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MotoGP Argentina: Marquez bags pole as pit strategy pays off

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez seals pole position for the Argentina MotoGP by half-a-second from Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro as duo's spare bike qualifying ploy bears fruit
Marc Marquez grabbed pole position in Argentina to deny Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro the top spot at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit as the pair went head-to-head in final qualifying.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez and Espargaro – who topped both free practice sessions on Friday on the GSX-RR – both pitted to switch to their spare machines in order to gain a rare third qualifying attack with a third tyre and it paid off as the duo ended Q2 first and second quickest respectively, with MotoGP world champion Marquez's stunning lap in 1m 37.802s sending him clear by half-a-second at the head of the times.

Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was the early pacesetter on the factory YZR-M1 but was soon displaced by Marquez as Britain's Cal Crutchlow slotted into third on the CWM LCR Honda.

As the clock ticked down the top three remained the same with seven minutes of the session to run, with Aleix Espargaro fourth at this stage ahead of Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi on the second of the Movistar Yamahas.

Marquez and Espargaro ventured back out onto the circuit on their number one machines after switching from their spare bikes with the aim of benefitting from a third time attack.

Andrea Iannone made headway on the leaderboard on the Ducati GP15, moving into third ahead of Crutchlow as Lorenzo dropped back.

Marquez, though, was holding firm at the top and in the dying seconds the 22-year-old bettered his quickest time by 0.07s to cement his place in pole from Espargaro, with Iannone and Crutchlow holding station in third and fourth.

Lorenzo sealed a second row start in fifth ahead of Dovizioso, while Danilo Petrucci heads up row three on the Pramac Ducati from championship leader Rossi and rookie Maverick Vinales (Suzuki Ecstar).

Rossi was 1.088s down on Marquez's benchmark as the top eight were separated by only one second.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith, Scott Redding on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda and Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera were the top 10 in Q2, with Smith and Barbera progressing to the final qualifying shootout from Q1.

Northern Ireland's Eugene Laverty impressed on the Power Electronics Aspar Honda as he qualified 14th fastest and second leading Open class rider behind Barbera, lapping in 1m 39.434s.

Hiroshi Aoyama was 15th on the Repsol Honda as he replaces Dani Pedrosa for the final time as the Spaniard targets a comeback at Jerez, with Stefan Bradl 16th on the Forward Yamaha.

Pol Espargaro is languishing in 18th place on the second of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machines ahead of Gresini Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista, with Nicky Hayden back in 20th (Aspar Honda), one place ahead of championship newcomer Jack Miller (CWM LCR Honda).

1. Marc Marquez
2. Aleix Espargaro
3. Andrea Iannone
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Jorge Lorenzo
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Danilo Petrucci
8. Valentino Rossi
9. Maverick Viñales
10. Bradley Smith
11. Scott Redding
12. Hector Barbera

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Aleix Espargaro, Marquez, Iannone, Argentine MotoGP 2015
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Smith Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Barbera, Bradl Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Hayden, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016

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April 18, 2015 8:06 PM

Yes it's looking like Marquez will dominate tomorrow.The interesting thing will to see how the Suzukis and Ducatis do with that softer tyre. Right now looks like this track is not so good for Ducatis but very good for Suzuki so they seem to be kind of even in pace. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

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