Mar­quez qual­i­fies on pole for Aus­tralian Mo­toGP

Motorcycling

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - SPORT -

World cham­pi­onship leader Marc Mar­quez will start from pole po­si­tion in to­day’s Aus­tralian Mo­toGP af­ter set­ting the fastest time in qual­i­fy­ing at the Phillip Is­land cir­cuit yes­ter­day.

Rain yes­ter­day morn­ing gave way to sunny, dry con­di­tions for af­ter­noon qual­i­fy­ing.

Spain’s Mar­quez, on a Honda, set the pace with a best lap of 1 minute, 28.386 sec­onds, 0.333 sec­onds ahead of com­pa­triot Mav­er­ick Vi­nales, rid­ing a Yamaha. It will be his sev­enth pole of the sea­son.

Jo­han Zarco of France qual­i­fied third on a Yamaha, 0.358 sec­onds be­hind Mar­quez, while An­drea Ian­none of Italy, on a Suzuki, edged Aus­tralia’s Jack Miller out of fourth place.

The reign­ing cham­pion took back the hon­our on his fi­nal lap af­ter be­ing threat­ened at the top by Mav­er­ick Viñales (Mo­vis­tar Yamaha Mo­toGP) and Motegi pole­sit­ter Jo­hann Zarco (Mon­ster Yamaha Tech 3), who now join the reign­ing Cham­pion on the front row. Mar­quez’ key ti­tle ri­val An­drea Dovizioso (Du­cati Team) had a tough ses­sion, tak­ing P11. Skies were dry, but it re­mained far from trop­i­cal on the Is­land.

An­drea Ian­none (Team Suzuki Ec­star) heads up the se­cond row as one of the key pro­tag­o­nists of the 2015 Is­land Bat­tle was un­leashed in Q2, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) another no­table per­for­mance in P5 – equal­ing his best ever qual­i­fy­ing re­sult, also gained at Phillip Is­land last sea­son. Miller is also back on the grid for the first time since break­ing his leg in train­ing three weeks ago, mak­ing the se­cond row start even more im­pres­sive.

Sixth on the grid is yet another stun­ning dis­play of progress for Red Bull KTM Fac­tory Rac­ing as Pol Es­par­garo took the mar­que onto the se­cond row – and in fully dry con­di­tions. Es­par­garo has a good record at the Is­land, in­clud­ing the biggest win­ning mar­gin in Moto2™ his­tory in 2012.

Italy’s Valentino Rossi will start sev­enth af­ter set­ting the pace in the first qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion.

Mar­quez leads the cham­pi­onship by 11 points from An­drea Dovizioso who qual­i­fied 11th.

Spain’s Mo­toGP rider Marc Mar­quez steers his Honda dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing Photo: AP

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