MotoGP champion Marc Marquez looked like he might have a tough fight on his hands to extend his unbeaten 2014 pole run at Le Mans.

The Repsol Honda star may have been fastest in three of the four practice sessions, however his advantage was never more than 0.189s.

But in qualifying it wasn't even close.

The 21-year-old set the tone by breaking team-mate Dani Pedrosa's 2008 pole record on his first flying lap and finished the session 0.692s clear of the field.

That is a massive amount around the short, stop-go French circuit, best illustrated by the fact that only 0.581s covered second to twelfth on the grid.

"I'm very happy to be on pole and also with the gap between myself and second place on the timesheet," said Marquez.

Rookie Pol Espargaro and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso will join Marquez on Sunday's front row, when Marquez will be seeking a perfect five wins from five races this year.

Team-mate and nearest title rival Dani Pedrosa will start just ninth, with Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo fifth and sixth on the grid.

"Tomorrow will be interesting as my main rivals - Dani, Jorge and Valentino - are not on the front row but on rows two and three. However, I know they will be there in the battle and we must be prepared.

"Starting from pole is an advantage and I will try to capitalise from it and give 100% - as always - to fight for the win."

Asked about a run-on at the first chicane, Marquez replied: "In qualifying you just do your best and try to push 100%. Sometimes you close your eyes and see if you finish the lap!"

As well as the occasional on-the-limit incident, Marquez also had a 'moment' with Andrea Iannone.

"I was a little bit angry because if riders follow me it's not a problem, because I understand, but he used the shortcut at the end of the back straight to try to get in my slipstream, which I feel is a little bit dangerous. I was a bit surprised and went a little bit wide at the next corner."

Marquez usually prefers to race with the harder of the tyre options available, but the soft rear seems to have the edge this weekend.



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