Lap record for Bagnaia Sprint pole
By Kyle White
Sunday 16th April, 2023 - 4:00am
Francesco Bagnaia set the fastest ever lap around the Circuit of the Americas to deny Alex Rins and LCR Honda a sensational MotoGP pole in Texas.
In a dramatic Qualifying 2, Bagnaia recorded the first-ever sub 2:02 lap with a blistering time of 2:o1.894s on the Lenovo Ducati on his final lap with no time left on the clock.
Spaniard Rins had moved into provisional pole beforehand with a stunning effort on the LCR Honda, and appeared on course to head up the front row of the grid until reigning champion Bagnaia pulled something special out of the bag.
Rins was only 0.160s slower in second position and will be targeting a big result at a track where Honda has been dominant over the years in the hands of the absent Marc Marquez, who has won the American Grand Prix a record seven times.
Luca Marini completed the front row on the VR46 Ducati, just under three tenths down on Bagnaia’s time.
Italian Bagnaia was fast out of the traps and moved to the top of the timesheets before Alex Marquez incredibly set an identical time on the Gresini Ducati.
Ahead of their final runs, the joint provisional pole men engaged in a game of cat and mouse, with Marquez trying to position himself to gain a tow from Bagnaia.
Rins took full advantage and crept under the radar to grab pole on the satellite Honda, but Bagnaia managed to squeeze in one final attack after crossing the line with seconds to spare, putting together a perfect lap on the factory Desmosedici to break Rins’ and Honda’s hearts.
Marquez held onto fourth despite a fast crash at the end and is joined on row two by Argentina winner and championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) – who progressed from Qualifying 1 – and Aleix Espargaro on the factory Aprilia. The top six were covered by six tenths of a second.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) – fastest in Qualifying 1 – round out the third row.
Aussie Jack Miller qualified tenth after crashing twice in Qualifying 2, making it five spills so far this weekend for the Red Bull KTM rider. Teammate Brad Binder was 11th quickest.
Friday pacesetter Jorge Martin was 12th after going down twice on the Pramac Ducati, one place ahead of Repsol Honda’s Joan Mir.
Franco Morbidelli has plenty of work to do on the second of the factory Yamaha machines from 14th on the grid, while the returning Miguel Oliveria – out of action since he was torpedoed by Marc Marquez in Portugal – was 15th on the RNF Aprilia.
Test rider Michele Pirro, who is standing in for the injured Enea Bastianini – last year’s winner in Texas – in the factory Ducati team, was 18th.
HRC test rider Stefan Bradl, riding the Repsol Honda after Marc Marquez was ruled out due to the right hand injury he sustained in the season-opener in Portugal, lines up in 21st with Jonas Folger – a replacement for the injured Pol Espargaro on the GASGAS Tech 3 KTM – in 22nd and last. KTM test rider Folger is competing in his first MotoGP race since 2017.
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