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Marquez throws down the gauntlet with pole at Phillip Island

Written by  Oct 21, 2017

Marc Marquez will be starting from pole at Phillip Island, as the reigning Champion took back the honour on his final lap after being threatened at the top by Maverick Viñales and Motegi polesitter Johann Zarco, who now join the reigning Champion on the front row. Marquez’ key title rival Andrea Dovizioso had a tough session, taking P11. Skies were dry, but it remained far from tropical on the Island.

Andrea Iannone heads up the second row as one of the key protagonists of the 2015 Island Battle was unleashed in Q2, with Jack Miller another notable performance in P5 – equaling his best ever qualifying result, also gained at Phillip Island last season.

Miller is also back on the grid for the first time since breaking his leg in training three weeks ago, making the second row start even more impressive.

Sixth on the grid is yet another stunning display of progress for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing as Pol Espargaro took the marque onto the second row – and in fully dry conditions. Espargaro has a good record at the Island, including the biggest winning margin in Moto2 history in 2012.

Valentino Rossi – the man who led the charge from Q1 – took P7, with Friday’s fastest Aleix Espargaro just behind in eighth. Bradley Smith, who followed Rossi through from Q1, will line up ninth – making it both KTM riders in Q2 in the dry for the first time. In 2014, Smith took his first premier class podium at the venue.

Cal Crutchlow crashed out on a hot lap and was left to complete the top ten, with Andrea Dovizioso just 0.067 seconds behind the Brit. A tough day at the office, ‘DesmoDovi’ will want to replicate his form from the early stages of the Japanese GP, when he moved through from P9 to get in the fight at the front and then take that stunning win. Dani Pedrosa was P12.

Just left behind in Q1, Alex Rins  will start thirteenth, ahead of Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham. Jorge Lorenzo qualified in P16 after a big crash in FP3 – rider ok, but with a sprained left ankle. The Majorcan will be looking to his stunning record at smashing the pain barrier to move forward on Sunday.

source: motogp.com

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