Marc Marquez became the youngest rider to take a premier-class pole position during qualifying for the inaugural MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday.
Fastest in every session barring FP3 - when he suffered a harsh highside on his out-lap - the 20-year-old Moto2 champion delivered the fastest ever two-wheel COTA time on his opening qualifying lap, then improved by another two-tenths.
The decision not to make a pit stop for a new soft rear tyre proved risky as Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, one-second behind after his first run, later got to within 0.254s of Marquez.
But it is Marquez's name that enters the pole position record books, beating Freddie Spencer. If Marquez can repeat the result on Sunday, he will also take the record of youngest race winner from Spencer, a double 500cc champion for Honda in the 1980s.
"We are happy of course, because we took our first pole position which is important and always exciting!" smiled Marquez.
"We knew beforehand that we could fight for pole, but you never know what will happen in the session. Both Dani and Jorge are fast over a single lap, and we managed to overcome them.
“The important stuff starts tomorrow, because we have a long, physical race with many of changes of direction to deal with. We need to be ready, because tomorrow is what really counts and I will do the best that I can!"
Marquez qualified sixth, finished third and set the fastest lap of the race during his MotoGP debut at the previous Qatar round.
World champion and Losail winner Jorge Lorenzo
will join Marquez and Pedrosa on Sunday's front row. However the Yamahas have struggled to match the Repsol machines all weekend and Lorenzo was over one-second slower than Marquez.