Vinales crushes lap record to grab MotoGP pole in Texas

rugby13 April 2024 17:29| © AFP

Maverick Vinales obliterated the lap record at the Circuit of the Americas in qualifying on Saturday to take pole position for the United States MotoGP.

The Spanish Aprilia rider broke the record twice in the session as he secured first place on the grid for the sprint race later in the day and Sunday's main event.

He trimmed the record on his opening lap where he was chased across the line by compatriot Marc Marquez on a Gresini Ducati, in what would have been a lap record a few seconds earlier.

Vinales then smashed the record he had just set, going round in 2 minutes 0.864 seconds.

"Right now the combination I have with the bike is fantastic and I am able to push over the limit every time. I feel incredible," said Vinales.

"It's going to be a long race, even the sprint, but I feel ready. Ready to go and ready to push."

As the session wound down, Pedro Acosta, a 19-year-old Spaniard on a GasGas in just his third MotoGP weekend, edged past Marquez to take second on the grid.

"At the end I only go on the bike as fast as I can. Wide open," said Acosta. "Super happy!"

The teenager's time was 0.328sec behind Vinales and 0.74 ahead of Marquez.

"I didn't expect that front row," said Marquez. "I tried to push but I did two mistakes. Maverick had incredible pace."

Championship leader Jorge Martin, who had been fastest in practice, crashed on the first lap of the session, climbed back on his scuffed Pramac Ducati and set off in desperate pursuit only to crash again.

This time the Spaniard set off at a run to the pits to collect his back-up bike.

He squeezed onto the second row of the grid with the sixth fastest time alongside two Italians on factory Ducatis.

Double world champion Francesco Bagnaia was fourth fastest and Enea Bastianini fifth.

Brad Binder, who is second in the championship, was not one of the ten fastest in practice and had to go into the first qualifying session and crashed. He will start 17th.


Grid for Saturday's Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP sprint and Sunday's main race:

Front row

Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia), Pedro Acosta (ESP/GasGaS-Tech3), Marc Marquez (ESP/Ducati-Gresini)

2nd row

Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati), Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati), Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac)

3rd row

Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia), Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA/Ducati-VR46), Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Ducati-Pramac)

4th row

Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati-VR46), Jack Miller (AUS/KTM), Alex Marquez (ESP/Ducati-Gresini)

5th row

Raul Fernandez (ESP/Aprilia-Trackhouse), Miguel Oliveira (POR/Aprilia-Trackhouse), Alex Rins (ESP/Yamaha)

6th row

Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha), Brad Binder (RSA/KTM), Augusto Fernandez (ESP/GasGas-Tech3)

7th row

Johann Zarco (FRA/Honda-LCR), Joan Mir (ESP/Honda), Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda-LCR), Luca Marini (ITA/Honda)