In an eventful qualifying session, Marquez had a crash and had to jump into his second bike to defend his provisional pole. He managed that but didn’t realize that rival Maverick Vinales was coming fast behind him and found himself in the way. It was deemed an infringement by the offcials and he was slapped with a penalty. “I went out, and unfortunately I didn’t expect Maverick to arrive behind me because I was focused on Andrea (Iannone), who was waiting ahead and who I knew could be very fast. I apologized to Maverick but I didn’t realize he was behind me until I heard his engine. So the race I’ll start from fourth.”
Team mate Dani Pedrosa pushed himself to the limit to grab an impressive third-row start, with the ninth-fastest lap time.
With Marquez demoted, Vinales gains the pole for the U.S. GP. Viñales had secured second place in the original classification. Team mate Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, couldn’t perform like his team mate and is starting from fifth position on the grid.
Viñales climbed from eighth spot and soared to a potential pole lap until he was held up by Marquez. He dropped two positions but evenntually climbed up to second place, with a 2:04.064 lap time. He held on this position after the flag came out and finished 0.406 from first. However, due to Race Direction’s decision after Q2, Viñales starts the race from pole.
Rossi waited until the last five minutes to turn up the juice. The Doctor was pushed back to fifth position but immediately moved back up to second. However, several riders were quicker in the final laps and Rossi had to settle for fifth place, with a 0.571 margin to first.
COTA is a circuit that doesn’t favor Ducati with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso starting from rows 2 and 3. Lorenzo was sixth quickest with a lap time of 2’04.294, less than a tenth of a second away from the third-placed man, and the Spanish rider will start the twenty-lap race from row 2. Dovizioso was a couple of places down in eighth, which is a third row start.
The race is set for afternoon with a shortened distance, by one lap from 21 to 20.
2018 MotoGP Round 3 COTA qualifying