Marc Marquez will start the 2013 German Grand Prix from pole position after edging out Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi in qualifying at the Sachsenring.

Taking full advantage of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo's absence through injury, Marquez powered to a time of 1min 21.311secs lap, enough to keep the sparring Yamahas of Crutchlow and Rossi at bay by just over a tenth of a second.

A weekend blighted by injuries, most notably those for title rivals Dani Pedrosa - who has since been confirmed with a small collarbone fracture - and Jorge Lorenzo, Marquez came into qualifying with a prime opportunity to add to his pole position tally.

And so it proved, Marquez tussling with Crutchlow and Rossi during the first half of the 15 minute session before pulling ahead with his decisive 1min 21.311secs lap with just over two minutes remaining.

Both Crutchlow and Rossi attempted to respond with their final laps, but both would fall just short, the Tech 3 rider squeezing ahead of his factory counterpart to secure second position.

Despite losing out to the satellite rider, third place for Rossi still marks his first front row start for a MotoGP race since the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril back in 2010.

With Lorenzo ruled out of action in Germany and Pedrosa's participation still fairly uncertain, Marquez is now well placed to pull back the 23 point deficit to his Repsol Honda team-mate in the overall standings.

Home favourite Stefan Bradl, meanwhile, was expected to get into the fight for pole position too following a strong performance during free practice, but his efforts from stymied by an early low-side from the LCR Honda. Though he would quickly get back on track to qualify a still strong fourth, he was a clear four tenths adrift of his main rivals.

By contrast, Aleix Espargaro did live up to predictions of a giant-killing performance on the Aspar Aprilia CRT, the Spaniard just half a second from pole position to qualify in fifth place - the best-ever qualifying result for a CRT machine.

Just two hundredths of a second from usurping Bradl as well, Espargaro's magnificent effort put him ahead of Nicky Hayden in sixth place, the American leading the Ducati charge, Bradley Smith, Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Dovizioso, the prototype riders upstaged by the runaway CRT front runner.

With three main class riders - Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Andrea Iannone - forced to skip the session through injury, the new qualifying format was a chance for lesser heralded CRT riders to make a name for themselves, with Claudio Corti and Danilo Petrucci upsetting their more experienced rivals, including Pramac Ducati rider Michele Pirro, to break into Q2 for the first time.

They will start tenth and 11th respectively, with Pedrosa classified as starting in 12th position should he be able to return to action. The latest from the paddock suggests the Spaniard - who leads the standings by nine points from the sidelined Lorenzo - will attempt to race if he feels fit enough.

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