MOTEGI (JAPAN) : After bagging the crown two weeks ago in Thailand, Marc Marquez came here with extra confidence and freedom knowing he had already done the job. Round 16 of the World Championship was a chance for him to relax and race without tension.Having won the MotoGP title six times, a pole position at Twin Ring Motegi Circuit was the only thing eluding the Honda rider. The Spaniard has won here though — twice in MotoGP, once in Moto2 and once in the 125cc World Championship.
On Saturday, Marquez decided to buck the trend as he took his first pole in Motegi in Qualifying 2. By doing so, the 26-year-old has also achieved the feat of securing a MotoGP pole at every circuit on the calendar. It was also the 90th pole of his Grand Prix career and 62nd in the premier class.
“First pole position on a MotoGP bike in Motegi is great. I didn’t know it was the last one,” said Marquez. “It’s a circuit where I usually struggle a bit but the setup was working very well in qualifying and I was able to ride in a different way. It’s important at the home of Honda.”
Having finished third in the combined sheets of Free Practice 1 and 2 on Friday, Marquez had his task cut out in Free Practice 3 and 4. The FP3 took place on a damp circuit amid a steady drizzle. It looked like Marquez would end on top, but Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci snatched the spot with the timing of 1’54.710s. Marquez clocked 1’54.884s.
Marquez put up a better run in FP 4 by finishing first when the circuit became drier in the afternoon.
“It was a tricky day as it was wet and dry,” said the world champion. “FP4 was different due to the track condition. But in Qualifying 2, it turned out to be nice and I was pushing home.”
Marquez will be determined to win as this is Honda’s 6oth year of World Championship racing. The team can also secure the constructors’ title. Sunday’s race will be a milestone for other Honda rider Jorge Lorenzo, who is set for a 200th premier class start.