Marc Marquez makes MotoGP history with pole in Japan

Marquez has now earned a pole at every circuit on the sport's calendar, having never previously topped the grid in Motegi.

Marc Marques secured his 90th career pole at Motegi on Saturday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGMENT

It was drizzling for most part of the day at the Twin Ring Circuit in Motegi, but that did stop Team Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez from delivering his best in the MotoGP qualifying round of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan on Saturday.

The 26-year-old nicknamed the ‘Thunder of Cervera’ in his hometown was not pleased with the set-up of the tyres and the machine the other day. But the team quickly got it sorted out and, Marquez found his magical form from there.

The track was quite slippery. It did trouble quite a few riders but not the six-time champion, who showed better grip and balance than the rest in fray. And, he went back to the pits merrier having clinched his first pole ever at this circuit. With this gutsy show, Marquez’s calendar was also complete having won the pole at every circuit this season.

In the free practice sessions held earlier in the day, Marquez finished second in FP3 with a timing of 1:54.884 but he dominated the next like never before to stop the clock at 1:48.940 and, with it, topped the charts in the last of the practice session. That sort of upped his confidence going into the qualifiers.

READ : The marque of Marquez: Six-time MotoGP champion hailed by greats

He started the qualifying round in a rather quiet manner and kept moving ahead on the table. In the fourth lap, he stunned the field clocking 1:45.794 to take the top slot. Known to be the master at the corners, Marc leaned quite far over his bike to time 1:45.763 in the eighth lap to finish on the pole. And, the 40,000 plus crowd gave the world champion a round of applause for his effort and so did the rest in his team.

The riders had also switched across to the slick tyres as they found the dry line and that well reflected on their timings as well.

“It was a tricky day for everybody as it was both wet and dry. FP4 was different one due to the conditions of the track but in the qualifying it turned nice and I was pushing more. I am happy to have got the first pole in the premier class,” Marquez said.

However the Spaniard expects Sunday to be different. “It’s going to be tough and I am quite honest about that. We are not at our best position and so are the weather condition but that’s not going to stop us from fighting for the podium. We will try everything to do just that.”

In terms of tyres, he said it’s more crucial to understand which compound is the best one for this condition. “It will be nice if we can quickly find the right option on the race day.”

(The writer is Motegi on the invitation of Honda India Racing).


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:45.763
2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +0.132s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.181s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.327s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +0.426s
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.574s
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.647s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.664s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +0.795s
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.795s
11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.837s
12. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.853s