Marc Marquez has seen off a challenge from Maverick Viñales to qualify on pole for the Argentina MotoGP by 0.154s.
The Repsol Honda rider was always favoured to secure first position on the grid although Viñales briefly held provisional pole at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit.
They will be joined on the front row by Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso while Valentino Rossi makes for two Monster Energy Yamaha entries in the top four.
Marquez sat on top of the timing screen after the first runs with a 1:38.767s before quickly returning to the pits to take up a two-stop strategy.
That did not quite go to plan when the Spaniard had a small moment at Turn 1 on his second run flyer and he pitted again without bothering to complete the lap.
Viñales switched from a hard compound front and soft rear tyre combination to soft-soft for his second run and, having been fifth fastest after the first runs, moved to first position with a 1:38.458s.
Marquez was bundled back several positions as the rest turned up the wick on their second runs before he reclaimed pole position in straightforward fashion with a 1:38.304s.
The world champion used one bike for the session after his other RC213V threw its chain off during Free Practice 4.
“The plan was to try to use three rear tyres, and the plan was another one, but then when we had the problem in FP4 then we were able only to use one bike in quali,” explained Marquez.
“With the second tyre, only I did a mistake at Turn 1 and I knew the time was very close to do another tyre, so I just go in, I cancel the lap, because it was not a good lap, and with the last tyre I felt better and I did the pole.”
Dovizioso came up 0.010s slower than Viñales, and Rossi 0.077s slower again.
Jack Miller will start fifth after a disappointing end to his session.
The Pramac Ducati rider had been as far as 0.404s down on the then-fastest lap during his second run, which should have seen him on the front row and perhaps challenging for pole, but dropped multiple tenths in the final sector.
Miller will have Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha) alongside him, while Row 3 is rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas SRT Yamaha), 2018 Argentina winner Cal Crutchlow (Castrol LCR Honda), and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda).
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) completes the top 10 while Jorge Lorenzo lost a position when his fastest time was stripped due to a breach of track limits entering the main straight.
The Repsol Honda rider therefore handed over 11th position to the lead KTM of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro.
Gresini Aprilia’s best was Aleix Espargaro in 13th while Team Suzuki Ecstar had a poor afternoon with Alex Rins 16th and Joan Mir 19th.
Race start for the 25-lap grand prix is on Monday at 0500 AEDT.
Qualifying: Argentina MotoGP
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:38.304|
|2||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:38.458||0.154 / 0.154|
|3||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||1:38.468||0.164 / 0.010|
|4||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:38.545||0.241 / 0.077|
|5||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:38.548||0.244 / 0.003|
|6||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:38.886||0.582 / 0.338|
|7||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:38.897||0.593 / 0.011|
|8||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1:38.955||0.651 / 0.058|
|9||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1:39.038||0.734 / 0.083|
|10||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||1:39.093||0.789 / 0.055|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:39.489||1.185 / 0.396|
|12||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:39.520||1.216 / 0.031|
|13||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:39.288||Q1 / Q1|
|14||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||1:39.298||Q1 / 0.010|
|15||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1:39.331||Q1 / 0.033|
|16||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:39.384||Q1 / 0.053|
|17||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:39.387||Q1 / 0.003|
|18||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:39.571||Q1 / 0.184|
|19||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:39.605||Q1 / 0.034|
|20||53||Tito RABAT||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1:39.978||Q1 / 0.373|
|21||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAS||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||1:40.053||Q1 / 0.075|
|22||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:40.118||Q1 / 0.065|