Factory Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia brought to an end Marc Marquez’s run of seven straight poles at the Grand Prix of Americas on Saturday as he topped qualifying and took his third consecutive pole in the 2021 MotoGP season after Aragon and San Marino MotoGPs.
Bagnaia’s last lap of two minutes 02.781 seconds was just enough to push six-times world champion Marquez into third, as 2021 MotoGP world championship leader Fabio Quartararo took the second place on his Factory Yamaha.
“We worked a lot this week. I really enjoy qualifying, I gave it my all in the second attempt, the last corner was a bit wide, but very happy,” said Bagnaia, who ranks second in the championship behind Quartararo seperated by 48 points.
Quartararo, despite an unpromising Friday practice, was able to get back to form and was very impressive on Saturday.
“We are struggling a little more than usual in qualifying. Pecco (Bagnaia) was really fast but it is always great to start in the first row. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow,” the championship leader said.
Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin will start fourth ahead of LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, while Bagnaia’s team mate Jack Miller, despite being fast all weekend, could only manage 10th. Alex Rins will be leading his Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir in seventh.
Mir had to come through Q1 and was only left with one bike to complete qualifying with after he suffered an engine failure at the start of the preceding FP4 session. The Suzuki rider followed Avintia rookie Luca Marini through Q1, the Italian putting his two-year-old Ducati ninth on the grid ahead of a furious Jack Miller.
A number of riders, including former world champion Valentino Rossi, crashed during qualifying following concerns this week that the Circuit of the Americas in Texas was too bumpy, with Quartararo calling it “a joke” and “unsafe”.
Reigning world champion Joan Mir on Friday said that he would take up the matter with MotoGP’s Safety Commission and try to find a solution.
AUSTIN MOTOGP, COTA – FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS
|1||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Team (GP21)||2’2.781s||6/7||344k|
|2||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.348s||6/7||342k|
|3||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.428s||3/6||342k|
|4||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)*||+0.497s||2/6||346k|
|5||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+0.511s||6/6||343k|
|6||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP21)||+0.598s||3/7||350k|
|7||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.672s||6/7||341k|
|8||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.747s||3/6||338k|
|9||Luca Marini||ITA||Sky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||+0.765s||2/3||341k|
|10||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Team (GP21)||+0.939s||2/6||342k|
|11||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+1.000s||6/6||343k|
|12||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+1.094s||3/6||345k|
|13||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||2’3.872s||5/6||339k|
|14||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||2’4.044s||7/7||342k|
|15||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||2’4.1s||7/7||346k|
|16||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Avintia Ducati (GP19)*||2’4.118s||6/6||346k|
|17||Iker Lecuona||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||2’4.324s||6/7||343k|
|18||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||2’4.392s||6/6||341k|
|19||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)||2’4.419s||5/5||345k|
|20||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||2’4.699s||3/6||343k|
|21||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)||2’4.829s||6/7||339k|