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MotoGP Austin: Martin takes pole as Ducati dominate at COTA

Ducati power was on full display at the Circuit of the Americas as Jorge Martin stole MotoGP pole position from the factory riders.

The Pramac rider’s 2’02.039 sealed the deal after a Q1 fight with Lenovo teammates Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia joining him in Parc Ferme for the front row celebrations. Just over a tenth covered the hard-charging trio with Desmosedici’s locking out the entirety of the top five.

The hunt to control the COTA grid began with last week’s podium sitters Aleix Espargaro, Martin and Alex Rins battling for promotion through Q1. The second Aprilia of Maverick Viñales joining the fight alongside KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli and Andrea Dovizioso to showcase the depth of the current MotoGP field.


Darryn Binder’s afternoon got off to the worst start as he crashed out at turn three for his third crash of the weekend on the WithU RNF Yamaha. Rins hitting the top two-tenths clear from Espargaro with Morbidelli and Vinales behind as the opening laps came in.

Martin was the next to strike with a 2’02.4 as yellow flags came back out after Remy Gardner lost the Tech3 KTM at the final corner. Viñales and Alex Marquez yet to set a time at the halfway stage alongside the two fallers.

Espargaro’s hopes disappeared in the dust with three minutes on the clock as turn eight caught the recent winner out. Martin bailing out of a lap with a train of four riders in his wake as the clock counted down.

Viñales claimed fourth on his penultimate lap, six-tenths shy of the Pramac man’s target with a 2’03.1, his final effort failing to better as he joined his Aprilia teammate on the head of row five for Sunday’s race. Martin and Rins advancing through to the final shootout with Brad Binder setting the fastest KTM pace, in seventh.

The Ducatis were in charge as the Q2 action fired up. Miller demoting Bagnaia from provisional pole with a 2’02.327, just 0.008s apart, and Martin immediately up to third from his Q1 fight. Enea Bastianini suffered opposing fates as he crashed out on his initial hot lap with Fabio Quartararo doing likewise at turn 18 next time around.

Marc Marquez had been looking for a tow at the halfway stage before returning to the box. The Repsol rider sitting sixth behind a regrouped Bastianini and Rins, with Quartararo behind in standings and back at the garage for the final run.

Bagnaia upped the ante with a 2’02.167 before his teammate answered 0.125s faster. Martin on a red sector run as the clock counted down stealing the Australian’s thunder by the tiniest 0.003s margin. Johann Zarco completed the Ducati set as he promoted the Pramac to fourth with Bastianini fifth. Quartarao rounded out the second row ahead of the Suzuki’s of Rins and Joan Mir with Marquez starting ninth. Takaaki Nakagami, Luca Marini and Pol Espargaro completed the top 12.

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