Marc Marquez set a new track-record lap at Circuit of the Americas to take the pole position going into this afternoon’s MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Marquez, who began his World Championship defense with a win in the season opener last month in Qatar, lapped the circuit yesterday in 2 minutes, 2.886 seconds on his Repsol Honda to claim the pole.
The Spaniard also paced this morning’s warmup session ahead of the race, which begins at 3 p.m. ET and features a possibility for rain (check out the forecast from NBC’s Austin affiliate, KXAN).
Marquez’s teammate at Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa, will start in the middle of an all-Honda front row following his qualifying lap of 2 minutes, 3.062 seconds. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl logged a lap of 2 minutes, 3.196 seconds and will be on the outside of that row.
Yamaha riders make up the second row of the grid, with Aleix Espargaro, Jorge Lorenzo, and Valentino Rossi in positions fourth through sixth.
Nicky Hayden led the American riders in qualifying and will start 14th on his Honda (middle of Row 5). The other Yank in the field, “Texas Tornado” Colin Edwards, will start 19th on his Yamaha after announcing his retirement at the end of this season during the weekend at COTA.
MOTO GP AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS – FULL GRID
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”