It wasn’t just the asphalt that was sizzling in Texas, it was also the fight for pole position in the premier class and for a while it looked like the Sheriff was back in town, with Marc Marquez keeping provisional pole warm after the first run in Q2. The Honda man was looser than ever around his favourite lumpy playground but eventually had to concede his pole record and allow Pecco Bagnaia to score a very impressive third consecutive pole position. The championship battle should be just as fiery, as Fabio Quartararo will be starting closely behind his title rival, the Frenchman three tenths off pole and eight hundredths of a second quicker than Marquez, who was happy enough with his first front row of the season.
The Pramac Ducati machines of Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco sandwich the LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami on the second row of the grid, leaving the Suzukis to populate third row. While Alex Rins had an easier mission after going straight to Q2, teammate Joan Mir had to fight through a competitive Q1 session and came out second best to Luca Marini. The rookie might have started the day with a crash at turn 2 but ended it ninth on the grid, with a helpful reference from the friendly poleman on his way there.
If there was joy in one side of the Ducati garage, there was a face like thunder in the other one, where Jack Miller failed to replicate the excellent speed he showed in practice and ended up 10th on the grid and almost a second slower than his teammate. Brad Binder and Pol Espargaro will keep him company on row four, while the returning Italian duo of Franco Morbidelli and Andrea Dovizioso open row five ahead of Alex Marquez, with Enea Bastianini 16th and overshadowed by his teammate this time around. The unluckiest victims of Q1 proved to be Miguel Oliveira, Aleix Espargaro and Valentino Rossi, all three riders adding a crash to their tally and ending up 18th, 19th and 20th on the grid.