Marquez bags Italian GP pole position, Petrucci clocks fastest speed in MotoGP history

Ducati's Danilo Petrucci hit the highest speed ever in MotoGP -- 356.7 km/h -- ahead of the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Daniel Petrucci clocked 1min 46.056sec, surpassing the previous record achieved by Italian star Valentino Rossi last year.   -  AFP

Defending world champion Marc Marquez snatched pole position for Sunday's Italian MotoGP with the Honda rider setting a new lap record in the closing seconds of qualifying at Mugello.

The Spaniard clocked 1min 45.519sec to break a lap record that was only a few hours old and pip France's Fabio Quartararo, riding a Yamaha, by 0.214sec on the Tuscany circuit.

Italy's Danilo Petrucci, who had earlier achieved a new lap record, was third fastest on a Ducati at 0.362.

Five-time MotoGP champion Marquez will start on pole for the 56th time as he targets a fourth win this season in the sixth round of the world championship series. “It was very hard to achieve,” said Marquez, who tailed Italy's Andrea Dovizioso on the very quick Tuscan circuit where the Ducati rider had earlier set the fastest time ever in MotoGP of 356.7 km/h.

Marquez has won three of the last five races and has an eight-point lead on Dovizioso in the overall world championship standings, having lost points by a fall at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

The 20-year-old Quartararo continued to impress after becoming the youngest ever competitor to achieve pole position in Spain last month, in his debut MotoGP season.

“Marc benefited from a very good aerodynamic drag (behind Dovizioso), I was all alone,” said the French rider.

“The bike is doing very well here,” added Quartararo as his teammate Franco Morbidelli was fourth quickest.

Petrucci saved the honour of local stable Ducati as teammate Dovizioso qualified in ninth.

Australian Jack Miller, riding for the Ducati-supplied Pramac team, was fifth.

Italian legend Valentino Rossi will start 18th on a track where he has won seven times, just behind Spanish former three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who also had a disappointing day in Tuscany.

KTM rider Johann Zarco crashed in the final lap of Q1 and will start in 19th position, once again trailing his new teammate Pol Espargaro, who starts from 12th position in the fourth row.

- Petrucci sets track ablaze -

Ducati's Danilo Petrucci topped Saturday morning's three practice sessions with a new fastest-ever lap at Mugello and also hit the highest speed ever in MotoGP ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, the sixth round of the world championships series.

The 28-year-old also hit the highest speed ever achieved in MotoGP of 356.7 km/h to overtake teammate Andrea Dovizioso's mark of 356.5 km/h also achieved at Mugello last year.

Provisional classification

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:45.519secs
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.214secs
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.362s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.440s
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.510s
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +0.560s
7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.662s
8. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.741s
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.774s
10. Takaaki Nakagami (Ducati) +0.868s