Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Vinales on pole after Marquez penalty

Cal Crutchlow The first time for nearly four decades that a Brit has led the pack Credit Mirco Lazzari
Melinda Barton | 22 April, 2018, 23:34

Two-time defending world champion Marc Marquez won his sixth consecutive MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday despite being dropped from pole position to fourth on the starting grid by a qualifying penalty.

Marquez predictably led the opening runs at the Austin, Texas track with a best lap of 2m04.134s, giving himself a 0.394s buffer over nearest challenger Valentino Rossi.

However, Marquez was put under investigation for an incident that occurred during the session with second-fastest Maverick Vinales.

And qualifying is set to get underway on Saturday.

However, Iannone ran wide on the exit of the corner and allowed Marquez to pounce straight back, with the Honda rider immediately putting two seconds between himself and the rest of the field. "I went out, and unfortunately I didn't expect Maverick [Vinales] to arrive behind me because I was focused on Andrea [Iannone], who was waiting ahead and who I knew could be very fast".

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) - another man who has been key competition for Marquez in practice - took third. I apologized to Maverick but I didn't realize he was behind me until I heard his engine.

The history books will still record Marquez as scoring the 46th pole position of his MotoGP career - and his ideal streak of six poles at the Circuit of The Americas technically remains intact - but he will start this year's race from fourth place.

Marquez said tire choice and conditions will be critical. "We'll try and remain fully concentrated".

Poleman Vinales reeled in Iannone by lap six, and scythed through to take second away from him at the start of the seventh tour. "Tomorrow will be a hard race". "I didn't have confidence to battle".