Texas Review
MotoGP qualifying at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at the Circuits of The Americas in Austin, Texas on April 9, 2022. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Jorge Martin’s (Pramac Racing) stunning Saturday afternoon form continued at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, with the Spaniard coming through Q1 to claim a sensational second pole position of the season. It’s four front row starts in a row for Martin too, with the Spaniard beating Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) by just 0.003s this time around. The 2:02.039 the Pramac rider set is also a new all-time lap record.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) claimed P3 to make it a Ducati triple threat on the front row and, just behind, two more Ducatis line up P4 and P5, making it the first ever front five lockout for the factory, and the first for a single manufacturer since Honda in 2003 at Motegi.

Q1 was, as we’re used to seeing given the sheer competitiveness of the class, a star-studded affair. World Championship leader Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Viñales fancied their chances of progressing, but so did Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Martin and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP).

Rins was the early pacesetter, the Suzuki rider putting in a 2:02.723 as the benchmark. Martin soon took over at the summit with eight minutes to go though, which saw Aleix Espargaro kicked out of the all-important top two. Then, chasing a time on his second run, the number 41 was down. Hopes of a Q2 place were gone for the Spaniard and the best he could hope for was a P13 grid slot. Luckily, P3 in the session and P13 on the grid was where he stayed, as Martin and Rins progressed and no one else could leapfrog.

Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team), chasing big brother Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), crashed at Turn 3 unhurt in the early stages.

Q2 then got underway and it was Miller who was the early pacesetter, with fellow Ducati rider Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) off to a tougher start as he crashed at Turn 15. The Italian was able to pick his GP21 straight back up though, and immediately set off chasing a pole position lap time – no damage done.

Then, another crash. This time it was Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) at the penultimate corner. Rider ok and 100m Olympic sprint mode activated, but it was now a race against time for the Frenchman who was provisional P7. After that and at the end of the first set of runs, Miller was leading Bagnaia by 0.008s, with Martin and Bastianini making it a Ducati 1-2-3-4. Quartararo managed to make his way back to the garage with just over four minutes to go though and straight away, the number 20 was back on track on his second YZR-M1.

Pecco came out of the blocks flying on his second fresh soft rear tyre. 0.140s was his advantage through the third split and by the line, the number 63 went top by 0.160s over teammate Miller. The latter, though, was also setting red sector times. Through the third split, Miller was 0.236s up on Pecco’s effort and sure enough, the Australian returned to P1.

Then, there was another Ducati rider lighting up the timing screens – Martin. The qualifying specialist lost time in the third split but a wonderful fourth sector saw Martin pip Miller by the slimmest of margins: just 0.003s. Was there anyone else challenging? Not by the looks of it. Quartararo was struggling to respond, seven-time Texas winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had a quiet session pushed down to P9 and Rins and 2020 Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) jumped up to P7 and P8.

In the end, Martin’s 0.003s advantage was enough to take it, with Miler and Pecco joining him on the front row. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Bastianini, in P4 and P5, made it a historic Ducati demolition on Saturday in Texas.

The Grid
Behind the five Ducatis is Quartararo lining up in P6. How much did that crash affect the reigning World Champion’s pole position hunt? He'll want more on Sunday. Rins and Mir head up the third row ahead of Marc Marquez, the eight-time World Champion under the radar so far. Fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) rounded out the top 10 to equal his best of the season so far, with Argentina front row hero Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and an under the weather Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) just behind, set to launch from P11 and P12 respectively. (Source: MotoGP)

Grand Prix motorcycle racing is the oldest established motorsport world championship and the premier class of motorcycle road racing events held on road circuits sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). Grand Prix motorcycles are purpose-built racing machines that are unavailable for purchase by the general public and unable to be ridden legally on public roads. The championship is currently divided into four classes: the eponymous MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and MotoE.

Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is the premier destination for world-class motorsports and entertainment in the United States. Just outside downtown Austin, Circuit of The Americas has hosted the biggest names in racing, action sports and music. At its heart is a 3.41-mile racetrack that was designed to challenge the world's most exacting competitors while providing a thrilling spectacle for audiences.

The 20-turn, counterclockwise circuit takes advantage of the naturally undulating landscape, including an intimidating 133-foot hill at Turn 1. It has hosted the Formula 1 United States Grand Pix, MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, ESPN's X Games, the FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and more. Nestled within the track is Germania Insurance Amphitheater, the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in Central Texas, and its 251-foot signature observation tower.

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Circuit of The Americas
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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