PHILLIP ISLAND: Defending world champion Marc Marquez claimed pole position ahead of Andrea Iannone with Valentino Rossi seventh in Saturday qualifying for this weekend’s Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
The Repsol Honda rider, who is out of the running for this year’s world championship after breaking his left hand last month, clocked a fastest lap of one minute 28.364sec for his eighth pole of the season to start on the inside of the grid on Sunday.
It is the Spaniard’s 30th pole in MotoGP as he bids to win the Australian race for the first time after crashing out last year while leading off the pole and being disqualified in 2013.
“I feel strong. I was struggling a little bit at Motegi last week,” said Marquez. “We have a good pace for tomorrow and we are ready to fight for the podium and hopefully the victory.
Read: Reigning champ Marquez tops practice
“However, we must wait and see what happens, because here every day is different. It can be sunny but then all of a sudden clouds can appear. The key will be interpreting how the track conditions are, in order to have a good race.”
Italian Ducati rider Iannone was a surprise second ahead of Spain’s Movistar Yamaha star Jorge Lorenzo with world championship leader Rossi starting off the third row after finishing seventh.
It was Iannone’s third front-row start of the season and he set an identical time (1:28.680) to Lorenzo, but will start from second on count back.
Read: Pedrosa wins Japan GP, Rossi extends title lead
Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was fourth quickest and will begin on the second row with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow and Spaniard Maverick Vinales.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.
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