AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Honda’s MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez crashed but still took pole position for the Grand Prix of the Americas for the sixth year in a row on Saturday, pending a stewards’ investigation.
The Spaniard, who has won his last five races at the Austin track, put in a best lap of two minutes 03.658 seconds, 0.406 quicker than compatriot Maverick Vinales on a Yamaha.
Vinales gesticulated angrily when he had to abandon a flying lap after being blocked by Marquez, who was getting up to speed after returning to the track on a spare bike following a fall into the gravel trap.
The Yamaha rider still managed to go fastest with his next lap before Marquez, a four times MotoGP world champion still chasing his first win of 2018, did better.
Suzuki’s Italian Andrea Iannone was third fastest.
British rider Cal Crutchlow, who leads the championship after two races, qualified seventh for the non-works LCR Honda team.
Italian great Valentino Rossi, who criticized the bumpy track surface after Friday practice, qualified fifth on his Yamaha.
Marquez’s Spanish team mate Dani Pedrosa, who had surgery on a broken wrist last week after crashing in Argentina, will start ninth on the grid.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis