Martin’s pole was enough to set a new all-time MotoGP Lap Record around the Circuit of the Americas, while also keeping his 100% front row start in 2022 alive.
After exiting the pit lane with Enea Bastianini right behind him, Marc Marquez elected to let the Italian through before starting his first flying lap, clearly the eight-time world champion wanted to keep his cards close to his chest.
Marquez, who was now behind Bastianini, was setting an unbelievable time as Bagnaia provisionally went top, but just as Marquez looked like smashing the Italian’s lap time, the Honda rider abandoned his effort due to Bastianini crashing right in front of him.
Miller then replaced Bagnaia at the front by just +0.008s.
More drama then followed as reigning world champion Quartararo crashed at turn 19 after looking set to break Ducati hearts with provisional pole.
The Frenchman was back on his feet with immediate effect as he did his best Usain Bolt impression through the gravel. Determined to find his way back to pit lane, Quartararo was dropped off on the back of a scooter by a marshal, before heading out for his second run.
First out of the pits for the final run was Bagnaia as the Italian went quickest by nearly two tenths, however, Miller produced a new lap record to move ahead of his team-mate.
A sure-fire pole position, his first of 2022 – that’s the line we expected to bring you before qualifying specialist Jorge Martin gained close to two tenths in the final sector as he set a new all-time lap record by just +0.003s.
Expected to go much better, Marquez made an error on his final lap which meant a starting position of ninth – his worst qualifying results ever at the Circuit of the Americas.
Behind the top three of Martin, Miller and Bagnaia was the second Pramac bike of Zarco and Bastianini.
Quartararo recovered well from his fall to claim sixth ahead of Alex Rins.
Surprisingly Q1 was made up of Rins, Maverick Vinales, Jorge Martin and Aleix Espargaro, despite all four showing much better potential at times in practice.
Following his brother Brad, RNF Yamaha rider Darryn Binder crashed at turn three on what was his first flying lap.
Rins immediately got down to a searing pace as the Suzuki rider set a 2:02.723s – a lap time that would have been good enough for a top six in FP3.
Martin, who had not been off the front row so far this season, then went quickest with a stunning time of 2:02.487s.
Joining Binder in the crash column was fellow rookie Remy Gardner after the Australian suffered a front-end washout.
While the other three pre-session favorites were occupying the top three places in Q1, Vinales was down in 22nd and in need of serious improvements.
While Vinales did just that to go fourth, Espargaro suffered a crash at turn eight, thus eliminating himself from contention for Q2.
Heading the start of row five will be Espargaro and Vinales, while Andrea Dovizioso had to settle for fifth (15th for the race).
After finishing inside the top four in FP4, race pace looks strong for both Vinales and Espargaro, however, winning Sunday’s race will now be close to impossible.
Advancing to Q2 were Martin and Rins, two riders who could be major players for the podium.