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MotoGP Round 3 – Shock and Awe in Argentina Qualifying

Today’s qualifying event for the Argentine race was full of surprises.   Least among them was another pole position for defending 2014 world champion Marc Marquez.  But his time was.  The leader of the factory Respol Honda team lapped a ful half second quicker than the next quickest man.

And that man was perhaps the biggest shocker of them all.

Aleix Espargaro, in only his second year in MotoGP, placed his brand new Suzuki GSX-RR on the front row ahead of Ducati star Andrea Iannone.  Team Suzuki has been absent from the top tier of motorcycle road racing for many years, having last been competitive nearly a decade ago.  In case there was any doubt about Espargaro’s performance being a fluke, he dominated free practice yesterday, while his teammate and MotoGP rookie Maverick Viñales placed  9th on the grid, just behind a furious Valentino Rossi.

“I am very upset for the qualifying because I feel I could do better,” Rossi, the current championship points leader, said.  “The normal tyre is too soft…” confirming that his factory Yamaha, as in Austin last weekend, is chewing up tires.

Aleix Esparago Delivers on the new Suzuki GSX-RR.  Photo : Crash.net
Aleix Esparago Delivers on the new Suzuki GSX-RR. Photo : Crash.net

With Suzuki clearly delivering speed, it remains to be seen if the GSX-RR can maintain that speed reliably over complete race distance.  Ducati’s return to the front is now a foregone conclusion, after much debate in the preseason cast doubts.  Andrea Dovizioso, currently second in the world championship points standing, starts the race tomorrow in 6th.

The G.P. de la República Argentina begins tomorrow.

1 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’37.802
2 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’38.316 0.514 / 0.514
3 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.467 0.665 / 0.151
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW CWM LCR Honda Honda 1’38.485 0.683 / 0.018
5 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’38.485 0.683
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.520 0.718 / 0.035
7 Danilo PETRUCCI Pramac Racing Ducati 1’38.786 0.984 / 0.266
8 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’38.890 1.088 / 0.104
9 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’39.187 1.385 / 0.297
10 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’39.197 1.395 / 0.010
11 Scott REDDING EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’39.380 1.578 / 0.183
12 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing Ducati 1’40.526 2.724 / 1.146
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ Pramac Racing Ducati 1’39.405 0.449 / 0.085
14 Eugene LAVERTY Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 1’39.434 0.478 / 0.029
15 Hiroshi AOYAMA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’39.715 0.759 / 0.281
16 Stefan BRADL Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 1’39.734 0.778 / 0.019
17 Karel ABRAHAM AB Motoracing Honda 1’39.758 0.802 / 0.024
18 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’39.808 0.852 / 0.050
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1’39.828 0.872 / 0.020
20 Nicky HAYDEN Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 1’39.876 0.920 / 0.048
21 Jack MILLER CWM LCR Honda Honda 1’39.888 0.932 / 0.012
22 Loris BAZ Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 1’39.972 1.016 / 0.084
23 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia Racing Ducati 1’40.133 1.177 / 0.161
24 Marco MELANDRI Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1’40.403 1.447 / 0.270
15 Alex DE ANGELIS Octo IodaRacing Team ART 1’40.485 1.529 / 0.082

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