Rookie Marc Marquez may have taken a debut pole position for Sunday's inaugural Austin MotoGP event, but few will be surprised to see team-mate Dani Pedrosa leading at turn one of the race.

That's because second-on-the-grid Pedrosa has a reputation for making excellent starts, while Marquez lost ground on the opening lap of his first MotoGP race last time in Qatar.

But Marquez went on to beat Pedrosa in Qatar and has held the upper hand throughout private COTA testing and in all but one practice session at the Texas grand prix weekend.

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Nevertheless, with the Yamahas still struggling to keep pace with the Repsol Hondas in Austin, it is Pedrosa that looks to have the best chance of at least delaying a debut Marquez victory.

"The session was a little tense, as in fifteen minutes you only have time for four good laps," said Pedrosa, who made a late qualifying push to get within 0.254s of Marquez and pole.

"Fortunately we didn't have any problems with traffic this time, and I was able to focus and put in a strong lap - faster than all but one in the end!"

"It was a good session, and we took second on the grid which is positive, because Marc put in a fast lap and is close by. We need to try to increase the rear grip for tomorrow and work towards having a strong race."