Americas MotoGP | Bagnaia pips Quartararo for third consecutive pole

Pecco Bagnaia lands his third consecutive MotoGP pole position at the Circuit of The Americas with title rival Fabio Quartararo alongside him in second

Pecco Bagnaia - Ducati

Pecco Bagnaia has secured his third consecutive MotoGP pole position for the Grand Prix of The Americas at COTA as second for Fabio Quartararo set up a tantalising battle between the two title contenders.

The Italian is arriving in the United States on a run of strong form after wins at Aragon and Misano, results tha have kept him within touching distance of hot favourite Quartararo in the title fight.

With both of those wins achieved from pole position, Bagnaia now has the chance to make it three from three after his final effort in Q2 around the Texan venue proved more than enough to rebuff Quartararo.

Indeed, though they start next to each other on the front row, Quartararo will be concerned by the vast 0.4secs margin to the in-form Ducati rider heading into what could be a pivotal race for his title bid.

Marc Marquez completes the front row in third, with Jorge Martin in fourth place, the two Spaniards playing a game of cat and mouse to slipstream their way up towards the front of the grid.

Takaaki Nakagami scored one of his best starting positions of the season the LCR Honda in fifth, ahead of Johann Zarco, who made it three Ducatis inside the top six.

Winner at COTA on the series’ last visit to the US, Alex Rins headed up the Suzuki challenge in seventh, just ahead of defending champion team-mate Joan Mir, the Spaniard having to work hard to first clear Q1 before landing in eighth place.

Having seen his Avintia Ducati team-mate Enea Bastianini steal the limelight with a podium at Misano, it was the turn of Luca Marini to impress with a run to ninth - also via Q1 - for his best MotoGP starting position yet.

That placed him ahead of factory Ducati rider Jack Miller in tenth, who is joined on the fourth row by the only KTM rider in the top ten, Brad Binder, plus Honda’s Pol Espargaro.

Though Fabio Quartararo was the only Yamaha rider in Q2, there were encouraging signs for the recovering Franco Morbidelli in 13th, while Andrea Dovizioso enjoyed a big step forward over Misano to secure 14th position By contrast, Valentino Rossi’s starts down in 20th after a crash late on.

Misano star Bastianini could only manage 16th place, while Miguel Oliveira’s miserable second half of the season continued with a crash that left him 18th, while Aleix Espargaro was the big loser after a fall early on left him with work to do on his final soft tyre run, only for that to be baulked by Alex Marquez.

2021 Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP | Qualifying RESULTS

2021 Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP | Qualifying RESULTS | Round 15 / 18
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP212m 02.781
2Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M12m 03.129
3Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V2m 03.209
4Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP212m 03.278
5Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda IdemitsuHonda RC213V2m 03.292
6Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP212m 03.379
7Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR2m 03.453
8Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR2m 03.528
9Luca MariniITASky VR46 EsponsoramaDucati GP192m 03.546
10Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP212m 03.720
11Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 03.781
12Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V2m 03.875
13Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M12m 03.872
14Andrea DoviziosoITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M12m 04.044
15Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V2m 04.100
16Enea BastianiniITAAvintia EsponsoramaDucati GP192m 04.118
17Iker LecuonaESPTech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 04.324
18Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 04.392
19Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP2m 04.419
20Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M12m 04.699
21Danilo PetrucciITATech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC162m 04.829