Marc Marquez is on course to become the youngest rider to win five consecutive MotoGP grands prix after securing pole position for Sunday’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
The 21-year-old once again showcased his devastating speed as he claimed his fifth pole position of the season with an impressive display at the Bugatti circuit.
Marquez, who signed a new two-year contract with Honda this week, was almost seven tenths of a second quicker than nearest rival Pol Espargaro on the Monster Yamaha.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso completed the front row in third just two hundredths of a second adrift of Espargaro.
Marquez dominated the session throughout despite running off the track twice. In the end, the reigning world champion ended qualifying with a personal best of 1.32.042s.
Pol Espargaro produced the surprise of the day as his last gasp effort saw him secure the best grid slot of his fledgling MotoGP career.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was fourth fastest ahead of the struggling works Yamaha’s of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who were nearly a second adrift of Marquez.
Alvaro Bautista will start from seventh ahead of Forward Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.
Bradley Smith rounded out the top 10 while Andrea Iannone, who had been running as high as second, was demoted to 11th after officials removed the Italian’s best time for taking a short cut on the circuit.
Australia’s Broc Parkes qualified in 20th position on board the Paul Bird Motorsport Aprilia.
In Moto3, Queenslander Jack Miller was pipped to pole position by title rival Efren Vazquez. The Red Bull KTM, who will start Sunday’s race from second spot, trailed Vazquez by just 0.025s in a hard fought qualifying session.
MotoGP French Grand Prix Qualifying Results
|2||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3 Yamaha||1m32.734s||+0.692s|
|4||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda||1m32.846s||+0.804s|
|7||Alvaro Bautista||Gresini Honda||1m33.006s||+0.964s|
|8||Aleix Espargaro||Forward Yamaha||1m33.015s||+0.973s|
|10||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||1m33.058s||+1.016s|
|11||Andrea Iannone||Pramac Ducati||1m33.102s||+1.060s|
|13||Nicky Hayden||Aspar Honda||1m33.859s||Q1|
|14||Yonny Hernandez||Pramac Ducati||1m33.999s||Q1|
|15||Colin Edwards||Forward Yamaha||1m34.203s||Q1|
|16||Scott Redding||Gresini Honda||1m34.233s||Q1|
|17||Hiroshi Aoyama||Aspar Honda||1m34.457s||Q1|
|18||Karel Abraham||Cardion Honda||1m34.880s||Q1|
|19||Hector Barbera||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki||1m35.499s||Q1|
|20||Broc Parkes||PBM Aprilia||1m35.795s||Q1|
|21||Michael Laverty||PBM Aprilia||1m35.932s||Q1|
|22||Mike di Meglio||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki||1m36.163s||Q1|