Marc Marquez takes Austin pole, with Andrea Dovizioso only 13th
Marc Marquez eased to his seventh-successive MotoGP Americas Grand Prix pole, while Andrea Dovizioso failed to lift himself out of Q1.
Honda's Marquez fired in an unassailable 2:03.787s early on in Q2 to beat Valentino Rossi by 0.273s to pole, with Dovizioso resigned to 13th after Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci knocked him out of Q1.
Marquez set the early benchmark in Q2 with a weekend-best of 2:03.787s, while Q1 pacesetting Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was forced to ditch his first machines after the chain broke exiting the final corner.
Rossi was Marquez's nearest challenger at the end of the first run, putting his Yamaha seventh tenths adrift of the Spaniard, with Pramac's Jack Miller rounding out the provisional front row.
Marquez had a massive wobble heading down the back straight on the first lap of his second run and had to abort the lap, while Rossi cut his advantage down to under three tenths.
A final attempt started well for Marquez, but the lap went away from him. However, his second pole of the season came under no threat.
Rossi maintained second, with LCR's Cal Crutchlow leaping up to third late on with a 2:04.147s, pushing Miller back to the head of the second row.
Pol Espargaro secured a career best fifth for himself and KTM, missing the front row by just three tenths and beating Friday's fastest rider Maverick Vinales on the works Yamaha.
Alex Rins beat Petrucci to seventh on the sole factory team Ducati in Q2, with the Sepang Racing duo Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli rounding out the top 10.
Lorenzo made it back out after his early technical issue, but had to complete his final run on used tyres and could do no more than to beat Pramac's Francesco Bagnaia – who crashed twice – to 11th.
Dovizioso was only 11th at the end of Friday practice, and the cancelled FP3 meant he faced Q1 for the first time this season.
After a low-key start to his 15-minute session, the Dovizioso took over at the head of the standings with a 2:05.907s – though was demoted to second by Lorenzo on his penultimate flyer.
A further improvement from Ducati team-mate Petrucci knocked Dovizioso into 13th, who opted against running a second fresh tyre, and ensured his first Q2 absence since Jerez 2017 by just 0.016s.
Joan Mir will line up alongside Dovizioso on the second Suzuki, with LCR's Takaaki Nakagami completing row five on his year-old Honda.
Aleix Espargaro did hold a Q2 spot briefly in the closing stages, but the Aprilia man was shuffled back to 16th in the end ahead of team-mate Andrea Iannone and early pacesetter Miguel Oliveira [Tech3].
USA - Qualifying
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||2:03.787|
|2||Valentino Rossi||Monster Energy Yamaha||2:04.060||0.273|
|3||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||2:04.147||0.360|
|4||Jack Miller||Alma Pramac Racing||2:04.416||0.629|
|5||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM Factory||2:04.472||0.685|
|6||Maverick Vinales||Monster Energy Yamaha||2:04.489||0.702|
|7||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki Ecstar||2:04.534||0.747|
|8||Danilo Petrucci||Mission Winnow Ducati||2:04.696||0.909|
|9||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||2:04.941||1.154|
|10||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||2:05.278||1.491|
|11||Jorge Lorenzo||Repsol Honda Team||2:05.383||1.596|
|12||Francesco Bagnaia||Alma Pramac Racing||2:05.887||2.100|
|13||Andrea Dovizioso||Mission Winnow Ducati||2:05.907|
|14||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki Ecstar||2:06.147|
|15||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||2:06.324|
|16||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Gresini||2:06.464|
|17||Andrea Iannone||Aprilia Racing Gresini||2:06.527|
|18||Miguel Oliviera||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||2:06.543|
|19||Johann Zarco||Red Bull KTM Factory||2:06.824|
|20||Karel Abraham||Reale Avintia Racing||2:07.129|
|21||Hafizh Syahrin||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||2:07.308|
|22||Tito Rabat||Reale Avintia Racing||2:07.417|