Marc Marquez will start Sunday’s MotoGP Grand Prix of Argentina from pole position after setting the pace in qualifying despite crashing out late on.
Marquez and his Honda team suffered a difficult pre-season getting to grips with the new Michelin tires in the series, but returned to the front of the pack on Saturday at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo.
An early Q2 lap of 1:39.411 proved to be good enough for pole, but a late crash left Marquez at risk of being beaten in the closing stages of the session.
However, Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were unable to capitalize on their rival’s mistake, finishing second and third respectively to hand Marquez his third pole in Argentina.
“I’m happy with how the bike is going and with the pace we have,” Marquez said after qualifying.
“Tomorrow it will be vital to choose our rear tire well, because with the soft I feel very good but I do not know if we can use it. We will have to wait for the decision from Michelin.
“We know what my crashes today were due to; the first was down to changing the setup but the second was because we pushed too hard. That is what happens in the qualifying session. Tomorrow we’ll give everything we have in the race.”
Michelin is set to decide on which tires can be used in tomorrow’s race overnight after final practice had to be halted twice due to concerns about its compounds following an issue for Scott Redding.
Following Marquez, Rossi and Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa finished fourth for Honda ahead of the Ducati duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. Maverick Vinales qualified seventh for Suzuki, leading Hector Barbera and Cal Crutchlow. Pol Espargaro rounded out the top 10 in Q2.