3 years ago
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It's hard to imagine we will ever see a more mesmerising 122.1 seconds of MotoGP action...
With nineteen years of experience reporting on MotoGP™ for Motorcycle News, Matthew Birt knows the championship inside-out. For the 2015 season he joins the motogp.com team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.
It's hard to imagine we will ever see a more mesmerising 122.1 seconds of MotoGP action at the Circuit of the Americas than the breathless lap that secured a 23rd premier class pole position for Marc Marquez today.
If ever one lap summed up the genius talent that is Marquez, then his sixth lap in this afternoon’s QP2 was the one.
His final lap combined all the elements that made Marquez a quadruple World Champion in three different classes before his 22nd birthday.
There was outrageous skill to deliver a lap that even though riddled with mistakes was still able to obliterate his pole position record by almost 0.7s.
And there was the aggression and bravery to shrug off more than one brush with disaster, not least when he stuck a rear wheel on the kerb at turn 10 with the throttle wide open in fourth gear.
His bike bucking and weaving like a rodeo bull in downtown Austin, Marquez rode through the storm to complete one of the best single laps I’ve ever seen since I started working in MotoGP back in 1996.
The lap was anything but perfect but it was still 0.339s clear of Andrea Dovizioso, who had a front row seat for Marquez’s lap.
In the post qualifying press conference, Dovizioso looked like a man who could scarcely believe what he witnessed.
Dovizioso summed it up perfectly when he said it was a lap with ‘a lot of mistakes but a special lap’.
He’d earlier referred to it as ‘amazing’, and this is from a rider who has seen pretty much everything in his 223 Grand Prix appearances.
What made Marquez’s third successive pole position at the Circuit of the Americas so special was what had come before his stunning late charge.
Marquez had his back against the wall after a rare HRC technical failure had seen him plummet from first on the timesheets down to seventh with the clock ticking down to the final three minutes.
A leap over the pit wall and sprint down the pit lane that some Olympic 100m athletes would have been proud of saw Marquez jump on his second bike.
It wasn’t set-up how he wanted and the hard front Bridgestone tyre he favoured wasn’t fitted.
Absolutely nothing fazes the Spaniard though, and you’ll get short odds on him taking a third straight win in Texas.
Rain may intervene, which might improve Dovizioso’s victory aspirations after his impressive showing in a rain-hit FP1 yesterday.
Yamaha and in particular World Championship leader Valentino Rossi seem to be struggling to get more than seven laps out of Bridgestone’s front tyre.
It was excessive front tyre wear a year ago that cost Rossi a certain podium, and not even the introduction of a harder compound option to counter the issue appear to have alleviated Rossi’s issues.
If you’ve watched any of this weekend’s action, you will notice the moment Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo return to the pits, Yamaha staff look like a swarm of bees around a pot of honey inspecting front tyre wear.
Rossi was still fourth fastest and as we’ve seen countless times in the past, he can find a ‘magic’ setting for Sunday,
But if you’ve got two minutes and two seconds to spare then watch Marquez’s pole position lap.
You won’t see much better.
Click here for the full Qualifying report and results.
3 years ago
3 years ago