Reigning World Champion Marc Márquez maintained his unbeaten record at the Circuit of the Americas after prevailing in a thrilling scrap for pole position against Maverick Vinales.
Márquez, who has locked out pole and victory at COTA since its arrival on the calendar in 2013, set provisional pole, while Vinales lagged almost a second behind, having been baulked by Valentino Rossi.
Vinales, winner of the opening two races of 2017, responded to move to within 0.083s of Márquez’s benchmark of 2:03.042. And continued onwards, posting a 2:02.871 to leap ahead.
Márquez, though, denied his compatriot pole with an electric lap of 2:02.741 on his final effort, despite encountering Rossi through the final corner.
Such was the dominance of the young Spaniards that third-placed Rossi wound up eight-tenths behind team-mate Viñales, while Dani Pedrosa claimed a low-key fourth, over a second down on Márquez.
Johann Zarco maintained his fine form in fifth, while Jorge Lorenzo displayed a much stronger showing for Ducati as he went sixth fastest, ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Jonas Folger collected eighth position, while Cal Crutchlow fell at Turn 11 and wound up ninth, in front of compatriot Scott Redding.
Andrea Iannone (at Turn 15) and Jack Miller (at Turn 2) both scuppered their Q2 runs with crashes. This left them down in 11th and 12th respectively, three seconds off the pace.
Danilo Petrucci was 13th for Pramac, as the quickest Q1 rider not to secure a Q2 spot. While Avintia’s Loris Baz saved a wild moment through the final left-hander.
Baz lost control and was almost on the ground, but astonishingly re-grouped and rounded the corner, to rapturous applause from his Avintia team.