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Martin takes Grand Prix of Americas pole in Ducati sweep

Jorge Martin grabbed his second pole position of the season at the Grand Prix of the Americas on Saturday as Ducati swept the first five places on the starting grid.

Martin, who was second in Argentina last weekend, put in a memorable performance after only sneaking into the final qualifying round.

He edged out Australia’s Jack Miller by just 0.003sec with fellow Ducati riders Francesco Bagnaia, the world championship runner-up in 2021, Johann Zarco and Enea Bastianini making up the top five.

Martin has now qualified on the front row for all four races this season.

“After the accident in free practice (earlier Saturday), I didn’t expect to be on pole position today,” said the 24-year-old Spaniard.

“So thanks to the team for the great job, getting me back on track, I am super happy and focused on tomorrow. Pole position means a lot. We are very fast.”

It is the Madrid native’s sixth pole position since joining MotoGP last year.

He was also on pole for the season-opener in Qatar and was then second fastest in qualifying at Indonesia and Argentina.

However, he has endured two retirements in three races so far before finishing runner-up in Argentina.

Miller was as colourful as ever in his assessment.

“It’s nice to be back on the front row. I kind of panicked a bit and was crapping my pants thinking I’d better not mess up this sector,” he said.

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will start in ninth place on his Honda as the 29-year-old returns after missing the Argentina race.

He suffered double vision after a violent high-side crash in Indonesia last month.

Marquez has won seven of the eight races contested at the Texas track, including last year.

However, Saturday’s performance was his worst in qualifying at the circuit.

World champion Fabio Quartararo, fastest in practice, will start Sunday’s race in sixth place after crashing out on his Yamaha.

The Suzukis of Alex Rins and 2020 world champion Joan Mir were seventh and eighth respectively.

Rins is the only man apart from Marquez to triumph in Austin having broken his compatriot’s spell in 2019.

Current world championship leader Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia, who won his maiden MotoGP race at the 200th time of asking last weekend, missed out on the qualifying shootout after a crash.

The 32-year-old Spaniard will start Sunday’s race 13th on the grid.

In Moto2 qualifying, American rider Cameron Beaubier claimed his maiden pole position by 0.3sec over world championship leader Celestino Vietti who rides for Valentino Rossi’s academy team.

Aron Canet makes up the front row despite a late spill.

In Moto3, Andrea Migno edged out fellow Italian Dennis Foggia for pole by 0.067sec.

Xavier Artigas makes up the front row but world championship leader Sergio Garcia struggled and starts down in 15th.

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