MotoGP Raceweek: Marquez secures pole in France despite crash

Marc Marquez drew level with MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi on 55 poles in the premier class by going fastest in Le Mans.

Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez   -  Getty Images

Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will start the French Grand Prix in pole position despite crashing during a wet qualifying session on Saturday.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez was quickest in Q2 for the third time this season, with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) joining him on the front row.

The Spaniard's first timed lap proved key, with the championship leader caught out by intensifying rain at turn six with 10 minutes remaining in the session.

Marquez was able to continue after sliding into the gravel, but his initial time of one minute, 40.952 seconds was not beaten and he secured his 55th pole in the premier class – moving him level with Valentino Rossi and three shy of all-time leader Mick Doohan.

“Today was one of those days when it wasn't funny to be a rider because in these conditions you don't know whether to stick on wet or dry tyres,” said Marquez.

“With this light rain it's really hard,” added the championship leader. He holds a one point advantage over Suzuki rival Alex Rins, who trailed in only 19th.

Read: Jerez win was mentally tough, says Marquez

The wet weather in Le Mans caused problems for Rossi in FP3 and the seven-time champion had to contest Q1 for the second grand prix in succession.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Rossi recovered to qualify fifth, behind Andrea Dovizioso and ahead of Franco Morbidelli.

Maverick Vinales was fastest in the dry FP2 and wet third practice session, but he was the slowest rider to complete a lap in Q2 and will start 11th.

He will only start in front of Pol Espargaro because the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider crashed on his out lap and failed to record a time.

Leading grid positions after qualifying at Le Mans

1st row

1. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1min 40:952sec, 2. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati) at 0.360, 3. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati-Pramac) 0.414

2nd row

4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 0.600, 5. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.703, 6. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 0.729

3rd row

7. Takaaki Nagakami (JPN/Honda-LCR) 1.107, 8. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Honda) 1.115, 9. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 1.498

4th row

10. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT) 1.557, 11. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 1.603, 12. Pol Espargaro (ESP/KTM) no time recorded