Reigning world champion Marc Marquez continued his MotoGP domination on Saturday at Jerez to secure his fourth straight pole in track record time for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Spaniard’s time of 1min 38.120sec broke compatriot Jorge Lorenzo’s previous record from 2008 by 0.069 of a second and in doing so relegated the Yamaha star to second place on the grid.
Marquez has a commanding lead in the championship standings having won all three races so far this season in Qatar, the United States and Argentina.
And the 21-year-old thanked his team for a new strategy using three different sets of tyres for helping him keep his run going.
“We used a new strategy and on the last run the tyres worked very well,” he said.
“We are performing at a good level and we are prepared to fight for the win, although I think here everything will be tighter and we will need to really push ourselves. It will be a great race.”
Despite losing out on pole and another record to Marquez, Lorenzo was also happy to be moving in the right direction after a difficult start to the season which saw him have to retire from the season opener Qatar and finish down in 10th in the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin last month.
“I am happy, we managed to register some good times and I am comfortable on the bike.
“Second place is good for tomorrow because we are more or less where we were in Argentina and possibly even a bit better.
“Being on the first row is ideal for what will be a very long and physically demanding race.”
Last year’s winner in Jerez, Dani Pedrosa, was back in third and admitted that his Honda teammate Marquez was too good.
“Being on the first row is always important. We tried to do our best in qualifying, but Marc is always very quick over one lap.”
Six-time world champion Valentino Rossi leads the second row of the grid in fourth ahead of Spaniard Aleix Espargaro and fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso.
Finland’s Miko Kallio took pole in the Moto2 category ahead of Sandro Cortese and Luis Salom.
Kallio lies second in the championship standings, 28 points off leader Esteve Rabat, but will have a great chance to cut that gap as the Spaniard could only qualify in sixth.
Another Spaniard Maverick Vinales, who won the second race of the season in the United States and lies just behind Kallio in the standings, also struggled and will start from eighth.
Moto3 world championship leader Jack Miller will also lead from the front on Sunday after claiming pole.
The Australian finished over half a second ahead of Italy’s Niccolo Antonelli and Spaniard Alex Rins in a time of 1min 46.173sec to claim just his third ever career pole.
Having won in Doha and Austin in the opening two races of the season, Miller, riding a KTM, was only third in Argentina last time out as Romano Fenati moved into second place in the overall standings.
However, he will be confident of extending his 17-point lead as Fenati qualified down in 10th and Efren Vazquez, currently third in the title race, also starts on the third row of the grid in seventh. (AFP)