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Motorcycling: Marquez takes eighth pole of season

World champion Marc Marquez stormed to his eighth pole position of the season for Sunday's (Aug 10) Indianapolis Grand Prix where he will be chasing a perfect 10th win in 10 races.

INDIANAPOLIS: World champion Marc Marquez stormed to his eighth pole position of the season for Sunday's (Aug 10) Indianapolis Grand Prix where he will be chasing a perfect 10th win in 10 races.

The Spaniard clocked 1min 31.619sec on his Honda with Andrea Dovizioso in second place on a Ducati, 0.225sec off the pace. Jorge Lorenzo, Aleix Espargaro and Valentino Rossi filled out the top five places on the grid for Sunday's race.

Marquez, who won at the Brickyard last year as a rookie in the elite class, now has 17 poles in 28 races in MotoGP.

"It is really good to be back on pole after the holidays. I am really happy and it gives us a lot of confidence," said Marquez.

"Our pace is high and if it's dry I think we can fight for the victory. The tyres will be a big decision, especially for the rear."

The championship leader added: "The new layout is good, maybe the old one was better for our bike but overall it's better to ride. The surface is also a lot better, less bumpy and with more grip."

Dovizioso, whose only other front-row start this season came in France where he started in third place, was 10th at the Indianapolis Grand Prix a year ago. The Italian's highest finish at the venue came in 2012, when he took third.

Lorenzo, the 2010 and 2012 world champion, won this event in 2009. He finished behind Marquez and Dani Pedrosa a year ago in a one-two-three finish for Spanish riders. On Sunday, he'll start in the front row for the fifth time this year.

The MotoGP course, reconfigured for this year's event, drew praise from the riders.

While the course still has 16 turns, the overall length is shorter at 4.17 kilometers (2.59 miles) and turns 3, 4, 7, 15 and 16 have been modified. Also, the circuit's entire infield section was repaved, to the delight of riders who complained in the past about the bumpy surface.

"It looks like they did a very good job," said seven-time series champion Rossi of Italy.

Five of this year's riders have competed in the previous six MotoGP races at Indianapolis -- Rossi, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Colin Edwards.

The 40-year-old Edwards, who recently announced plans to retire, is the lone US entry in this year's race.

In Moto2, Mika Kallio of Finland won the pole with a qualifying time of 1:36.883. Australia's Jack Miller had the day's quickest performance in Moto3 with a 1:40.727.