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Marquez seals pole for MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA

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Marc Marquez will start Sunday’s MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas from pole position after heading the field in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Marquez arrived in Austin on a high after claiming his first win of the season in Argentina last weekend, and looking to extend his perfect record at the Circuit of The Americas.

Since the track joined the MotoGP calendar in 2013, Marquez has started on pole for every race and been victorious, leaving him with a tough act to follow this weekend.

However, Marquez lived up to the hype in qualifying by taking his fourth straight pole position at COTA with a fast lap midway through the session.

Marquez posted a fastest time of 2:03.188 for Honda, with Yamaha rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi unable to match his lap throughout the session.

Marquez began his final lap just before the checkered flag fell, but a sloppy final sector meant he could not improve his time.

Nevertheless, it was enough to give him pole ahead of Lorenzo, who finished 0.069 seconds behind Marquez at the top.

COTA has traditionally been a track where Honda-powered bikes have excelled, making Lorenzo’s charge to second ahead of Yamaha teammate Rossi a significant achievement.

Ducati rider Andrea Iannone made good on his practice pace by qualifying fourth ahead of Maverick Vinales, who slotted into fifth place for Suzuki.

Cal Crutchlow finished sixth on the satellite LCR Honda bike ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the second Ducati, with Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa only finishing eighth.

Alex Espargaro qualified ninth after making it through Q1 as the second fastest rider behind Bradley Smith, who finished 11th in Q2. The duo were split by Scott Redding, while Loris Baz finished 12th.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.