Saturday’s Argentina MotoGP Qualifying

Michael Scott | April 8, 2017
MotoGP qualifying was held in challenging conditions Saturday in Argentina.

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

193Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda314.01’47.512
217Karel ABRAHAMCZEPull&Bear Aspar TeamDucati303.61’48.2750.763 / 0.763
335Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRLCR HondaHonda311.71’48.2780.766 / 0.003
49Danilo PETRUCCIITAOCTO Pramac RacingDucati314.41’48.9081.396 / 0.630
526Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda302.81’49.0081.496 / 0.100
625Maverick VIÑALESSPAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha305.61’49.2181.706 / 0.210
746Valentino ROSSIITAMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha309.91’49.2721.760 / 0.054
841Aleix ESPARGAROSPAAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia307.41’49.3231.811 / 0.051
976Loris BAZFRAReale Avintia RacingDucati306.31’49.6302.118 / 0.307
1019Alvaro BAUTISTASPAPull&Bear Aspar TeamDucati311.71’49.7242.212 / 0.094
1194Jonas FOLGERGERMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha305.71’49.8252.313 / 0.101
1229Andrea IANNONEITATeam SUZUKI ECSTARSuzuki307.31’50.7253.213 / 0.900
134Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati306.21’49.4880.253 / 0.067
145Johann ZARCOFRAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha311.11’49.9160.681 / 0.428
1545Scott REDDINGGBROCTO Pramac RacingDucati313.81’50.0480.813 / 0.132
1699Jorge LORENZOSPADucati TeamDucati310.21’50.3101.075 / 0.262
1743Jack MILLERAUSEG 0,0 Marc VDSHonda310.81’50.3191.084 / 0.009
1844Pol ESPARGAROSPARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM310.81’50.6731.438 / 0.354
1938Bradley SMITHGBRRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM304.71’50.6761.441 / 0.003
2053Tito RABATSPAEG 0,0 Marc VDSHonda311.91’50.9101.675 / 0.234
218Hector BARBERASPAReale Avintia RacingDucati313.11’51.0581.823 / 0.148
2222Sam LOWESGBRAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia306.31’51.1991.964 / 0.141
2342Alex RINSSPATeam SUZUKI ECSTARSuzuki307.81’52.3403.105 / 1.141

Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.

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