Categorised in: Breaking News
TERMAS DE RÍO HONDO (ARGENTINA) (AFP) –
Australia’s Jack Miller took a shock maiden pole position for the Argentina MotoGP on Saturday after a daring last-lap gamble in the damp of the Thermes de Rio Hondo circuit.
Miller, riding for the Pramac Ducati team, edged out Dani Pedrosa on a factory Honda with French rider Johann Zarco, on a Yamaha Tech 3, completing the front row.
“It was very wet, I almost crashed several times,” said 23-year-old Miller who clocked 1min 47.153sec with Pedrosa at 0.177sec back after gambling on slick tyres.
“It’s a great satisfaction and for this I want to thank the team that did a great job both during the winter tests and during these first two race weekends.
“I felt confident to try to get back on track with slick tyres. It was not easy, especially in the two turns that were still wet. I thought, it’s time to go all-in. It was the right choice that’s why I’m really very happy.”
His performamce brought admiring glances from his rivals with Pedrosa describing the Australian’s pole performance as “incredible”.
World champion Marc Marquez was 0.611sec off the pace on his Honda to stand at sixth in the time charts.
It’s the first time since the race’s appearance on the world championship schedule that the Spaniard had not taken pole position.
“I decided to try the slick tyres but it was too risky. As soon as I exited the pit I realised that if I touched the wet side of the track the risk of crashing was great,” admitted Marquez.
Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso, on a factory Ducati and the winner of the opening round in Qatar last month, was eighth with teammate Jorge Lorenzo in 14th.
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, on a Yamaha, was down in 11th spot.
“It was a difficult day for me, because in these conditions — when you have to go out on the wet tyre, but the asphalt is becoming dry — I’m in a lot of trouble. I can’t push, because every time I try to push more I feel the front close,” said the frustrated 39-year-old Italian.
1. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati Pramac) 1:47.153, 2. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) at 0.177, 3. Johann Zarco (FRA/Yamaha Tech3) 0.212
4. Tito Rabat (ESP/Ducati Avintia) 0.528, 5. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 0.590, 6. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.601
7. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilla) 0.692, 8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1.094, 9. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 1.891
11. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 2.173, 14. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Ducati) 2.910
© 2018 AFP