until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


COTA qualifying: Acosta stars, Vinales dominates, Martin crashes

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Aprilia rider Maverick Vinales dominated MotoGP qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas, as championship leader Jorge Martin compromised his grid position by crashing twice.

Vinales was instead joined on the front row by rookie Pedro Acosta (Tech3 Gas Gas) and COTA specialist Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati).

Martin was on course to take the early provisional pole - and had Marquez right behind using him as a reference - when he had a very slow crash coming on to the back straight.

It was minor enough for him to not only remount his Desmosedici but string together most of a decently competitive lap next time around, but he then lost the rear coming out of the third part of the triple right-hander in the final sector.

Again, it was a minor crash, and this time Martin sprinted over to a golf cart, receiving a lift back to the pits with plenty of time on the clock to still salvage something with a spare bike.

While Martin was having his dramas, fellow Friday standout Vinales had taken provisional pole - and once out for his second lap the Aprilia rider delivered a stunning 2m00.864s lap, which proved well out of reach for the opposition.

Acosta capitalised on Martin's dramas, too, as he placed a phenomenal second on the best of the KTM RC16s - with none of his fellow KTM riders in the top 10.

Marquez failed to improve on his second run after a competitive early offering, but still secured a place on the front row, a tenth up on reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia.

Enea Bastianini and Martin will join Bagnaia on an all-Ducati GP24 row two, Martin only managing to lap 0.647s off Vinales' new record after swapping bikes.

A fast Turn 2 crash for Aleix Espargaro ended his Q2 early but still left him seventh, followed by VR46 Ducati's Fabio Di Giannantonio and Pramac Ducati's Franco Morbidelli.

Row four was headed by another late-Q2 crasher in Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati), followed by Jack Miller and Alex Marquez, who made their way through Q1 but didn't get real competitive laps on the board in the pole shootout.

MotoGP's new team Trackhouse will start its first home grand prix (and first home sprint) with its bikes at the head of row five, with Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira missing the cut for Q2 by two tenths and three tenths respectively.

COTA specialist Alex Rins, who won the Grand Prix of the Americas for LCR Honda last year, was the top Yamaha but down in 15th, followed by team-mate Fabio Quartararo - who crashed at Turn 1 on his final push.

Brad Binder was the other crasher in Q1, his miserable COTA weekend continuing. He remounted his damaged KTM after that and brought it back to the pits, the hobbled RC16 shedding aero parts on the back straight, and then couldn't make a real push for Q2 on his second run.

He wound up 17th on the grid, and will have Quartararo and Tech3 Gas Gas rider Augusto Fernandez either side of him on row six.

While Yamaha at least managed to get itself in the mix with the European bikes in qualifying, Honda was cut adrift again.

Rins' LCR replacement Johann Zarco was the best of the Honda quartet for a third straight qualifying - but, for a second straight time, this was only good enough for 19th.

Qualifying Results

1Maverick ViñalesAprilia2m00.864s
2Pedro AcostaKTM2m01.192s
3Marc MarquezDucati2m01.266s
4Francesco BagnaiaDucati2m01.352s
5Enea BastianiniDucati2m01.439s
6Jorge MartinDucati2m01.511s
7Aleix EspargaróAprilia2m01.562s
8Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati2m01.667s
9Franco MorbidelliDucati2m01.737s
10Marco BezzecchiDucati2m02.279s
11Jack MillerKTM2m01.541s2m02.297s
12Alex MarquezDucati2m01.553s
13Raul FernandezAprilia2m01.726s
14Miguel OliveiraAprilia2m01.844s
15Alex RinsYamaha2m01.893s
16Fabio QuartararoYamaha2m02.089s
17Brad BinderKTM2m02.140s
18Augusto FernandezKTM2m02.223s
19Johann ZarcoHonda2m02.380s
20Joan MirHonda2m02.829s
21Takaaki NakagamiHonda2m03.114s
22Luca MariniHonda2m03.249s
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks