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Marquez recovers to take pole in Thailand

After falling in final practice
Saturday, October 6, 2018


Marquez charges to pole
Marquez charges to pole

MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez grabbed pole position in the inaugural Thailand Grand Prix Saturday, just ahead of Italian great Valentino Rossi.

Due to a crash in Saturday’s Free Practice 3, Marc Marquez was forced out of a top-10 start for the second qualifying (Q2) session.

This forced the 25-year-old Spaniard to grab one of the top-two times in the first qualifying (Q1) session if he wanted to get into Q2 – which he did. The Repsol Honda rider followed that up with the top time in Q2 to become the first rider in MotoGP history to progress from Q1 to Q2 and claim the pole.

The reigning world title-holder burst out front with 1min 30.088secs, 0.011 ahead of Rossi's 1:30.099 as Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top three.

Marquez holds a comfortable 72-point lead over Dovizioso heading into Sunday's race, where he is looking to close in on his fifth world title.

"I was disappointed to be in group one because during all weekend I felt happy with the bike. But we had a problem in FP3 that I had to go out to push for the time. When I went into to change the bike there was no time. The tires were hard for many laps . I crashed. I wasn't able to be in group 2. But this can happen when you work for the race. It can be risky but it paid off today as I won in group one and two," said Marquez.

When 2018 Thailand MotoGP Qualifying wrapped up, the top 10 were within a 0.6 of a second of each other.

Heading up row two is Rossi’s teammate Maverick Vinales, who was followed by LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who retires after 2018 MotoGP, qualified seventh ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco and Alma Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.

Rounding out the top 12 were Alma Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Angel Neito Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista.

So it’s Marquez who creates history to become the first MotoGP pole sitter in Thailand, but he’ll face stiff competition if he’s to become the first winner. 23 races have gone by without a Yamaha victory, but Rossi and Vying are in the hunt to stop the streak, with Dovizioso ready to put a dent in Marquez’ title advantage.

Marc Marquez
“It’s fantastic to be on pole, and it seems it’s a record to have done so going trough Q1 but I honestly would have preferred to pass directly to Q2! This morning we were very unlucky because when we fitted the new rear tire at the end of FP3, we had a little issue and had to quickly swap to the other bike. It wasn’t the same, and I lost the front while I was improving my lap time. Anyway, after that we managed everything in a good way, and in QP1 I was able to ride very well. We’re very happy because a front-row start was our target. Now we have a very important race tomorrow, and a very long one. I’m happy with my race pace but we must wait and see what the conditions are like and where we and our opponents are. On paper, at the moment there are a few riders who should be able to be fast. It will be important to manage the tires and the physical conditions well. Our target will be the podium.” 


1Marc MarquezHondaHonda1m30.088s0.000s
2Valentino RossiYamahaYamaha1m30.099s0.011s
3Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati1m30.227s0.139s
4Maverick VinalesYamahaYamaha1m30.328s0.240s
5Cal CrutchlowLCR HondaHonda1m30.356s0.268s
6Andrea IannoneSuzukiSuzuki1m30.419s0.331s
7Dani PedrosaHondaHonda1m30.458s0.370s
8Johann ZarcoTech3 YamahaYamaha1m30.471s0.383s
9Danilo PetrucciPramac DucatiDucati1m30.599s0.511s
10Jack MillerPramac DucatiDucati1m30.660s0.572s
11Alex RinsSuzukiSuzuki1m30.738s0.650s
12Alvaro BautistaAspar DucatiDucati1m30.976s0.888s
13Franco MorbidelliMVDS HondaHonda1m30.923s-
14Takaaki NakagamiLCR HondaHonda1m30.995s-
15Bradley SmithKTMKTM1m31.207s-
16Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia1m31.243s-
17Karel AbrahamAspar DucatiDucati1m31.374s-
18Hafizh SyahrinTech3 YamahaYamaha1m31.389s-
19Pol EspargaroKTMKTM1m31.399s-
20Xavier SimeonAvintia DucatiDucati1m31.686s-
21Jordi TorresAvintia DucatiDucati1m31.819s-
22Thomas LuthiMVDS HondaHonda1m31.830s-
23Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia1m31.835s-

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