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April 21, 2018

Motorcyling: Marquez on pole for Australian MotoGP

Newly-crowned world champion Marc Marquez will start off pole position for Sunday’s Australian MotoGP as the fastest qualifier.

The Spanish Repsol Honda rider clocked one minute 28.408 seconds in Saturday qualifying to finish ahead of Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow by 0.234secs, with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo a further eight-hundredths of a second away third.

It is Marquez’s 21st pole as he chases his first premier class victory at the Phillip Island circuit.

Marquez already secured this year’s world title in Japan last weekend.

Lorenzo is battling Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi for second place overall in the championship, with the trio separated by just three points.

Lorenzo, who won last year’s MotoGP at Phillip Island on the way to losing the world championship by four points to Marquez, is coming off back-to-back wins at Aragon and Motegi.

Pedrosa was fifth fastest in qualifying after having to go through repechage qualifying while Rossi, a nine-time world champion through the classes, was eighth.

The Italian great, 35, has finished on the podium 14 times in 17 visits to Phillip Island across all three GP classes.

The 4.448-kilometre (2.764 mile) circuit, located on the shores of the storm-tossed Bass Strait, is a season classic for the world’s top riders with its sweeping blend of seven left-handers and five right-handers.

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Motorcyling: Marquez on pole for Australian MotoGP