Five out of six makes good reading for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the reigning Champion took a fifth pole at Termas de Rio Hondo on Saturday, setting himself up for a charge at another victory at the track. But there’s more than a couple of riders well within the number 93’s postcode, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) just 0.164 back in P2 and Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) only another 0.010 further off – a tantalising prospect for lights out at Round 2.
It’s not just the front row in the spotlight, however. Plenty of eyes will be on the second row as 2015 Argentina GP winner Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) lines up fourth and directly behind Marquez, with 2018 polesitter and top Independent Team rider Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) keeping the ‘Doctor’ more than a little honest in fifth. From Marquez to Miller the grid is covered by just 0.244.
The tiny margins continue in sixth and seventh, too. Sophomore Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took P6 and his best ever premier class qualifying position to lock out Row 2, with rookie teammate Fabio Quartararo once again the fastest debutant on the grid and just point blank fast. The Frenchman was only 0.011 off Morbidelli, and will be hoping to avoid his dramatic start to the Qatar GP. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) took P8 and he’s aiming for the podium having won from P10 on the grid last season, with the British rider joined by teammate and Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) on Row 3.
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) completes a top ten covered by 0.789 at Termas de Rio Hondo, with Q1 graduate Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) starting from P11. That was after Jorge Lorenzo’s (Repsol Honda Team) fastest lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits – the five-time World Champion will start from 12th, nevertheless a solid Saturday as he continues both his adaptation to the Honda and his recovery from injury.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) starts P13 ahead of another impressive performance from Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rookie Miguel Oliveira who will likely fancy his chances at some good points, with Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) putting in a solid showing in P15.
A major shock in Q1, however, was 2018 Argentina GP podium finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The Spaniard’s success at the track last year was his first rostrum in the premier class but in 2019 he’ll line up in P16. Can he mount a comeback from there? Sunday will reveal all…
It’s a good looking grid after qualifying at Termas and the race looks sure to be a stunner. That’s even before we mention the weather that could well mix everything up again…Don’t miss any of the action from Argentina, lights go out for the premier class at 15:00 local time (GMT-3).
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