row of the grid ahead of teammate Marcel Schrotter and a notable step up from Fabio Quartararo.
Meanwhile, you might have noticed a distinct lack of factory KTMs up to this point in the story, which will come as a surprise given the speed Miguel Oliveira demonstrated in all other practice sessions. The Portuguese rider suffered a big upset to only qualify twelfth, very close behind Isaac Viñales and Dominique Aegerter, with teammate Brad Binder another four grid positions behind.
|9||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||2'11.282||0.694||0.006|
|18||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||2'11.593||1.005||0.005|
|22||52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||2'11.905||1.317||0.206|
|23||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||2'12.189||1.601||0.284|
|25||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||2'12.348||1.760||0.070|