Photo by Gold & Goose
A second day of surprises in Argentina saw a novel front row for tomorrow’s race, after the weather took a hand. Pole for Marc Marquez preserved his perfect qualifying record at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. But second for Karel Abraham was totally unexpected; while Cal Crutchlow’s third added further variety.
Marquez (Repsol Honda) has been on pole for the past four years at the fast and scenic lakeside circuit, and made no mistakes as drizzle struck in the morning, and kept going through qualifying. “My wet feeling was really, really good. But it will be dry tomorrow, so it will be another story.”
In the dry, he’d been third-fastest, behind Qatar winner Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).
Abraham was “just amazed” by second, but it underlined a strong performance on day one, putting him straight through to Q2 with the big names. Riding a two-year-old Pull & Bear Ducati, the returned Czech rider has hitherto named his goal simply as the top ten. “I still have the same target, but the front row is a great advantage,” he said. Abraham was almost eight tenths down on Marquez.
Crutchlow, just three thousandths slower, was happy with “a different” front row, saying he’d made the most of his package, but better settings could have put him closer to Marquez.
Vinales was sixth, behind second-row leader Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) and second Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) led row three from Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati); with Bautista (Ducati), top rookie Folger (Yamaha) and Iannone (Suzuki) behind.
The drying Q2 session followed a nail-biting star-studded Q1, where a galaxy of top riders vied for the chance to make up for getting caught by changeable weather, after ending up out of the top ten on day-one poor times.
In tricky damp conditions, factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was on top before a flurry in the closing stages. First Pedrosa displaced him, then Rossi came from nowhere to go faster still. At the last gasp, Pedrosa got on top again.
Dovizioso was a disconsolate 13th overall; ahead of Zarco and Redding.
Jorge Lorenzo was never a contender in his second Ducati race, finishing 16th.
Australian Jack Miller was furious, after bungled team work denied him another run in the closing stages. He’d been fastest in the first outing, but ended up 17th.
Moto2 was dry by the end, and a hectic finish ended with a first class pole for Miguel Oliveira and for his new-this-year Red Bull KTM. The Portuguese rider kept moving just out of reach, from a strong challenge by Qatar winner Franco Morbidelli and his Marc VDS Kalex team-mate Alex Marquez.
Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Kalex) came through to lead row two from Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Kalex) and erstwhile leader Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Kalex). Sandro Cortese was the first Suter in seventh; the Dynavolt rider one place ahead of Xavi Vierge, whose Tech 3 Mistral team-mate Remy Gardner was 25th.
Moto3 escaped morning rain, and afternoon qualifying was also dry … until spots started to fall in the last five minutes, foiling universal plans of a last-gasp dash and leaving John McPhee to take a third pole of his career. The Scottish British Talent Team rider, on the podium at Qatar, has returned to Honda from Peugeot, and led four more Hondas in the top six.
Only Nicolo Bulega (SKY VR46 KTM) managing to push through into second to spoil the party – doing so in spite of spots of rain.
Jorge Martin (Gresini Honda) was third; Aron Canet, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Romano Fenati filled row two. Qatar winner Joan Mir (Leopard Honda) led most of free practice, but was caught out by conditions, and qualified 16th. Alberto Arenas came back from a heavy crash to place 19th, top Mahindra.
The Argentine MotoGP race kicks off at 3:00pm Eastern on Sunday and can be watched live on Bein Sports or by subscription at MotoGP.com.
GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA MotoGP Qualifying Nr. 2 Classification 2017
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||314.0||1’47.512|
|2||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||303.6||1’48.275||0.763 / 0.763|
|3||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||311.7||1’48.278||0.766 / 0.003|
|4||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||314.4||1’48.908||1.396 / 0.630|
|5||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||302.8||1’49.008||1.496 / 0.100|
|6||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||305.6||1’49.218||1.706 / 0.210|
|7||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||309.9||1’49.272||1.760 / 0.054|
|8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||307.4||1’49.323||1.811 / 0.051|
|9||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||306.3||1’49.630||2.118 / 0.307|
|10||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||311.7||1’49.724||2.212 / 0.094|
|11||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||305.7||1’49.825||2.313 / 0.101|
|12||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||307.3||1’50.725||3.213 / 0.900|
|13||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||306.2||1’49.488||0.253 / 0.067|
|14||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||311.1||1’49.916||0.681 / 0.428|
|15||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||313.8||1’50.048||0.813 / 0.132|
|16||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||310.2||1’50.310||1.075 / 0.262|
|17||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||310.8||1’50.319||1.084 / 0.009|
|18||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||310.8||1’50.673||1.438 / 0.354|
|19||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||304.7||1’50.676||1.441 / 0.003|
|20||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||311.9||1’50.910||1.675 / 0.234|
|21||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||313.1||1’51.058||1.823 / 0.148|
|22||22||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||306.3||1’51.199||1.964 / 0.141|
|23||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||307.8||1’52.340||3.105 / 1.141|