PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia – Newly-crowned world champion Marc Marquez stormed to his fifth straight Australian Moto GP pole on Saturday as the Spaniard continues his dominance of the sport.
The super-consistent Honda star clocked a fastest lap of one minute, 29.199 seconds around the demanding 4.4-kilometre Phillip Island circuit on a day of intermittent sunshine and showers.
Maverick Vinales, who finished on the podium in Australia last year, was 0.310 off the pace and will begin Sunday’s race from second with fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco in third.
Italy’s Andrea Iannone, who dominated the free practice sessions on his Suzuki, Alex Rins (Suzuki) and local hope Jack Miller (Ducati) fill the second row of the grid.
Veteran Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) are behind them.
“I was doing quick laps, the corners were really fast, and there were small drops of rain on my visor. It was hard, and I just tried to take care,” said Marquez.
The Spaniard, who has an insurmountable 102-point lead from Dovizioso at the top of the standings, is defending his Australian title after winning last year ahead of Rossi.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. He came off his bike again on Saturday in morning practice, but was unhurt.
Remarkably for the world champion, he is the most crashed rider of 2018 in the premier class, tumbling off 20 times so far this season.