2018 Austin MotoGP Qualifying Result: If It’s Too Easy, Build Yourself A Challenge *UPDATED*

Six races, six poles and the run is looking rosy. It will be no news who I’m talking about. Marc Marquez fired in the only 2:03 time of the weekend to ensure another timekeeping souvenir from his favourite circuit. Of course it was not without the obligatory scares along the way. On his way to blitz the timesheets on his first run, the Repsol rider lost it in turn 13 and gave the field a flicker of a hope that he could be beaten on his personal playground but he got back on his second horse and consolidated his lead.

Maverick Viñales gave it a good go after stumbling across the world champion on his first run, only briefly sneaking ahead of the Sheriff and ending up second best, four tenths down and with his first front row start of the season in the bag. Andrea Iannone watched the master at work and also grabbed a front row start in the process, ensuring that Marquez is surrounded but the men who look most likely to bring the fight to him on Sunday.

Johann Zarco was not the most consistent throughout the weekend but he was there when it mattered and missed out on  third position by only a thousandth of a second. Instead, the Frenchman will be sharing the second row of the grid with his pal Valentino Rossi. Jorge Lorenzo had the honour of being lead Ducati in sixth grid spot, not only ahead of his teammate but doing so by nearly eight tenths of a second.

The championship leader will start the rodeo from seventh on the grid, Cal Crutchlow qualifying ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and a truly heroic showing from Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard fighting his way through the pain barrier to a third row start.

Danilo Petrucci only just survived the Q1 battle to open the fourth row of the grid, with Alex Rins perhaps a little disappointed by eleventh position. Behind them, Pol Espargaro drastically turned it around to find a second on his previous best time of the weekend to be top dog in Q1. He couldn't quite replicate that performance in Q2 but the KTM man will still start the race in a reasonable twelfth position.

Finally, a quick mention to Takaaki Nakagami, who was two tenths away from making it out of a fierce Q1 and scored a deserved 13th grid position, his best qualifying in the class yet.

UPDATE: Marc Marquez received a three place grid penalty after impeding Maverick Viñales, which means he will start fourth and Johann Zarco is promoted to the front row of the grid. Similarly, Pol Espargaro was also sanctioned three positions and will start 15th, behind his teammate.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 2'03.658    
2 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 2'04.064 0.406 0.406
3 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 2'04.209 0.551 0.145
4 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 2'04.210 0.552 0.001
5 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 2'04.229 0.571 0.019
6 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 2'04.294 0.636 0.065
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 2'04.456 0.798 0.162
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 2'04.865 1.207 0.409
9 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 2'04.963 1.305 0.098
10 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 2'05.058 1.400 0.095
11 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 2'05.260 1.602 0.202
12 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 2'05.829 2.171 0.569
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 2'05.169    
Q2 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 2'05.245 0.076 0.076
13 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 2'05.457 0.288 0.212
14 53 Tito RABAT Ducati 2'05.686 0.517 0.229
15 38 Bradley SMITH KTM 2'05.761 0.592 0.075
16 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 2'05.873 0.704 0.112
17 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda 2'05.943 0.774 0.070
18 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 2'05.966 0.797 0.023
19 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 2'06.035 0.866 0.069
20 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 2'06.222 1.053 0.187
21 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 2'06.296 1.127 0.074
22 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 2'06.370 1.201 0.074
23 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 2'06.537 1.368 0.167
24 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati 2'06.726 1.557 0.189
Round Number: 
Tweet Button: 

Back to top


Apparently Marquez got in the way of Vinales during a very hot fast Q lap and Race Direction has it under investigation right now.

Iannone lap onboard, not sure which lap but fast. Kudos to Suzuki and Prince Shiny Balls. Note, you can hear the motor and see his butt bounce off the seat over some of the big bumps. A few are in spots that could affect the racing. Nice view of track conditions.


Very unique crash-save-crash from Marquez, albeit a slightly shoddy video format. This is so uniquely Marc. Have you EVER seen a rider and bike make this sort of smoking elbows then pirouette the other direction around the FRONT?! He is really dynamically nailing the balance of the bike, and pushing fantastically.


Yamaha and their electronics is the news of the day for me. Hooray! Keep it up folks! Dovisioso, dig deep my friend.

v Una e due stelle? Lascia andare la guerra. È un triste e formaggio preoccupazione che ti lascia perdere la bellezza di MotoGP!

Y no dejes que mi alabanza a la habilidad de un jinete conduzca a creer que soy un fan particular...su hijo realmente ha estado necesitando una lección de nuevo últimamente.

En tant que fan de MotoGP en général, dernièrement ma passion est avec Tech3, un vélo client âgé de deux ans, et Zarco. J'adorerais Dovisioso en Rouge pour prendre le championnat, encore plus maintenant étant donné la vieille merde dramatique italo-espagnole 46-93.


Race directions punishment for Marquez was to put him on the grid right next to Rossi?

Sounds like a plan for entertainment?

Thus slotting him in next to Rossi; what could go wrong..?

I was missing some good stand-up comedy but thank god i found Race Direction!  What a brilliant joke that penalty....

They are trying to make it up for all the worst possible decisions they made not later than 15 days ago and now suddenly they discover there are rules?   They probably think that this exxagerated decision will wash their past incompetence?  In my book this makes them evem more incompetent. 

Absolutely ridicolous!

..impeding traffic, especially in the lower classes. Tom Luthi's fast lap definitely got scuttled by Pol as well, hence his grid drop. That being said, it's reasonable to think Marquez wouldn't have been penalized had last week never happened. 

Regardless, now Dorna gets their wish for more potential on/off-track drama with 93 and 46 lining up next to each other for tomorrow's race.

Absolutely right, IMO. If they didn't penalize Marquez, they would have looked soft on him, which they can't afford to do right now. Given his status as world champion and golden boy, as well as his recent history of incidents, not penalizing him would appear to be favoritism, and would lend credence to Rossi's criticism that he is "ruining the sport." It was the right move, I think. They have to show him that they mean business, but at the same time, they have to be even handed, otherwise they risk being criticized for singling him out, hence Pol also got penalized. Honestly, I think race direction has mostly done a good job. The only thing I would have done differently, had I the power, would have been to black flag Marc during the Argentina race as soon as he punted Rossi off the track.

As if Marquez and Rossi are going to encounter each other at any point during the race after turn 1...

Vinales looks good.


Marquez’ closing comment on the incident with Vignales: ‘But okay, I only lose four metres on the grid. I still got the fastest lap time and the [pole] award’

Apart from what could have been a pole lap for Vignales (but thats hard to tell anyway) he just does not fully comprehend the situation he is in.

Instead of realizing he endangered yet another rider, (only after a stern safety meeting a couple of days ago) he rounds up the interview saying he’s happy to have the fastest lap time and pole award. He is on a slippery slope with a banking angle that will inevitably end up in something very painful, very soon.