Despite warnings of an impending rain storm, Marc Marquez didn't even complete a flying lap before pulling straight into the pits and asking for slick tyres (pictured) during qualifying for the Australian MotoGP.

All other riders stayed out with at least an intermediate front on the drying track but, although Marquez missed the first half of the 15-minute shootout, slicks instantly proved a wise choice as he then shot to the top.

"The forecast said there would be heavy rain in 10-minutes, so everybody went out and was pushing," Marquez said. "But when I go out, I saw the track was completely dry and I take the risk to go in and change tyres. I lost maybe some minutes, but I put the correct tyres and then pushed at 100%."

The Repsol Honda star continued to improve and, although the other riders later made pit stops, nearest rival Cal Crutchlow remained on an intermediate front and finished 0.792s from the Spaniard. Pol Espargaro, who joined Marquez on full slicks, took third.

"I was a little bit worried because I thought somebody would go in, put a new [slick] tyre and do a better lap. But in the end was enough, the high '30.1s," Marquez said.

The rain meanwhile stayed away until after Qualifying 2 had finished, but is sure to keep riders guessing on Sunday.

"This weekend has been really tricky about the weather conditions. So you need to be fast but you also need to have a clever strategy. So far we've gone out at the correct time, with the correct tyres, every time," he said. "We were able to be in pole position in the first dry session of the weekend. It was difficult because the set-up of the bike was not perfect. But okay we did it and we will see tomorrow because it can be a wet, dry or flag-to-flag race.

"It's incredible. Already when we came here in the pre-season it was more-or-less like this. More temperature, but was raining, then stop, and in five-minutes was dry. Today the wind, plus the sun is quite strong, so it dries the track very quick. It's something you need to understand tomorrow.

"Anyway, I feel ready and I feel comfortable on the bike. But I'm lucky that the title was already done in Japan because this weekend is really difficult to predict."

Marquez's 65th pole is a new official grand prix record.

By Peter McLaren


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