The MotoGP riders took to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for their qualifying session on Saturday, April 15th, and it was a battle for pole position between two familiar faces: reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and his closest rival, LCR Honda’s Alex Rins. In the end, it was Bagnaia who emerged victorious, with a stunning lap time of 2:05.982.
Bagnaia, who rides for the Ducati Lenovo team, had been fast throughout the weekend, setting the pace in the practice sessions. In qualifying, he was able to put together a near-perfect lap, with his Ducati machine proving to be the fastest on track.
Rins, who had topped the timesheets in the third practice session, had to settle for second on the grid, finishing just 0.254 seconds behind Bagnaia. The Italian rider will no doubt be disappointed not to have claimed pole position, but he will still be a strong contender for the win in Sunday’s race.
Third on the grid went to Mooney VR46 Racing Teams’ Luca Marini, who put in a strong performance to finish just over three-tenths of a second behind Bagnaia. Marini had struggled in the practice sessions, but he was able to find his rhythm in qualifying and will be hoping to convert his grid position into a strong result in the race.
Other notable performances in qualifying included fourth-placed Alex Marquez, who rode his Ducati to a time of 2:06.673, and fifth-placed Marco Bezzecchi, who put in a strong showing on his Ducati.
With the top five riders on the grid separated by less than a second, Sunday’s MotoGP race at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas promises to be an exciting and closely-fought affair.