Buriram - Championship
leader Marc Marquez made history as he became the first rider to climb
out of Q1 and claim pole position at the inaugural Thailand MotoGP on
The Spaniard had to fight his way through the first qualifying
session after a crash in practice, but in Q2 he stormed to a time of 1:30.088 for his 50th pole.
It underlined the superb form of the Honda rider, who holds a
72-point lead over Andrea Dovizioso with five races remaining as he
closes on a fifth world title.
"Of course I was happy how I finished the day," Marquez, 25, told
reporters, describing his morning practice session as "unlucky".
Seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who along with Marquez is a
firm favourite among Thai fans, was 11-hundredths behind Marquez with
Dovizioso third fastest.
Yamaha's Rossi described his time as a "great result" after he
qualified just 18th quickest last month in Aragon, his lowest grid
position since 2006.
However Jorge Lorenzo, who arrived carrying a foot injury and then
damaged his wrist in a heavy crash during practice Friday, is out after
he withdrew before qualifying.
Italian riders Marco Bezzecchi and Lorenzo Baldassarri will start from pole in the Moto3 and Moto2 races respectively.
Thailand's first MotoGP is being held in the rural town of Buriram,
which is several hours' drive from Bangkok and has a population of only
about 30 000.
More than double that size turned out on Saturday, according to organisers.
The 25-lap race is at the Chang International Circuit, the only Formula One-grade track in the country.