Marquez takes MotoGP pole at Motegi

Repsol Honda Team rider Marc Marquez of Spain celebrates his pole position at the parc ferme after the MotoGP qualifying session of the Japanese motorcyle Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Motegi, Tochigi prefecture on October 19, 2019. Photo/AFP

Newly crowned 2019 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) will start the Grand Prix of Japan on pole position here on Sunday.

The six-time MotoGP champion has never been on pole at the Twin Ring Motegi in this premier class but his time of one minute, 45.763 got the job done in the second qualifying session. In doing so, he also clinched his 90th career pole position on a wet day at the track.

The Petronas Yamaha SRT riders did a splendid job with Italian Franco Morbidelli and Frenchman Fabio Quartararo taking the second and third spots in qualifying.

Yamaha MotoGP’s Spanish rider Maverick Vinales will start the race fourth, while LCR Honda’s British rider Cal Crutchlow will start from the fifth spot.

An elated Marquez, happy with his 90th career pole position, said: “It was a tricky day for everybody (due to rain). But in qualifying the track was dry, apart from two corners. We must be honest because the race will be tough due to the conditions. But we are ready to fight for victory and we will try everything to do it.

“We also need to know which is the best tyre compound for the conditions,” he added.  

Earlier, Crutchlow and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were the top two in the first qualifying session and thus moved up to the second qualifying. However, Rins only qualified in 11th place.

In the rain-delayed third free practice session in the morning, Marquez led most of the way but the fastest eventually was Ducati’s Italian rider Danilo Petrucci. Dry patches of the track were beginning to be seen when the Moto2 qualifying was on. The fourth free practice for MotoGP saw dry racing lines even as the riders used soft wet weather tyres and Marquez emerged on top.

Meanwhile, Italians Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took pole positions in the Moto2 and Moto3 categories respectively.

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