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Austin MotoGP: Marc Marquez claims debut pole

20 April 2013

Rookie Marc Marquez blasted to a debut MotoGP pole during Saturday's qualifying session for the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, Texas.

The new Repsol Honda rider set the fastest ever two-wheel time on his opening flying lap, beating even his best at the private March test, then improved by several tenths on the following lap.

That put the 20-year-old Moto2 champion almost one-second clear of team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who had been the only rider to outpace Marquez at COTA when he led this morning's FP3 - after Marquez fell.

While Marquez did not make a pit stop and thus set his best time on only his second flying lap, Pedrosa put in a late push - which took him to within 0.254s of his young team-mate.

But he couldn't stop Marquez becoming the youngest rider in history to claim a premier-class pole.

Completing the front row will be Yamaha's world champion and 2013 points leader Jorge Lorenzo, albeit over one-second from Marquez. Like Marquez, Lorenzo did not stop for a new (soft) rear tyre, but did ride through the pit lane.

Row two will consist of Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.

Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista was the final rider within two-seconds of Marquez, with Valentino Rossi down in eighth place and a massive 2.359s adrift. Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro will start next to Rossi in ninth for Power Electronics Aspar, after another giant-slaying performance.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati), Bradley Smith (Tech 3) and Texan Ben Spies rounded out the Q2 order. Espargaro and rookie Smith reached Q2 by progressing through Qualifying 1.

Marquez finished third on his MotoGP debut at the previous Qatar round, a race he began from just sixth on the grid.

Qualifying (2):
1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Alvaro Bautista
8. Valentino Rossi
9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Bradley Smith
12. Ben Spies


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