Rossi trying to make it 2 straight at Long Beach from pole
Alexander Rossi will try to win his second consecutive race through the streets of Long Beach from the pole.
The defending race winner snagged the top starting spot for Sunday’s race as the qualifying session ended. He won from the pole last year. The Andretti Autosport driver scored victories in three of the four times he has started an IndyCar race out front.
Scott Dixon qualified second-fastest Saturday, his best starting position at Long Beach, followed by the Team Penske trio Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. Graham Rahal was sixth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The Fast Six qualifying was split evenly between Honda and Chevrolet, but the Honda drivers represented three teams, including Chip Ganassi Racing.
The car owner was visibly upset when Dixon’s rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist crashed during the second round of qualifying. Rosenqvist was second-fastest when he went off course into a tire barrier and the penalty for causing a caution was the loss of his two fastest qualifying laps.
The atmosphere is electric at the 45th running of Long Beach, second in prestige only to the Indianapolis 500 on the IndyCar schedule, and the energy around the event has created a spark throughout the field. The race is expected to be competitive, the competition close, with at least half the field of 23 legitimate contenders to win.
The six drivers in the final qualifying session were separated by less than a second, and every practice session on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn clockwise temporary street course has been tight from top to bottom. That, Rahal said, contributed to the light and loose attitude among the drivers after qualifying.
“The competitive nature of this, like, it drives us all,” Rahal said. “You feel like if you’re in the top 10, you’ve been solid. Didn’t used to be that way, but obviously, we’d all like to be on pole. It would be even better. But I think you really have to feel a sense of like accomplishment as a team. MotoGP: Six-time defending race champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda again seized the pole at the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas ahead of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
Marquez has never lost at the track in Austin, Texas, and will be an overwhelming favorite to win again as he chases a sixth season championship in seven years.
The Spanish rider easily captured pole despite a few wobbly moments on the long straight at the Circuit of the Americas. Several riders have been complained about bumpy conditions on the track that was built for Formula One cars and hosted an IndyCar race three weeks ago.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso trails Marquez by four points in the season championship with a season-opening win in Qatar and a third-place finish in Argentina. He'll start 13th on Sunday.