August 22, 2019
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Marquez secures pole position for Austrian MotoGP

Spielberg, Austria, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- Spanish five-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez secured his seventh pole position of the season in Saturday's qualifying for the Austrian MotoGP event.

The Repsol Honda Team rider posted a fastest-ever lap at the Red Bull Ring in the second round of qualifying, recording a blistering time of 1 minute 23.027 seconds at the 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile) circuit in this central Austrian city.

That time was nearly a half second faster than his three closest rivals in Q2: Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (SIC Racing Team), Italy's Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Spaniard Maverick Viñales (Yamaha Factory Racing).

Quartararo will start second on the grid in Sunday's race, while Dovizioso and Viñales grabbed the third and fourth spots, respectively.

Viñales set the pace early in Q2 by recording a time of 1:23.628 in his second lap, but Marquez leapfrogged his countryman with a time of 1:23.359 in his third lap.

That time would have been sufficient for his record 59th MotoGP pole, but the Spanish great found even more speed after switching to a hard front tire and a soft tire on the back.

With just a few minutes left in Q2 and Viñales having cut his lead to just 0.15 seconds, Marquez blew the field away with his record-breaking lap that eclipsed the previous mark of 1:23.142 set by Italy's Andrea Iannone in 2016.

Viñales found himself nearly a half second behind and then lost his grip on second place when he was leapfrogged by Dovizioso.

Quartararo later inched past both of them by posting a time of 1:23.461 in his final lap of Q2.

On Sunday, Marquez will try to come out on top for the first time at the Austrian MotoGP, the only title on the current motorcycle racing calendar that has eluded him thus far.

The 26-year-old Marquez has had only three chances to win at the Red Bull Ring, which was brought back as a MotoGP venue in 2016 following a nearly 20-year hiatus.

The Spaniard finished second in Austria by the slimmest of margins the past two seasons, losing to Dovizioso by just 0.176 seconds in 2017 and falling short against countryman Jorge Lorenzo by 0.130 seconds last year.

Marquez (210 points) - the three-time defending champion - has a sizable 63-point lead in the 2019 riders' standings over Dovizioso heading into Sunday's race, the 11th of 19 on the MotoGP calendar. EFE-EPA

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