Marquez takes 3rd consecutive pole at Indianapolis GP
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Spain's Marc Marquez is living out his own American dream. One more successful chapter Sunday could soon help him get back on top of the world.
The 22-year-old MotoGP star completed Indianapolis' 2.591-mile, 14-turn road course in 1 minute, 31.884 seconds to claim a third straight pole on his adopted home track.
Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa will start second after going 1:32.055, and Movistar Honda rider Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the all-Spanish front row with a 1:32.186.
But the focus was on Marquez. He has six won straight races and taken six of the last seven poles on American soil.
Next up: Breaking a modern-era track record at the historic Brickyard by winning a fifth consecutive race. He won the last two MotoGP races here as well as Moto2 races in 2011 and 2012.
''It looks like here, we are able to be fast,'' the two-time defending world champ said. ''Since yesterday I was able to see that Jorge was really strong, but today we got closer. Tomorrow will be an interesting race.''
Even if the weekend didn't start exactly right for Marquez.
Lorenzo, the 2009 race winner and two-time Indy runner-up, posted the fastest laps in Friday's morning and afternoon practice sessions.
When the clouds arrived Saturday, things changed.
Marquez took the top spot in the morning practice, kept it in the afternoon and held it through most of the 15-minute qualifying session, too. After Marquez produced his pole-winning speed midway through qualifying, everyone else was relegated to futilely chasing him.
Sunday's race won't just be about making history, though.
Another win would send Marquez past Andrea Iannone, an Italian whose four-point lead appears to be in peril after he qualified seventh.
''I'm not so happy,'' said Iannone, who is third in the standings. ''I tried my best every time. I hope tomorrow to win the race and everything is better.''
Others will follow a similar script.
Lorenzo barely found enough speed with new tires at the end of qualifying to sneak past Britain's Cal Crutchlow (1:32.208) to make the front row. There's a 42-point gap between Marquez and Lorenzo, who is second.
Italy's Valentino Rossi has struggled all weekend at Indy and will start eighth. Unless that changes, Marquez is likely to cut the point leader's 65-point lead, too.
With eight races to go, it's anybody's game.
''We already know Indy is difficult, it's a difficult track,'' Rossi said. ''We need to improve and try to make the best of it.''
Marquez goes into this race as the clear favorite. His team has five straight wins at Indy and pole-winners have won the last four at this venue.
It looks like the only good news for Rossi, Lorenzo and everyone else is that there are no more races in the U.S. this season.
But even that may not be enough to stop the hard-charging Marquez, who has a first and second-place finishes in his last two races and is hoping another victory will help him build enough moment to complete an American-bred comeback.
''We will see tomorrow because the tire conditions, it's an important thing here, and it will be a key to the race,'' Marquez said. ''We will try to be our best and try to be there ready for a fight.''
Notes: Alex Rins held off Tito Rabat in another battle of Spaniards to win the Moto2 pole. Rins finished in 1:36.549, while Rabat had a 1:36.686. ... In Moto3, Britain's Danny Kent won his fourth pole of the season with a track record of 1:40.703. Portugal's Miguel Oliveira will start second Sunday after going 1:40.791. ... Garrett Gerloff of Texas beat Bobby Fong of California by 0.036 seconds to win the first MotoAmerica superbike race Saturday. JD Beach, of Kentucky, clinched the series championship by finishing third. The race was red-flagged for about 30 minutes when another Kentuckian, Nick McFadden, crashed between the 11th and 12th turns. McFadden was helped up but limped away.