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Americas GP: Bagnaia grabs pole hat-trick

Francesco Bagnaia

Bengaluru, October 3: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) will start from pole position at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas after setting a blistering 2:02.781 in Austin.

Pecco becomes the first Italian to claim three MotoGP poles in a row since Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in 2009, and Bagnaia will start alongside 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship leader and rival Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP).

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) qualifies off pole position at COTA for the first time, but it's a first front row of the season for the eight-time World Champion in third.

'Captain America' Marquez sets the pace in Austin'Captain America' Marquez sets the pace in Austin

Jorge Martin will lead the second row from Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco, with the two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders lining up P7 and P8 on Row 3 - Alex Rins beating team-mate Joan Mir by 0.075s.

Luca Marini's P9 is his second best qualifying result of the year, a fantastic job done by the Italian in Austin so far this weekend, with a very disappointed Jack Miller having to settle for P10.

The Australian's Q2 didn't go to plan at all, and Miller has plenty of work to do on Sunday after showing superior pace up to this point.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) will line up P11 and P12 for the GP of The Americas.

A crucial MotoGP battle awaits in Texas, one that could - and probably will - have huge bearings on the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship outcome.

It's lights out at 2pm local time (Monday, October 4, 12.30am IST) in Austin, you don't want to miss an ounce of the action!

TOP 10 QUALIFIERS

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - 2:02.781
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.348
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.428
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.497
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.511
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.598
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.672
8. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.747
9. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) + 0.765
10. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.939

Proper crack

Proper crack

Pecco was giving it a proper crack. The Italian was 0.295s under Marquez' lap halfway around COTA's 5.5km layout, and at the third split, he was 0.4sec under.

Crossing the line, Bagnaia launched to provisional pole position and soon after, Quartararo slotted into P2 - 0.3s off his rival. Marquez was unable to improve his lap time, the number 93 could do no better than P3, with Miller encountering issues on his second run.

Plenty good

Plenty good

Attentions turned to Quartararo though, who had crossed the line in time to get another lap under his belt.

A red first sector time was followed by two personal best sectors, however, the Frenchman was unable to improve. Nevertheless, P2 for Quartararo is plenty good enough all things considered.

Can Marquez reign?

Can Marquez reign?

The stage is perfectly set after qualifying.. the top two in the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship and the King of COTA head up the grid, with another horsepower rodeo just around the corner.

Can Marquez make it seven from eight?

Martin in the mix

Martin in the mix

Martin (Pramac Racing), who had been behind Marquez when the Honda rider was on for provisional pole, stayed there so he will now head up Row 2 - as top Independent Team rider too.

Can Bagnaia become the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner to win three on the bounce? Or will Quartararo take Yamaha's first win in Texas? Find out on Sunday.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Sunday, October 3, 2021, 18:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 3, 2021