The MotoGP paddock made it’s second stop of the season in Austin, Texas for the qualifying action to be a show in determination in all classes.
After that tricky season in Moto2 and a hard first season back in Moto3 Danny Kent continued to build with a pole position. Xavier Simeon also rallied for just his second career pole in Moto2, with even more perseverance on show from the hurting Sam Lowes who he just beat in the final moments.
Both classes set new lap records in the process.
After being at the front for most of Qatar bar when it counted for qualifying Danny Kent set about his task of pole with an attention grabbing performance on the Honda, utterly dominant on his way to his first pole of the season with Leopard Racing.
Kent’s new record was 0.998 faster than Miller’s 2014 record.
After some serious lapping Miguel Oilveira came closest to rivaling Kent, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider the only man to also see his personal best give him a sub 2m16 time. They are joined on the front row by Gresini’s Andrea Locatelli.
Fellow Italian Niccolo Antonelli was just a shade behind on the timesheets in fourth, joined on row two by the best performing rookies Estrella Galicia riders Jorge Navarro and Fabio Quartararo in fifth and sixth respectively.
Seventh went to Isaac Vinales, eighth Enea Bastianini, ninth Francesco Bagnaia with Qatar race winner Alexis Masbou completing the top ten.
Moto3’s second British rider John McPhee had to wait for his bike to be fixed following a frustrating crash with Livio Loi after five minutes, the troubled Saxoprint RTG rider eventually able to pick off enough places for 15th on the grid.
There were also big crashes for Manzi, Ajo and Ono – with the Japanese rider’s causing a brief red flag.
With Moto2 Qatar riders all featuring at the front in practice it was expected it would be Zarco, Lowes and Rabat dueling it out for qualifying honours.
Though Lowes’ very early hot lap, which was followed by a chatter induced crash for the Speed Up rider, looked like holding on it was to be Xavier Simeon’s late dash that pushed his Gresini to pole, for just the second time in his career and the first since 2013.
He again broke the lap record on his way to pole as had long time leader Sam Lowes before his time was ultimately bettered.
The pair are joined on the front row by Tito Rabat, the EG 0,0 Marc VDS man putting in an impressive 20 laps on his way to third on the grid.
Johann Zarco’s late push was only good enough for fourth for Ajo Motorsport, while Franco Morbidelli held fifth for Italtrans despite a late crash. Sixth went to Idemitsu rider Taka Nakagami, who had hoped for more before having his best lap hit traffic.
Julian Simon starts sevneth for QMMF, Alex Rins is the best of the rookies in seventh for Paginas Amarillas HP 40 ( main rival Alex Marquez starts 23rd) while Dominique Aegerter made huge improvements learning behind Rabat for ninth.
Tech 3’s Marcel Schrotter held on to tenth after crashing at the same time as Morbidelli.
Qatar race winner Jonas Folger finds himself 19th, Tom Luthi had bike woes all session hampering his progress in 17th.
There were also crashes for Mulhauser, Cardus and Baldassarri.
Full Moto3 qualifying results here.
Full Moto2 qualifying results here.