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.
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|