Rookie Marc Marquez stands a good chance of hauling himself back into the thick of the MotoGP title fight after securing pole position for the German Grand Prix in Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo's absence.
With Lorenzo sidelined from the Sachsenring event entirely and Pedrosa nursing a collarbone injury following an accident during FP3, Marquez made the most of their absence to beat Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi to his third pole position of the season.
Currently 23 points behind Pedrosa in the overall standings after losing ground with his costly Italian Grand Prix retirement, Marquez is now well placed to bridge much of that deficit.
"I'm very happy with this pole position. It's important to start from the front row at this circuit, since it's quite difficult to overtake! I felt very comfortable, especially after the pace I had in FP4. In qualifying I struggled a little to get the most out of the bike, but things went better on our second exit. I think we have done a great job and we will try to do our best, have a good race and fight for the podium, and with a little luck for the victory.”
Referring to Pedrosa's accident in the morning, Marquez admits he has been taking it easier through turn one as a result but is confident he can challenge for a second win of the year.
"After I saw Dani's crash this morning I was definitely a little more cautious going through turn one. I really hope he recovers quickly and can race tomorrow. It will be a difficult race, because Valentino will be fighting also Stefan and Cal, if he's okay physically, will be up there as well"
Asked what the injuries for Lorenzo and Pedrosa mean for his own title chances, Marquez replied: "You never want that situation. Jorge is out - hope he has a good recovery - Dani had a big highside but should make the race. Anyway for me it is the same. I will try to do my best, but I would like to have this pole and the race with both of them there. Then it is the real level. I hope they come back soon."