Marquez goes off twice, still takes pole

Two-time world champion Marc Marquez survived a crash-hit afternoon to take pole position for the Grand Prix of Argentina on Saturday.

The Spaniard, who won at the Rio Hondo track in 2014, twice came off the circuit but recovered to claim the fastest time of 1min 39.411sec on his Honda.

Nine-time champion Valentino Rossi was second on a Yamaha at the circuit where he won in 2015 with reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, the winner of the season-opener in Qatar last month, taking third on the grid in the second Yamaha.

For Marquez, it was a 31st career pole but he did it the hard way, coming off the track on two occasions in qualifying.

He set his eventual pole time early in the session before coming off at turn one for the second time.

“I feel good on the track. On turn one, there was a problem with the electronics and I lost the bike,” said Marquez who has booked a spot on the front row for a 13th consecutive race.

“But back on the second bike, I managed well. We will see what happens in the race. We need a good rear tyre, that will be key.”

Spanish compatriot Lorenzo also survived a nasty crash in the fourth and final free practice session on a track which has been widely criticised for being dirty and uneven.

Both Rossi and Lorenzo set their best times – 1min 39.786sec and 1min 39.944sec respectively – after the chequered flag had fallen.

Sunday will see Rossi starting on the front row for just the 13th time since returning to the Yamaha team in 2013.

“We improved a lot in the afternoon, we worked well and were quite fast. I did a good lap in qualifying,” said the 37-year-old Italian who is marking 20 years as a world championship rider this weekend.

“It will be very hard for the victory on Sunday. Marquez is very strong but we will try to get on the podium.”

In Moto3, South Africa’s Brad Binder took pole position ahead of Italy’s Romano Fenati and Jorge Navarro of Spain. Binder, on a KTM, clocked 1min 49.767sec.

RESULTS

1. Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda 1:39.411
2. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 1:39.786
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1:39.944
4. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1:40.011
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati 1:40.198
6. Andrea Iannone (Italy) Ducati 1:40.272
7. Maverick Vinales (Spain) Suzuki 1:40.375
8. Hector Barbera (Spain) Ducati 1:40.524
9. Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Honda 1:40.528
10. Pol Espargaro (Spain) Yamaha 1:40.654

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