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Apr 21, 2013 - 07:49 AM
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Qualifying Grand Prix Of The Americas, Austin, Texas
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2013 - 07:45 AM
Qualifying Grand Prix Of The Americas, Austin, Texas

Weather: warm and sunny
Temperature: Ambient 21 degrees C / Track 40 degrees C


Factory Honda team-mates Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) have dominated both days of practice and qualifying for the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas here in Austin, Texas, making the pair firm favourites for tomorrow’s race.


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Marquez took pole position this afternoon with a thrilling display of aggressive riding. It was another impressive performance from the 20-year-old rookie who bounced back from a heavy tumble during this morning’s third practice session. Marquez – who has led all but one session here – is now the youngest-ever rider to have achieved pole position in the premier class, bettering Freddie Spencer, who has held the record since he took pole at the 1982 Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama, Spain.

Tomorrow Marquez will bid to become the youngest-ever winner of a premier-class motorcycle Grand Prix. If he does so, he will once again take the record from Honda rider ‘Fast Freddie’ Spencer who won the Belgian Grand Prix in July 1982 at the age of 20 years and 196 days. Marquez will start tomorrow’s race at 20 years and 64 days old.

So far Pedrosa is the only man to have bettered Marquez in a practice session at the Circuit of the Americas, the Spaniard ending this morning’s FP3 session almost four tenths ahead of his compatriot. In qualifying former 125 and 250 World Champion Pedrosa was 0.254 seconds down and is hoping to make overnight improvements to rear-end grip to help him challenge his team-mate in the race.

The new Circuit of the Americas is proving a real hit with riders who are enjoying its many different challenges. The track features 20 corners – more than any other on the MotoGP calendar – and also the championship’s longest straight, at 1.2km/0.746 miles. The mix of corners – from very slow hairpins to high-speed sweepers – is a real test for both riders and engineers, who must work to find a compromise in their machine settings. Yesterday morning the asphalt was very ‘green’ and slippery. Since then it has gained grip and lap times fell almost six seconds between FP1 and qualifying.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) will start tomorrow’s race from the middle of the second row of the grid after qualifying fifth quickest. The German is going well here and ended yesterday’s first two sessions third fastest, making it a Honda one-two-three at the end of the first day.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) will start from the third row. His seventh-fastest time came after several set-up changes and a decision to run a hard rear tyre, with which he felt much more comfortable. The Spaniard thinks he might’ve made the second row if he hadn’t got held up by a group of riders during the final minutes of qualifying.

Rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had a coming together with Karel Abraham (ART) during qualifying which didn’t help his efforts to go for his best-possible lap time. He ended the session in 22nd place.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) scored his first Grand Prix pole position in this afternoon’s Honda-powered Moto2 qualifying session with a brilliant final lap that put him almost seven tenths of a second ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex). Spaniard Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) completed the front row, just 0.021 seconds behind the Japanese.

Championship leader Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex), who took pole and race victory in Qatar, had a difficult session, ending up seventh quickest, which puts him at the top of the third row. The second row consists of fourth fastest Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up).

Honda’s Moto3 riders had a better time in qualifying at COTA today than they had at Losail two weeks ago. Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) had a brilliant session to end up fourth quickest, which puts him at the top of the second row for tomorrow’s first race of the day. The 18-year-old Australian attributed some of his impressive performance to recent engine updates from Honda.

Honda has two other riders in the top ten here: Danny Webb (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) who were eighth and ninth this afternoon. The Briton and the Frenchman were happy with their form and hoping for even better in the race.

Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) was 11th, Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) 14th, Alessandro Tonucci (Team La Fonte Tasca Racing Honda) 16th and Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) 17th.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position, 2m 03.021s
“We are happy of course, because we took our first pole position which is important and always exciting! We knew beforehand that we could fight for pole, but you never know what will happen in the session. Both Dani and Jorge are fast over a single lap, and we managed to overcome them. The important stuff starts tomorrow, because we have a long, physical race with many of changes of direction to deal with. We need to be ready, because tomorrow is what really counts and I will do the best that I can!"

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 2m 03.275s
“The session was a little tense, as in fifteen minutes you only have time for four good laps. Fortunately we didn’t have any problems with traffic this time, and I was able to focus and put in a strong lap – faster than all but one in the end! It was a good session, and we took second on the grid which is positive, because Marc put in a fast lap and is close. We need to try to increase the rear grip for tomorrow and work towards having a strong race.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th – 2m 04.445s
“Today was a good day for us because we could use the full potential of the hard tyre which is a positive sign. In the fourth practice session we were able to make a longer distance evaluating the reaction of the hard tyre. We improved our consistency and I am pleased with the bike set-up so far because we can be fast from the first lap until the end of the race. Today’s qualifying went well but I am not totally happy with the result. However top five is our target and we can stay with the guys up in the pack.”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 7th, 2m 04.942s
“In terms of the lap time we are a long way from pole position but we are quite close to the front row and we have done a good job this afternoon to make the right changes to the settings. We decided to use the hard tyre and the bike felt completely different, I had more confidence with it even after a lot of laps. My first run in qualifying was quite good but then on my second one I got held up by a bunch of riders looking for a tow and missed out on the chance to move up to the second row, which I think I could have done. The important thing is that we are working well and we have a good feeling with the bike for the race tomorrow. The front three are out of reach but I think we can fight for fourth if we can get a good start and push.”

Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 22nd, 2m 10.098s
“I’m not happy because I still haven’t worked out the fastest way around this incredible track. I don’t have the right line and speed through the corners and we’re struggling. At the end we also got taken out by Karel Abraham so that didn’t help but tomorrow we’ll try to get a good start and finish with a respectable result.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team: pole position, 2m 10.577s
“The big thing for the race will be saving the rear tyre because after three or four laps it drops down a lot. I will have to focus very hard to control that. To be on pole is great, I’ve taken a lot of confidence from it. I’ve not found the track difficult to learn but the grip is always changing – it was slippery yesterday morning, then it got better and then it went away again in qualifying, so we will have to adapt to it in the race as well as we can.”

Takaaki Nakagami, Italtrans Racing Team: 2nd, 2m 11.266s
“Being second for the second race in a row isn’t boring, even if I would have preferred pole. Anyway, the general feeling is positive because we have been up front all weekend and a front-row start was what I wanted. It will be a very difficult race because no one knows how long the tyres will last, but it’s the same for everybody. We are still looking for a sweeter setting because the bike is still a little too harsh.”

Nicolas Terol, Mapfre Aspar Team: 3rd, 2m 11.287s
“Throughout the weekend we’ve kept a great pace. In this circuit I felt comfortable from the first moment. In Qatar I also felt good but in the race things went wrong. Before qualifying here it was clear that we could fight for the first row, as throughout the GP I’ve had a great feeling with the bike. I am very happy to reach third position. In this circuit we have to take tyre consumption into account, because they degrade quickly. I noticed this today – when the track has more grip it seems to burn up the tyres. In warm-up we will try to optimise the set-up to minimise tyre wear. In the race it will be important to be gentle with the throttle. The race will be tough and I will have to fight hard.”

Honda Moto3 Rider quotes

Jack Miller, Caretta Technology – RTG: 4th, 2m 18.303s
“The FTR chassis is working really well here, it turns great. I felt comfortable out there and although we’re down a little bit on speed, we’re getting closer, step by step. We are definitely closer than we were in Qatar. This is quite a difficult track for set-up because you’ve got a lot of little 90 degree turns and then you’ve got some high-speed stuff. I’m feeling pretty positive and we’ll just keep plugging away.”

Danny Webb, Ambrogio Racing: 8th, 2m 18.899s
“The beginning of the session was not so bad. In the middle we got stuck sometimes, and sadly we went a bit the wrong way with the setting. So we came back to not quite the same set-up as yesterday afternoon, but something very similar, and that made a big improvement. On my last lap I gave it everything I had, and the time wasn’t so bad. If we have a good first six, seven laps we can also so a good race.”

Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 9th, 2m 18.906s
“All free practice was very difficult, we didn’t find a good setting. Then this morning we tried a lot of different things, maybe too many. Finally for qualifying we went back to a safer setting. I’m finding the slow corners quite difficult, because it’s not easy to find a settings compromise for all the slow corners and all the fast corners. We will check the data again and I think we can improve for the race, a little bit.”

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