Marc Marquez is a red-hot favourite to win the Aragon MotoGP after roaring to pole position for his home Grand Prix on Saturday where the Spaniard will renew his struggle with French tyro Fabio Quartararo on the front row, with Maverick Vinales third.
Reigning world champion Marquez has won at Aragon for the past three seasons and the 26-year-old set a blistering pace in qualifying before taking pole, 0.327sec ahead of Quartararo.
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Last week, Marquez ghosted along just behind Quartararo for 18 laps at the San Marino GP before finally springing past the Yamaha youngster on the last lap to clinch a captivating win.
It was his seventh victory of the season and Marquez explained he had been determined not to come second again after being pipped on the line in the previous two races at Silverstone and the Dutch GP.
On Sunday, fans at the 5.077km Aragon circuit, just 160km from Honda rider Marquez’s hometown Cervera, can anticipate another mouth-watering duel between the pair.
“Fabio is ready to win a race and, starting next year, fight for the championship,” Marquez said after last week’s race.
Quartararo said he was surprised by his last-ditch qualification for the front row.
“Honestly I did not expect to set this lap time. I was on the limit everywhere and I said okay this lap is really important to be on the front row so I said either I crash or I am in the front row,” he said of his time on the damp track.
Dauntingly, while Quartararo left it all out there Marquez suggested he himself had held back.
“I said let’s do a good lap, but also you need to control the risks. I feel really good. I feel much better than in Misano for example.”
Also on the front row is in-form Spaniard Vinales, who started San Marino on pole and came third.
In the current world standings, Marquez leads Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati by 93 points with six races left to run. The off-colour Italian however placed 10th in qualifying on his Ducati on Saturday.
1. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 1min 47.009sec, 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT) at 0.327sec, 3. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 0.463, 4. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati-Pramac) 0.649, 5. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.724, 6. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 1.006, 7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda-LCR) 1.313, 8. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 1.363, 9. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 1.449, 10. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati)