Alex Marquez goes from Q1 to MotoGP pole in Argentina GP in tricky conditions from Marco Bezzecchi and Francesco Bagnaia.

Marquez on fire in Q1

The rain came pouring down as the riders exited the pitlane for Q1. Without even one lap completed, the 2021 MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamama MotoGP) had a big scare as he massively out-braked himself and barrelled towards the gravel trap. The flying Frenchman kept it on two wheels and continued to push on for that all-important Q2 opportunity.

Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) set the first banker very early on, but the Gresini men of Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantionio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) were on the move as they pushed the Aussie off the top spot and locked out the top 2. Just seconds later and it was Quartararo who had recovered from his big scare to take his Yamaha to the top spot in Q1.

Alex Marquez continued to chip away at the Frenchman’s lap time and with three minutes left of the session, the Spaniard flew to the top of the timesheets setting the new benchmark and consolidating his Q2 spot.

Crunch time came in the dying moments of the session and Marquez was setting red sectors once again. The Spaniard was on for a 0.3s improvement before catching Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) in the final sector and tucking the front onboard his Gresini Ducati. The Spaniard remounted conscious of the Q2 session looming, and a job still to be done. On his way back to the pitlane disaster struck for Marquez as fire broke out onboard his Desmosedici. Although the bike didn’t make it back to the pits, the Gresini man made it back to the Gresini box to jump onto his number 2 bike ahead of Q2.

Despite late charges from Raul Fernandez and the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Rider’s Jack Miller and Brad Binder, the top 2 remained unchanged as Marquez and Quartararo were headed for Q2.

Who dares wins in Q2

You could cut the tension with a knife at Termas de Rio Hondo, as MotoGP™ prepared for the unknown with challenging conditions awaiting the fastest motorcycle racers in the world. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) set the early benchmark as the riders began to feel their way through the conditions at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, but there was still plenty of drama to unfold in the battle for pole position.

Early on in the session, the 2022 Argentina GP winner Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) had a huge moment on the exit of the final corner, as his rear tyre stepped out and regripped, seeing the Spaniard take to the grass giving a signal to his team in the box.

The more the session went on, the drier the track got as the idea of slicks began to loom in the back of the riders’ minds. With no one knowing whether to take the risk, it was the reigning Champion Bagnaia who was the first to take the gamble with the rest of the grid still running the wet tyres. The paddock held their breath as Bagnaia barrelled into the wet final sector the first time, except Marco Bezzecchi and Alex Marquez who decided they’d follow pursuit on slick rubber.

The final two minutes came and it was Franco Mordibelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) who was flying around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, with the Italian half a second under halfway around the track. Morbidelli crossed the line and move the goalposts by 0.8s.

Bagnaia was off to a slow start on the slicks. As he struggled his way through the wet sectors of the circuit it was looking as if slick tyres might have been the wrong decision. No one had told this to Marco Bezzecchi however, who with 30 seconds to go began to light up the timing screens and blow away the field by smashing the top time by two seconds.

No one was stopping was Alex Marquez however as he bit the screen to snatch pole position away from Bezzecchi, and make it a Ducati lockout on the front row of the grid with a late charge from Bagnaia seeing him bump Mordidelli out of the top 3.

The charging pack

The grid has been decided for the Tissot Sprint and Sunday’s race, and everything is in place for a whole host of action all the way through the field. Franky Morbidelli is looking in high spirits in Argentina with strong pace on Friday, and the first spot on the second row awaiting him. Equally, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) will be one to watch from the middle of the second row. The Spaniard has shown incredible pace through the weekend and will be eager to go one better in Argentina to pick up his first victory for the Noale manufacturer, at the very place they took their first-ever win. Johann Zarco can never be discounted either, as the Frenchman starts from 6th spot on the grid for both the Tissot Sprint and Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Plenty of talent lies on the third row of the grid as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) line up 7th, 8th, and 9th respectively. With all three riders with their sights locked on to a podium finish, this will almost definitely be a battle to keep an eye on. Quartararo’s struggles continue in Argentina as he is faced with the challenge of starting the racing action in Argentina from 10th place on the grid.

[Note: The story is as per press release]