Maverick Viñales will start Sunday’s MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon from pole position after topping qualifying for Yamaha as teammate Valentino Rossi made a stunning return from injury.
Having broken his leg during a training accident at the end of last month, Rossi was cleared to race this weekend by MotoGP’s medical officials on Thursday, with the nine-time world champion gingerly returning to action in practice.
Rossi battled through to Q2 by finishing final practice 10th-quickest, before then producing a rapid final lap in the session to secure third place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Teammate Viñales bagged his fifth pole of the season with a best lap of 1:47.635, lapping one-tenth of a second quicker than Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi was a further 0.08 seconds behind in P3.
Cal Crutchlow took fourth for LCR Honda ahead of Marc Marquez, who fell ahead of his final run and was unable to improve his initial lap time in Q2.
Marquez’s chief title rival Andrea Dovizioso will start seventh behind Dani Pedrosa, while Aleix Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Iannone completed the top 10 in qualifying.
INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.
Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.
It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.
Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)