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2 days ago
By motogp.com

Iannone takes a front row and starring role in the drama

Team Suzuki Ecstar rider will start second at COTA – was it another case of follow the leader in qualifying? Not quite...

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will start the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from second after an action-packed qualifying day, with the day’s fastest man Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) penalised three positions after an incident with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and the Italian gaining a place.

Iannone: "All the riders are very close"

The ‘Maniac’, however, was a protagonist of sorts in the drama of the day - it was him Marquez was focused on when the reigning Champion then impeded Viñales, having been looking the wrong way.

Why? “I know a fast rider behind me can improve his laptime, and Iannone yesterday was first,” explained Marquez. “I was looking more for Iannone, and then I didn’t expect Maverick!”

Why Marquez went slow out of the box

And he was right to look, with Iannone confirming that was the idea: “Every rider tries to do the best for himself. I went out from the pits, I saw Marc, and I know he’s fast so I tried to follow him…and he didn’t want to overtake me…”

As stated, however, the Italian was indeed first on Friday, and led the timesheets into Saturday afternoon. The impressive qualifying – and he did eventually end up just behind Marquez in the session – just adds on the positives, and sets Iannone up for a solid Sunday.

The importance of the front row is an oft-used line post-qualifying, but for Iannone there’s a little more to it. On Friday, he explained that his biggest challenge at the moment is overtaking – so with only one man ahead of him on the grid, it’s looking good.

FREE VIDEO: Incident between Marquez and Viñales

The importance of the front row is an oft-used line post-qualifying, but for Iannone there’s a little more to it. On Friday, he explained that his biggest challenge at the moment is overtaking – so with only one man ahead of him on the grid, it’s looking good.

On pace, too, it’s looking rosy for Sunday – but there Iannone errs on the side of caution, saying only that he’ll be pushing.

“At the moment it’s only on paper. For sure I want to be on the podium tomorrow and we need a good result, we’ve worked a lot since last year and step by step we’ve closed the gap. We’ll see tomorrow, but I’ll start with all my energy and push at 150%.”

Remember? How to Lose Your Tow, starring Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone...
The reigning Champion pulled a fast one and tricked the Italian at Phillip Island last season!

How did Marquez shake off Iannone at Phillip Island?

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