Pole on Argentina debut for Marquez

Posted by Amaan Ahmed at 21:20 pm on Saturday April 26, 2014

The last time Argentina hosted premier motorcycle racing was in 1999. Back then, Emilio Alzamora took the 125cc championship without winning a single race throughout that season. Now, after almost 15 years, Alzamora is back at a motorcycle racing event being held in Argentina, only this time, he's the manager of the rider who's taken pole position at the Termas de Rio Hondo today - Marc Marquez.

The world champion experienced the new track for the first time astride a piddly scooter a couple of days ago, but watching him belt the mighty Honda around the track today, one would think he knows the circuit like the back of his left thigh. Except Free Practice 1 (when he eased off to save his tyres), Marquez has dominated every single session this weekend - FP2, FP3, FP4 and now, Qualifying as well.

Get this: Marquez's fastest Q2 lap time was a significant 1.5 seconds down on his fastest practice lap, over three-quarters of a second faster than second-placed Jorge Lorenzo, and almost a second quicker than his own stablemate, Dani Pedrosa.

Lorenzo was languishing in fifth place until the final five minutes of Q2, but he upped the ante on his final lap and got close enough to Marquez's time to snatch second from Pedrosa, only for Marquez to completely shut the door on him with a lap in the mid-1:37s.

Aleix Espargaro replicated his Austin qualifying result, taking fourth position as the fastest Open class bike, and the second-fastest Yamaha on the grid. Andrea Dovizioso whipped his Ducati to fifth place, and Valentino Rossi followed him in sixth, 1.26 seconds off Marquez's pace.

Six riders had tested at the circuit last year, of which only four were to participate in the race this weekend. Cal Crutchlow's hand injuries ruled him out, with Michele Pirro replacing him, which reduced that number to three.

Stefan Bradl, who had complained about the track being dirty earlier in the day, suffered a high-side in Q2, and though he got away unscathed, he didn't return to the track and had to settle for eighth, behind Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone. Alvaro Bautista, who hasn't had the best of starts to this season, will start tenth, ahead of rookie Pol Espargaro and Nicky Hayden.

Marquez's amazingly consistent performances may delight his fans, but they also make MotoGP headlines a touch monotonous these days. Will someone finally take the fight to MM93, or will it be a case of "same old, same old" in Argentina again tomorrow?

Qualifying:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Aleix Espargaro
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Valentino Rossi
7. Bradley Smith
8. Andrea Iannone
9. Stefan Bradl
10. Alvaro Bautista
11. Pol Espargaro
12. Nicky Hayden
13. Scott Redding
14. Colin Edwards
15. Karel Abraham
16. Hiroshi Aoyama
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Broc Parkes
19. Michele Pirro
20. Michael Laverty
21. Hector Barbera
22. Mike Di Meglio
23. Danilo Petrucci

TAGS// yamaha, dani pedrosa, jorge lorenzo, valentino rossi, moto gp, motogp, argentina, repsol honda, marc marquez

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