Alex Marquez battled his way through a rainy Q1 session, a crash and a burning bike to claim his maiden MotoGP pole at the Argentinian GP. He will be joined on the front row by Marco Bezzecchi and Pecco Bagnaia – it was the riders who made the brave move to use slicks tires on a drying track that came out on top.
Alex Marquez has made his way through all the barriers that Saturday could throw at him to secure himself pole position for the Sprint and Feature race at this weekend’s Argentinian GP. He came through a wet qualifying session, in which he crashed in the final minutes and then pulled off the track with a bike in flames, to lay down a stunning time of 1:43.881.
Just 0.172s behind him was last weekend’s podium sitter, Marco Bezzecchi on the Mooney VR46 machine. He has clearly capitalised on the momentum he found in the first race of the season.
Just behind them was reigning champion and championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia. He took his time warming up in the session but seemed to come alive during his final flying lap. He was also the first of a series of brave riders to try slick tires on the drying track.
It was a good day for Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Vinales who will line up on the grid in 4th and 5th respectively. Just behind them with be Johann Zarco in 6th, who many tipped for a pole position today, and Luca Marini in 7th. Rounding out the top 10 are Jorge Martin, Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo.
There were some big names in Qualifying 1 today – a session that saw rain falling for most of the 15 minutes. Those names included Fabio Quatararo, Jack Miller, Brad Binder and Alex Marquez. The first sessions started with a mistake from Quartararo as he went too deep in to turn 5 and ploughed into the kitty litter at quite some speed. Despite the mistake, Quartararo spent most of the session at the top of the timing sheets, having laid down a time of 1:47.397 with 9 minutes remaining on the clock.
Marquez then took over at the top with 3 and a half minutes remaining. With lots of other riders improving in the dying minutes of the session, including Fabio Di Giannantonio and Joan Mir, Quartararo’s progression to Q2 was looking uncertain. Miller took a riskier approach, only giving him one opportunity for a flying lap. That approach didn’t seem to work for the Aussie who was stuck in 5th, only to be demoted to 6th after Binder took 5th from him.
As the session ended, it was Alex Marquez and Quartararo in 1st and 2nd respectively and both were promoted to the Q2 session.
As Q2 started, the conditions were improving and the track was drying quickly. Despite that, the pack started on wet tires and all were quickly on the track to try and test out the conditions. As everyone completed their first flying laps, Johann Zarco was the first to take provisional pole, just ahead of the two Yamaha riders with Franco Morbidelli in 2nd and Quartararo in 3rd. Championship leader, Bagnaia, had a slow start to the session with his first flying lap leaving him in 8th.
With 6 minutes left on the clock, all the riders headed back to the pits with a few brave riders then opting that the track was ready slick tires. Of these riders was Bagnaia who was the first to explore the track conditions on slick tires – the bike kept twitching and wobbling underneath him and it looked like he had made the leap just a little too soon.
But the lap times started to tumble as the conditions improved and, as the chequered flag fell, it was those on slick tires who topped the timing sheets. Bravery paid off!
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP