- POSTED: 13 Jul 2014 00:28
World champion Marc Marquez will start his bid for a perfect nine out of nine wins this season in pole position after a record-setting qualifying performance on Saturday.
SACHSENRING: World champion Marc Marquez will start his bid for a perfect nine out of nine wins this season in pole position after a record-setting qualifying performance on Saturday.
Marquez, on a Honda, will start from the front of the grid for the seventh time this campaign after an almost faultless session at the Sachsenring circuit.
It also included a lap record for the track of 1min 20.937sec, eclipsing the previous best set by Australia's former world champion Casey Stoner back in 2008.
Factory Honda teammate and fellow Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa, took second, nearly 0.3sec behind Marquez, with Germany's Stefan Bradl third on another Honda.
"We started with a big crash on Friday but step-by-step we regained the confidence," said Marquez, who had come off the track in Friday practice but was the winner at the circuit in 2013.
"Already yesterday afternoon the rhythm was quite good. I pushed and I was able to get a good lap, beating the circuit record. Sunday is the most important, a big race before the holidays."
Pedrosa, who this week signed a new deal to stay at Honda until 2016, suffered a front-end crash at Turn 1, ending his hopes of pole position.
"I had a good pace during qualifying, unfortunately I crashed. Maybe I made a mistake or I hit a bump. It's still good. The front row and start are very important here as it is very tight," said Pedrosa.
Yamaha took the next three slots on the grid, the best performance coming from Aleix Espargaro, on an NGM Forward Racing Yamaha, who had clocked the fastest times in both of Friday's practice sessions.
Behind him were the factory Yamahas of former world champions, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
"Fifth is definitely not what we expected from today's qualifying session, especially because we have a good pace and because we've always been in the top three during the weekend," said Lorenzo.
"In qualifying we couldn't profit from the new tyres and the second tyre didn't have the same traction, I don't know why, it was spinning a lot and felt like a different tyre."
Rossi, who penned a two-year extension to his Yamaha contract last week, also struggled with tyres.
"There was something wrong with the second tyre. It didn't have any grip and it was also very difficult to get the bike back to the box. There was something wrong, so unfortunately I couldn't push," said the Italian veteran.
"It will be hard tomorrow, our competitors are very fast so we have to improve."
Marquez is chasing a ninth win in nine races on Sunday with the flying Spaniard on course to have the title wrapped up in record time.
The 21-year-old Honda rider has a 72-point lead in the championship with Pedrosa and Rossi, locked in second spot.
Victory on Sunday will mean he would have won every race across the opening half of the season.
In a stunning season, the defending champion has already become the 13th most successful rider of all-time in terms of wins, having celebrated his 40th victory at Assen two weeks ago.
Only six other riders in history having won eight or more MotoGP races in a single season -- Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo.