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Grand Prix of The Americas
Round 2 - Saturday, April 12th 2014
Americas - Qualifying Report
Air temp 45°C
Track temp 52%
Marquez takes pole in Austin with Pedrosa 2nd in all-Honda front row
Marquez takes pole in Austin with Pedrosa 2nd in all-Honda front row
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez scored another record this afternoon with his pole position lap for tomorrow's grand prix, at the track he celebrated his first pole position and victory in the premier class.
After leading every session so far in this weekend's Red Bull GP of The Americas, Marc topped his pole time of 2013 (2'03.021) by 0.248s with a lap time of 2'02.773 on his final lap of 7 in this afternoon's qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa found an improvement in his setup from yesterday, and starts from second on the grid alongside his teammate, with a time of 2'03.062. LCR Honda rider, Stefan Bradl, completed an all-Honda front row for tomorrow's 21 lap race which will start at 14h00 local time.
Marc Marquez profile image
1st - 2'02.773
"I'm very happy with how the weekend is going and with the qualifying session - especially taking pole position. I have a good feeling with the bike and have been setting a good pace ahead of tomorrow's race. We will try to get a good start and I'm sure we'll be fighting with Dani, as he is our strongest rival. I think that the beginning of the race will be the most important part, because with this heat the tyres suffer a lot. I will try to remain focused and have a good race!"
Dani Pedrosa profile image
2nd - 2'03.062
"We improved the bike a lot today and I was able to ride much better than yesterday. I managed to come very close in qualifying and hope to take advantage of all my chances to win tomorrow's race. Last year we came second so I will look to take one step further tomorrow!"
Movistar Yamaha Secure Second Row Start in Texas
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi secured fifth and sixth places respectively, just 0.001 seconds apart, this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow's Grand Prix of the Americas.
The 15minute shoot-out on the long Circuit of The Americas track (COTA) allowed little time for multiple hot laps so every second was crucial.
Lorenzo was first to record a time, taking what was his fastest lap of the weekend so far on his first flying lap to momentarily take the top spot. The 2'03.619 lap was challenged not long after, dropping him down the standings.
Teammate Rossi was also quick on the attack, his first lap a best of the weekend at that point, slotting in just outside the 2'03s with a 2'04.093. He then picked up the pace even further, closing in to less than a tenth from his teammate with a 2'03.670. Lorenzo managed to stay just ahead and the two Movistar Yamaha riders came in to pit around halfway, sitting in fourth and fifth respectively.
A lightening quick pit stop saw Lorenzo back out and putting it all in to his sixth lap. Despite going red through the first split he was unable to break into the 2'02s, taking a 2'03.243 on that final sixth flying lap to take fifth on the grid for the race, 0.470 seconds from Marc Marquez on pole.
Rossi's efforts mirrored that of his teammate, putting it all in on the sixth lap to fight for the best possible grid start. He took an almost identical time to Lorenzo with a 2'03.244 lap for sixth, 0.471 seconds from first.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team's riders produced another strong-minded display in qualifying today with Bradley Smith in 8th and Pol Espargaro in 11th position for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship. Both riders moved straight into the qualifying practice2 as they made further steps forward after a challenging start in yesterday's opening sessions.
Bradley Smith produced another sterling display at the long and twisting Texan track with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. Despite the complexity of the Circuit of the Americas, Smith continued his encouraging performance and leapt forward to 5th in FP3, as he was the quickest of all the Yamaha MotoGP riders. During QP2, he knocked off another two hundredth of a second from his FP3 time, but ultimately finished in 8th place, only half of a second behind the Factory Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo. His fastest time was also a colossal improvement from last year's best qualifying time, by almost three seconds. The young British rider's performances so far this year confirm his determination to be the leading satellite bike, as he aims to fight for a top 5 finish in the 21 lap race tomorrow.
Rookie Pol Espargaro completed a successful run to qualify 11th for tomorrow's Grand Prix, and only just over a second from the leading time in his second race appearance on a MotoGP bike. After overcoming the difficulty of learning the 2013 Bridgestone tyres, which he had previously not competed on, the reigning Moto2 World Champion advanced straight into QP2 with a strong 9th place in FP3, ahead of the Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi. Signs of progression were evident, as his best lap of 2:03.913 set in QP2, was his fastest of the weekend by 2.7 seconds compared to yesterday's opening session, and only a tenth away from 7th place. However confidence is high for the 22 year old to gain a positive result tomorrow and score his inaugural points in the MotoGP World Championship as some of the riders in front of him were running soft tyres today, which will not be sustainable for tomorrow's race distance.
It was a thrilling qualifying session for the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro, who finished as first open and 4th overall. Tomorrow he will take the start of the Texas GP from the second row, behind Marquez, Pedrosa and Bradl.
After having struggled in the free practices, in the Q1 Aleix closed second, entering the Q2, where he gave his maximum and recorded his best lap time of 2'03.240, 0.467 from pole man Mar Marquez.
It was a tough day for Colin Edwards, who struggled a lot on the technical and demanding COTA racetrack. Texas Tornado will start tomorrow from the 7th row (2'.06.741).
"The progression from the first practice on Friday is very big, we were two seconds behind and now half a second. Anyway, as I thought it's going to be a hard race tomorrow. Our goal is to fight for fourth or third position, I think it would be a good result because here our competitors are really strong so we need to make the best result we can, to finish on the podium would be a good thing."
"I am happy about today's qualifying, especially because from this morning to the afternoon session we were able to improve the bike and in qualifying I was pretty fast. Following the last free practice we also made another step ahead and I enjoyed the qualifying session; I went well. I am happy to be on second row; it is not bad at all. I am also happy I am just four tenths from pole position. My pace is good, although we still have to work and cut some little tenth but I think tomorrow might be a good day for us."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Both the riders and the team have done a good job today. Last year in qualifying Jorge was a second behind and Valentino over two seconds off. Now both are within half a second of the front so the progress is clear to see. We still have some things to work out and maybe we can make another small step forward for the race. In Qatar we closed the gap over the practice sessions and were competitive at the front end during the race so we are confident that we can do the same here. The second row is not a bad place to start and the race is long and not won on the first lap. The weather could make things interesting for everyone so let's see what Sunday brings us!"
"In general, I am quite satisfied with 8th poshave improved by 1.6 seconds from yesterday, which is positive and also a huge leap compared to the qualifying time from last year. I set a good lap time in FP3 which I was then able to better by two tenths later on in QP2. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last sector during my fastest lap which cost me around 3 tenths, and I would have been only 0.2 seconds from the Factory Yamaha bikes if this hadn't occurred, which is an acceptable gap. So now we need to analyse the information, see where we can improve furthermore and make another step during tomorrow's warm up. Anyway, I am really looking forward to the race where I will focus on getting a good start, and being as aggressive as possible to get into the top five at the first corner. No doubt, it will be a tough GP with plenty of overtaking, so I have to be prepared to pass other riders and keep a good lap time for all 21 laps.
"Overall, I am pretty happy as I went straight into QP2, which shows a big improvement since Qatar. On the other hand I am a little disappointed with 11th, as I was near the top guys, and only one tenth of a second off 7th place. If I had not made some small mistakes on the second run with the new tyre, I know I could have gone faster. The bike felt good, although I did experience some issues with the front end of the bike and also with the wheeling which we tried to fix, and will continue to resolve tomorrow. Also, I needed to relearn the track on a MotoGP bike, which is difficult as I must be smoother. Jorge and Valentino are able to be so quick as they ride in this manner, and this is what I need to improve. I feel positive for the race, as the riders in front of me, rode with a soft tyre today, which gives me an advantage as they can't use it tomorrow. I need a good start, and it will be a tough battle but I am confident that I can overtake and get a good result."
"First open and 4th overall is a very good result. We definitely improved in the qualifying, but we don't have the strong pace that we had in Qatar. The bike is unstable in the hard braking and I struggled a lot. In these conditions the race becomes also very physically demanding. Anyway, we will take the start from a good grid position and I will do my best."
"The track is very demanding and this complicates the situation. I'm struggling a lot with the bike and this is not what I wanted for my home GP. We will continue to work and try to change something for the race."
Crutchlow and Dovizioso qualify for the GP of the Americas at Austin in seventh and tenth place
Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso qualified for the Grand Prix of the Americas, the second round of the MotoGP World Championship which will be held tomorrow at the Austin circuit in Texas, respectively in seventh and tenth place.
After encouraging form shown during the four sessions of free practice, both Ducati Team riders hoped to make further progress in qualifying, but unfortunately neither Crutchlow, who had a low-speed slide at Turn 11, nor Dovizioso, who is still suffering from the effects of flu, were able to improve their times and as a result the British rider and his Italian team-mate will start Sunday's race respectively from rows 3 and 4.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 7th (2m03.780s)
"This weekend our back's been up against the wall a bit and we've had some issues, but the team has worked hard to sort them out. We improved the bike for the qualifying but seventh was all we got. I also came off at turn 11, spinning round in a circle at 28 k per hour for some reason! I'm not going to make excuses because I was pushing for the lap time. Today I had a lot less rear grip, maybe because of the track conditions, but for sure we need to analyze everything tonight to change the bike set-up a bit and make it work better with the harder option race tyre."
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 10th (2m03.846s)
"I am a bit disappointed with tenth place on the grid, which for sure will not help me much in tomorrow's race, especially in the early laps. Today I struggled a lot: physically I'm very weak because I'm taking antibiotics for my flu and my muscles feel pretty bad. It's not ideal at all to race with a high fever in MotoGP, especially at a track like Austin, because it drains you of all your energy. Tomorrow I'll try and do a good race: I'd say that with our pace in the early laps we can be quite close to the front, but we'll have to see if we can keep it up for the rest of the race."
BRADL'S SOLID EFFORT PUT HIM ON FRONT ROW AT COTA
Austin, 12 April: LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl took a sensational third place (2'03.196) at the state-of-the-art Austin circuit today in a very close 15-min qualifying session. His great performance aboard the RC213V (only 0.423s off poleman) put him on front row behind the Repsol duo Marquez and Pedrosa ahead tomorrow's 21-lap race.
Stefan: "For sure we are very happy today because a front row is always a great result and for me it's even more special because I like this track. We have done a good job on the bike improving a lot from Friday to Saturday and gaining more feeling with the tyres. Even in the free practices today our pace was pretty good as we lapped constantly in the top-four. The race is going to be tough because the Yamaha guys are very close and Dani and Marc are very fast but I remain concentrated and will do my best to finish this race with a positive result".
Top 10 for Andrea Iannone
Top 10 for Andrea Iannone
The weekend Proceeds in a positive way at Circuit of the Americas, in Texas, for the Pramac Racing Team. Andrea Iannone on his last run of second qualifying practice gained ninth place. Yonny Hernandez manages to keep the fifteenth position.
Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - starts off determined and is fast from the first practice session today, improving his yesterday lap time and riding constantly with the fastest riders. The twenty-four year old from Vasto ends the third free practice session with the sixth fastest time gaining so direct access to the second qualifying session. During the last free practice before qualifying session Andrea still manages to improve finishing in second place. During qualifying, "The Man ... c" improves other three-tenths of a second from his best time riding in 2'03"842, which allows him to start from the third row in tomorrow's race.
Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - closes the day keeping yesterdays fifteenth position. Yonny fulfills his best lap time during the FP3 in the morning, unfortunately fails to improve during the day and because of a little mistake compromises his qualifying session. Finishing of points remains tomorrows goal for the race.
Front Row Start for AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing
Circuit: Circuit Of The Americas
Circuit Length: 5.513 km
Qualifying: (Conditions) Dry; (air temp) 28°, (track temp) 45°
AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing rider Johann Zarco put in a superb performance during Moto2 Qualifying as he continued to dominate throughout, only to be knocked from the pole position spot on the last lap by Spanish rider Esteve Rabat.
The Frenchman will start tomorrow's race from the front row in P2.
After an unfortunate crash hampering Josh Herrin from progressing in FP3, the Moto2 rookie worked hard to improve his time during the qualifying session. Knocking 1.349s off his best time, the young American will start his home race from P27 on the grid.
Johann Zarco: P2 / 2'10.401 / 17 laps
"Good qualifying! I'm not disappointed because I almost did the pole position.
"Tito Rabat was 0.266s faster and these three tenths I tried but I couldn't do. Today this lap time was mine and I have shown that I can repeat it. The pace is good so this is good information for the race on Sunday.
"Now the target is to stay with this top group. I think it's still going to be Tito because he is the best rider at the moment in Moto2, so if I can fight with him the entire race until the end it's going to be a good Sunday."
Josh Herrin: P27 / 2'12.594 / 13 laps
"This morning was kind of a wash. We had some problems with the front feeling and I made a dumb mistake. As I got on the brakes on one of rumble strips I caught the lip so ended up crashing and losing the rest of the session.
"We ended up going out in Qualifying and I got down to the best time I've been able to do right away which was good.
"Hopefully in the morning session we can continue with the progress and get a good start in the race and try and run with the guys for the points."
Johann Stigefelt - Team Manager:
"So far it's been great. We came here with high hopes because Zarco loves this track and we thought he could do well but to be so dominating in FP1 and FP2 and then to go out in Qualifying where he really put down the bench mark, showing everyone that he is really fast, is amazing.
"His times are consistent and we are so happy with him and the set-up right now. We are just making minor changes to try and improve a little bit. We are 100% race ready; we know which tyres to use and we have a good plan. Of course anything can happen like in Qatar, so we don't want to be too confident but if everything goes well hopefully we can fight for the podium positions.
"For Josh unfortunately we've had some problems with bike set-up this weekend and following the crash in FP3 we have basically lost a session.
"In the end in qualifying he bettered his lap time quite well and we can see on his ideal time he can do it, he can do a high 2m11s which was our target. So we need some more focus and we need to work hard and hopefully tomorrow we can get a good start like in Qatar and try to run around the top fifteen and that will be the target for Josh tomorrow."