Round 02 Argentina

  • Marquez Scores First Pole Position of 2019

    Marc Marquez completed two excellent days of preparation for the Argentine Grand Prix with a storming ride to pole position at Termas de Rio Hondo.


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Marquez Scores First Pole Position of 2019

Termas de Río Hondo, Argentina, March 30, 2019

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) completed two excellent days of preparation for tomorrow's Argentine Grand Prix with a storming ride to pole position at Termas de Rio Hondo this afternoon.

The reigning MotoGP World Champion, who three weeks ago began his quest for a sixth premier-class title with a hard-fought second-place finish in Qatar has been in stunning form since arriving in Argentina. He topped FP1, FP3, FP4 and was fastest again in qualifying to secure his fifth pole at Termas de Rio Hondo.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) have also shown excellent speed during practice, with the team-mates second and fourth fastest in the FP4 session, when riders work on their race strategies and race pace. Marquez's new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who is recovering from injury, will start his second race on an RC213V from the fourth row of the grid after qualifying 12th quickest.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Marquez enjoys the fast and flowing Termas de Rio Hondo circuit which suits his thrillingly aggressive riding technique and allows him to get the best out of his RC213V, which is performing better than ever. If the 26-year-old Spaniard gets away well tomorrow he has a good chance of scoring his third victory at the track and his 45th in the category. There is a chance of rain during the race, but few riders are better at dealing with tricky conditions

Marquez's form throughout the weekend has been ominous. He was six tenths of a second inside the official race record in FP3, a feat he backed up in qualifying. Opting for a two-stop strategy in Q2, his 81st career pole position rarely looked in doubt, even though he aborted his second run after making a small mistake. His best lap was 0.15 seconds faster than second-placed Maverick Viñales. 

There was frustration for Crutchlow at the end of qualifying. During each of the four free practice sessions the 33-year-old Briton had been inside the top four, so he knew he was capable of challenging for pole position. But in Q2 he lacked some confidence in front-end grip, which put him eighth fastest, 0.651 seconds off pole. Last year Crutchlow won the race from tenth on the grid.

The three-times premier-class race winner can take great heart from his excellent record at this track and from his superb third-place finish in Qatar earlier this month.

Today was further confirmation of Nakagami's growing stature as a MotoGP rider. The 27-year-old from Chiba and twice Moto2 winner was an impressive fourth fastest in FP4, which gave him some serious momentum going into Q1. Nakagami was again in stunning form aboard his 2018 RC213V, putting him top of the first qualifying outing. Then in Q2 he equalled his best premier-class qualifying performance with a fine ninth place, 0.734 seconds off pole.

Tomorrow Nakagami aims to match his top-ten achievement in Qatar and feels that a top-seven result is within his reach, especially after his final run in FP4 which showed superb consistency.

Lorenzo's progress here hasn't been helped by his recent injuries. The 31-year-old was 21st fastest yesterday, still feeling the effects of the left scaphoid bone he broke in January and the rib he cracked during practice in Qatar. 

However, few riders have the mental strength of Lorenzo, who came back with a strong performance today. As more rubber was laid down around the track the three-times MotoGP king gained in confidence, allowing him to use his super-smooth riding technique to record a very fast lap in FP3 that guaranteed him a place in Q2. In Q2 he recorded the 11th quickest qualifying time, but during his best lap he exceeded track limits by a few centimeters, so that lap was cancelled and he dropped one place to 12th.

The margins couldn't have been any finer in the Moto2 class, with just 0.012 seconds covering the top-three riders in qualifying. Xavi Vierge (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) claimed his second Grand Prix pole position and he had to fight for it. The 21-year-old Spaniard broke Johann Zarco's four-year old outright Moto2 record on the third lap of an impressive nine-lap run in Q2. But Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) came within 0.012s of his time. This is Vierge's fourth front row start from the past five grand prix. 

Schrötter claimed a second consecutive front-row start, 0.011 seconds slower than Vierge. Lowes was just a thousandth of a second slower than the German to secure his first qualifying top three since the 2018 Grand Prix of the Americas. 

Twenty-year-old Thai rider Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) made a great showing in only his second ever Moto2 qualifying session. Chantra was 19th quickest, missing out on a place in Q2 by just 0.147s. Indonesian team-mate Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was 29th, 1.1 seconds than Chantra. 

In the hotly contested Moto3 class, Italian teenager Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers  Honda NSF250RW) was the pick of Honda's 14 riders, qualifying an excellent third fastest.

The talented 18-year-old is a fan of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. He scored his first pole position here in 2018, which made him the first rider born in the 21st century to gain a Grand Prix pole. Arbolino's ability over a single flying lap has been evident lately. This is his third front-row start from his last four attempts and tomorrow he hopes to score this first podium finish.

Honda's brilliant NSF250RW has a great record at this track. The bike won the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Argentine Moto3 races, thanks in part to its brilliantly agile chassis. Today six Hondas placed inside the top ten. Behind Arbolino, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) was a strong fourth, missing a front row start by just six thousandths of a second.

Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) was fifth, 0.3 seconds behind pole-sitter Jaume Masia. Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers Honda NSF250RW) qualified seventh, World Championship leader Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was eighth and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) ninth. 

Tomorrow 18-year-old Toba will fight to protect his points lead, following his brilliant first Grand Prix victory in Qatar, which made history. Not only is the talented youngster from Fukuoka the first Japanese rider to win a race in the Moto3 World Championship; he is the first to earn victories in the Asia Talent Cup, the Red Bull Rookies Cup, the FIM Junior World Championship and the Moto3 World Championship.

Talented rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) equalled his best qualifying performance of 15th as he prepares for his sixth Grand-Prix start. The 18-year-old from Tokyo scored a fine eleventh place in Qatar – which his first GP as a full-time World Championship rider – just 0.9 seconds off the race winner.

After tomorrow's racing, the Grand Prix paddock travels to Texas, USA, for the third round of 2019, the Grand Prix of the Americas from April 12-14th.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st, 1m 38.304s

“In qualifying I was really focused to push to the maximum and fight for pole position. On the second tire I made a small mistake at the first corner so I cancelled the lap and went back in. We had planned to do three runs and my team was ready. I am happy because it's never easy to get pole position here, especially this weekend. Our rhythm is there but we need to wait and see what the weather does!”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 8th, 1m 38.955s

“I'm very disappointed today with the result of qualifying. On my final run (in Q2) I didn't have a great feeling with my rear tire grip and I couldn't properly stop the bike anywhere in many of the corners. I made two mistakes, both in turn nine, and so I didn't manage to better my time from the first run. We have to look at the situation for tomorrow now, I'm eighth on the grid and I have to be ready to fight at the start of the race. It will make for a difficult race, but I'm optimistic and I'm looking forward to it. We know our pace is good and we're working hard to be competitive tomorrow.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 9th, 1m 39.038s

“I'm pretty happy about the second day here in Argentina because we are improving session by session. We were also quite competitive in FP4 in terms of race pace. In qualifying I was a bit disappointed to have to go through Q1, but I tried to make a step forward in that session. We went through to Q2 as the top rider, and then did my level best to take ninth place again. I'm really happy about how the LCR Honda IDEMITSU team has worked, so a big thanks to them. Importantly for tomorrow it looks like the weather will be tricky, but we will try and do the best with what we get. If it's dry, I believe we can definitely fight for the top seven or eight, which is positive progress.”

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 12th, 1m 39.520s

“This morning we went very well and improved the setting of the bike even more. The circuit had more grip and I was riding well so I was able to set a strong time and finish eighth. Then unfortunately in qualifying the temperature increased and with some set-up changes I lost some feel on corner entry. This meant I couldn't repeat my time from the morning and is why I was starting 11th and now finally 12th after exceeding track limits. We will keep working to improve the setting and obtain more kilometers.”

Moto2

Xavi Vierge, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 1st, 1m 42.726s

“I'm really, really happy. It's my second pole position in a row in Argentina. I always feel so good at this track. I love it here. But yesterday was difficult. We started well, but then in the afternoon I made a mistake with the soft rear tire and I could not restart. In FP3 we worked really hard to recover from yesterday's mistake. We made good steps so we were ready for qualifying. Then qualifying was difficult. I struggled to find the good feelings I had in FP3, but honestly it seemed like everyone was struggling. I tried to stay focussed and be smooth to try to not spin the rear tire. In the end we did it. We had a good rhythm, and now we need to wait until tomorrow because someone has said it could rain. Anyway in both conditions we can do a good job and we need to try and enjoy the race.”

Marcel Schrötter, Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex: 2nd, 1m 42.737s

“I am really happy with qualifying. It has been a more complicated weekend so far. I was not able to stay with the lead, even though during the sessions I was together with the top guys. But at the end it was never enough for the front. This morning I also had a little crash that did cost us a lot of time. Nevertheless we still had the feeling in each session that we can do something good. The lap times and the section times were good. I gave it everything during the qualifying and I am quite happy with the first row on the grid.”

Sam Lowes, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: 3rd, 1m 42.738s

“I didn't use my time at the start and did my best lap in the end. I didn't have a good feeling and we maybe took a little bit of a wrong direction – my fault, because we made the wrong tire choice at the front. So yeah I shook my head not for the performance per se, but because we knew we could have taken pole position. Overall things went really good: we had an excellent FP3 so even though our grid position is not the best, the work done in the morning put us in a good condition for the race.”

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 19th, 1m 43.505s

“Today was qualifying and as usual I tried to do my best. At the beginning I tried to be with the front group but it was not possible, so I was a little bit behind. I am not 100 percent happy because I was so close to making it into Q2 but on my flying lap one rider in front of me closed the gas and I could not get the lap time I needed. Thanks for the hard work of my team, and for sure tomorrow I will fight until the last lap!”

Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 29th, 1m 44.690s

“Finally, we improved the lap time which was good. On my last flying lap, I made a mistake and I lost some time, if this didn't happen, I think my lap time could be better. The bike was really good, I felt very comfortable on it and I have to say thanks to my team because they worked very hard. I pushed too much and this was the problem. Tomorrow I have to stay calm, be concentrated and I will do my best.”

Moto3

Tony Arbolino, VNE Snipers: 3rd, 1m 49.122s

“I am really happy for this first row! When we started the session I was not 100 percent, but we did a modification and when I came back on track for the last laps I realized immediately it was the right choice. I was fast even in the previous laps but I knew I could improve. I gave my best at the last attempt and I did a great time.”

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 4th, 1m 49.128s

“I'm quite pleased with the 4th position and it has been a positive day. It is quite difficult to find other rider's slipstream in this track so we can't complain about our position. The beginning of the Q2 session has been tricky as nobody wanted to go out. At the end I've managed to do my lap and to start from the second row of the grid is positive. We will have to wait and see which kind of weather conditions we'll find, you never know. I want to take a little step forward tomorrow, but overall we are ready”.

Niccolo Antonelli, Sic58 Squadra Corse: 5th, 1m 49.160s

“I'm quite happy with today's qualifying. Fifth place is a good position to start from. I think it is going to be a competitive race where the final laps will be very important, so we will try and make a good strategy so that I will have enough performance in my tires to attack when it is most necessary.”

Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: 8th, 1m 49.301s

“Today I am not really happy even though the position was not bad. I was focussed on qualifying on the first or second row. I am ready to fight in the race; I can be with front group but the first lap will be the most important moment. I have to push to stay in the top positions. If I don't manage that, everything can be more difficult. I don't know what the pace will be tomorrow because nobody made a long distance run but I'm ready!”

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 15th, 1m 49.746s

“Compared with yesterday, today it was much better. Yesterday I was not comfortable, and today I improved my riding style and the bike. Alone I don't have pace but if I go with the group I can follow them. So for tomorrow I'm focussed on being in the group, to try and stay close to them, and I am sure I can do a good race and take some valuable points for the championship.”

More

Results

MotoGP World Championship 2019
Round 02: Argentina Qualifying

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
6 Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
7 Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
10 Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)
11 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)
13 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
15 Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)
16 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
17 Francesco BAGNAIA (Alma Pramac Racing)
18 Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
19 Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
20 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
21 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
22 Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
2 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
3 Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
4 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
5 Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)
6 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7 Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
8 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
9 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
10 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
11 Jorge NAVARRO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
12 Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
13 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
14 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
15 Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)
16 Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
17 Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
18 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
19 Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
20 Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)
21 Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
22 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
23 Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)
24 Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)
25 Khairul Idham PAWI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
26 Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)
27 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)
28 Jake DIXON (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
29 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
30 Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
31 Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
NC Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
2 Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
3 Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)
4 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
5 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
6 Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)
7 Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)
8 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
9 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
10 Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
11 John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
12 Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)
13 Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
14 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
15 Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
16 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
17 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
18 Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)
19 Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
20 Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
21 Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
22 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
23 Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
24 Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)
25 Aleix VIU (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)
26 Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
27 Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)
28 Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
29 Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)

Photos