HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL: World MotoGP champion Marc Marquez stormed to an incredible eighth successive German Grand Prix pole on Saturday, as he looks to give his title defence a boost.
The Spaniard, who has also won his last seven races across all three classes at the Sachsenring circuit, snatched the fastest time from Danilo Petrucci with just two minutes remaining of qualifying in wet conditions.
Italian Petrucci will line up second on the grid for Sunday’s race, with Marquez’s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa completing the front row.
Marquez is fourth in the riders’ standings, trailing leader Andrea Dovizioso, who qualified 10th, by 11 points.
“It was quite difficult to understand when to push,” Marquez said.
“I tried to be calm at the start. I was trying to take care and improve the lap time step-by-step. Then at the end I really pushed. I’m happy because it’s always very tricky in wet conditions.”
Petrucci, who finished second last week in Assen behind legendary compatriot Valentino Rossi, laid down the gauntlet early on in the second and final qualifying session.
But five-time world champion Marquez edged in front on his penultimate lap, before further extending his advantage to end up 0.16 seconds faster with his third pole of the season.
“I did my best lap when Marc was behind. He was able to improve again. Anyway, he was faster,” Petrucci said.
“In the dry, we’re a bit more in trouble compared to the wet. Tomorrow we don’t know which weather it will be.”
Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who lost the world championship lead when he crashed out last Sunday, had a difficult day and had to settle for 11th alongside Dovizioso.
The 22-year-old also had a slight bump with Marquez, and although both riders stayed upright, Vinales was furious with his fellow Spaniard.
Briton Cal Crutchlow, home hope Jonas Folger and Dovizioso’s Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo make up the second row on the grid.
The 38-year-old Rossi has had a difficult week, and he could only qualify in ninth position behind Espargaro brothers Pol and Aleix.
The nine-time world champion is third in the world championship, seven points behind Dovizioso and three behind second-placed Vinales.--AFP