SILVERSTONE: World champion Marc Marquez secured pole for the British MotoGP with a track record time at Silverstone on Saturday as French rookie Fabio Quartararo’s fortune ran out.
Quartararo shone in the first three practice sessions, with the 20-year-old on Yamaha’s SRT satellite bike clocking a track record time on the freshly laid surface Friday and lowering his own mark again in third free practice.
But in fourth free practice and then final qualifying, Marquez for Honda stole the show with a new fastest time of one minute and 58.168 seconds.
The Spaniard, starting from pole for the fourth consecutive race, is joined on the front row on Sunday by Italian veteran Valentino Rossi.
The seven-time MotoGP world champion pushed his factory Yamaha to within 0.428sec of Marquez with the pair joined at the head of British grid by Australian Jack Miller on Ducati’s Pramac.
Free-practice trailblazer Quartararo had to settle for fourth, and the second row, after his effort of 1min 58.612sec.
Marquez leads the MotoGP championship standings by 58 points from Andrea Dovizioso, who sets off from the third row after placing seventh in qualifying.
But the 26-year-old is by no means taking a seventh win of the season for granted after his 60th pole in the top division.
“With this surface and perfect conditions the race will be very physical and demanding,” said Marquez.
“Yamaha are riding a good wave and they’ll be the main opposition.”
One man who may beg to differ on that analysis is Yamaha’s legend Rossi, who had his maiden qualifying lap cancelled for exceeding track limits.
“I’m very, very happy,” said the father of the MotoGP pack, the 40-year-old starting from the front row for the first time since Austin in April.
“My pace is quite good, I had some traffic and had to wait and had to do everything in one go, it was a great lap.”
“I’m hoping now for good weather,” he said of a race that was cancelled 12 months ago due to standing water on the circuit.
The British crowd’s hopes of local favourite Cal Crutchlow taking pole evaporated when he slid off his Honda.--AFP