Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had a more muted #QatarGP after a wrong tyre choice – crossing the line in P4 – but the reigning Champion struck straight back in Argentina as he reigned supreme in the rain of qualifying to take his first pole of the year, his fourth at the venue.
The rider from Cervera was almost eight tenths clear of Karel Abraham’s (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) heroics in P2, and is ready to race on Sunday – with T2 a point to concentrate on in what the number 93 hopes will be a dry and useful Warm Up.
Marc Marquez, P1: “Today even being on pole, I hoped for a dry session because we still need to work on the bike and the setup. But since FP4 I’ve felt really good on the bike and the rhythm was good. I just stayed out to understand this new character engine in wet conditions because I didn’t ride it yet. We just changed the setup a bit for the wet and the laptime was really good. But the race looks dry and we still need to improve some things – and make the right choice on the tyres, front and rear. I hope Warm Up is dry so we have time to try more settings, but overall the feeling is not so bad and the performance is ok. I’m losing a lot in Turn 2 – but we can improve the setup, and I can improve my riding style. Apart from that on the rest of the track I feel competitive.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crashed out in Qatar and came to Argentina looking for a little redemption – taking a big step towards it as he capitalized on conditions in Q2 to take an impressive front row start. Lamenting an imperfect lap but satisfied at having done a good job with his team, the 2016 Brno and Phillip Island winner used FP3 improvements as a good springboard for the rest of the day.
With the rain then hitting after that session, the Brit kept calm and carried on to get the most out of his signature wet pace – but thinks he also has top five pace in the dry.
Cal Crutchlow, P3: “It wasn’t easy but we managed as a team to do a good job, I think we managed the situation well, in FP3 too. It looked like it was going to rain so we had a few things to try. It was good to try the new engine in the rain and it was quite good. Qualifying wasn’t perfect – I probably could have done with going through Q1 to get more track time! I made a few small mistakes in the lap and I didn’t have the best feeling with the engine braking. But I think we all hope for a dry race tomorrow – we probably don’t have the pace to be top three in the dry at the moment, but probably the top five.”
Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) impressed on Friday, and the Czech rider did it again in some style as he took an awesome P2 in Q2 for his best ever qualifying result.
Riding the GP15 Ducati, the former Moto2™ race winner kept calm under pressure and put himself and the Pull&Bear Aspar squad in the best position for Sunday’s race – as well as taking the top Independent Team honours in a fully-packed Q2.
Karel Abraham, P2: “This feels amazing, it feels just great. The conditions today have been really bad since this morning but I really enjoyed qualifying. I love this circuit, which helped, and yesterday we made a strong start. I knew it would be difficult for us to prove that we could stay at the top today and tomorrow it will be even harder but our targets have not changed. We know what we want and what we need to achieve and we will work for that. This result puts us at a great advantage for tomorrow’s race.”
VR46 has “better understanding and improved setting” Some positives despite a P7 start for the ‘Doctor’ in a damp Q2
After joining pacesetter Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in graduation from Q1, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) moved even further forward in Q2 and will line up for the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina in seventh – less than a tenth off teammate Maverick Viñales.
Having struggled in the dry, Rossi found the wet conditions an interesting comparison as he looks for solutions to some problems that have plagued him in practice and testing – now hoping for a full wet or full dry race on Sunday, with work still to do.
Valentino Rossi, P7: “This is P7, it‘s nothing fantastic because in the wet I wasn‘t able to go fast like I was last year. We still have to work, but anyway this third row is not so bad and now we have to wait to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow. We hope for either full dry or full wet. We have a better understanding and improved the setting today and on the first exit I wasn‘t so bad, but we still have to work. It‘s interesting, there‘s a different feeling in the corner entry that I have on the new bike, and it is the same also on the wet. Sometimes the wet is interesting to understand and it‘s good to improve the balance and the setting.”