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Marquez takes Austrian MotoGP pole -- by 0.002 seconds!

AFP  |  Spielberg (Austria) 

World champion Marc Marquez, riding a Honda, grabbed pole position today for the Austrian MotoGP, edging the Ducatis of Italian and Spaniard as toiled.

"What a fight! What a pole!" the team tweeted after a dominant performance a week ago in the Czech Grand Prix, the Ducatis arrived in hoping to further trim the huge points lead Marquez has built with five victories in 10 races this season.

Instead, Marquez delivered a fastest lap of 1min 23.241sec in the second and final qualifying session, just two thousandths of a second faster than Dovizioso, the winner in Brno, with Lorenzo, the runner-up a week earlier, third, 0.135sec back.

"It's the same gaining pole positions by a thousandth as by a second," Marquez said after gaining the 49th pole position of his career.

The two will be alongside him on the front row, which Dovizioso said was good enough.

"The front row, that's always the objective," said the Italian.

"I am content with the time that I did, I didn't expect it. The conditions were strange, with the rain we've had." Spielberg has been a happy hunting ground for since the track returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2016.

That year, swept the top places and last season the lead changed hands twice on the final bend as Dovizioso edged Marquez to win.

"Here, it's as if its Ducati-Land," Marquez said.

"They are very fast."

This week, over the first three free practice sessions, again held the upper hand with Dovizioso fastest, Lorenzo second and Marquez only fourth, more than half a second slower than the Italian.

"They struck first in the free practice," said Marquez.

"This was returning like Nadal, now we'll see tomorrow how we take advantage, but all weekend I've felt good."

Marquez gained an even bigger advantage over his closest pursuer in the standings, Rossi (Yamaha). The Italian was not fast enough to make Q2 and will start from 14th on the grid tomorrow.

In Moto2, the duel between the Portuguese Miguel Oliveira (KTM) and Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex), two points behind in the standings, continued to rage. Bagnaia took pole in 1:29.409 with Oliveira next to him on the grid after qualifying 0.310 slower.

In Moto3, Italian (KTM), who leads the standings by three points after (Honda) missed last week's Czech face following a crash in pratice, came off himself on Saturday but still recorded the quickest time. Martin, racing with a broken bone in his left wrist, was second fastest.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 11 2018. 22:35 IST