Marc Marquez of Team Repsol Honda claimed his first-ever MotoGP pole position at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit after topping qualification race of the Motul Grand Prix, on Saturday.
Marquez has already secured his fourth consecutive world championship title. He now has a MotoGP pole position in every circuit on the calendar.
In total, the 26-year-old Spaniard has eight world championship titles, including six in the premier class – MotoGP. Marquez’s other crowns came in the 125cc World Championship in 2010 and Moto2 World Championship in 2012.
Marquez clinched the pole with a timing of 1:45.763 seconds which he recorded in his last lap. He was over a tenth clear of Petronas Yamaha SRT duo of Franco Morbidelli (1:45.895s) and Fabio Quartararo (1:45.944s). The trio will start from the first grid.
Maverick Vinales (1:46.090s) of Yamaha MotoGP will start from the fourth spot, while Cal Crutchlow, who progressed to Q2 from Q1 along with Alex Rins, will take the fifth position in the starting grid.
However, it turned out to be a disappointing outing for Marquez’s Honda teammate Jorge Lorenzo as he will start from the seventh grid after finishing in 19th position out of 23 riders with a timing of 1:48.492 seconds.
Marquez rode eight laps in the 15th minutes of Q2 during which he recorded the highest speed of 305 km/hr.
A persistent drizzle made life difficult for riders in the morning session and Marquez found the wet conditions difficult to handle in the FP3 as he finished second behind Danilo Petrucci of Ducati.
But with skies relenting and track drying up, Marquez made his intentions clear in FP4 where he set the quickest time by showcasing his brilliant riding skills.
Marquez was delighted after claiming his maiden MotoGP pole position at Motegi.
“I’m really happy. This is the only circuit I never got a pole position but today I have achieved that,” he said.
“The conditions were not normal. The track was not completely dry but the entire team did a fantastic job. Now I am aiming at the podium tomorrow. We will do our best as a team and hope to register another win tomorrow,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Crutchlow and Rins grabbed the two spots up for grabs in Q2 from Q1 after finishing first and second respectively.
Repsol Honda’s Lorenzo finished ninth in Q1 to take the overall 19th spot.