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Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) starts the #AustralianGP from pole position in 2017 for the fourth time in a row, with the rider from Cervera missing out only as a rookie in 2013 when Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo took the honours. Since his sophomore season, the number 93 has ruled Down Under...on Saturday.
The reigning Champion joked on Thursday in the Press Conference that when he wins at Motegi, he crashes at Phillip Island - with some truth to the statement. In 2014 Marquez crashed out the lead at the Island after having won the title in Japan - although not the race - and in 2016, he'd taken both the crown at Motegi and the race victory when he then slid out the lead next time out in Australia. But that was then, this is now - and Marquez says his approach with a title still on the line will be different, with one goal.
Marquez: "We planned Qualifying well"
“I’m really happy for this pole position, not just about pole but because we’re in an important moment,” said the reigning Champion. “I did a really good laptime alone which is important in Australia, and my pace is good. But the most important thing is to finish on the podium – and in front of Dovi.”
Having already taken the BMW M Award for best qualifier following pole at the venue on Saturday - the fifth time he's won it in five seasons in the premier class - World Championship number six could move further to within reach if the rider from Cervera can seal the win, but opening the gap remains target number one, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 11 points behind and starting in P11.
“Dovi starts from eleventh," notes the reigning Champion, "but at Motegi he started ninth and by Lap 4 he was already behind me! We’ll try to find just our rhythm and finish the race – that’s the most important. It’s critical – at four o’clock the temperature starts to drop.”
Marquez also says there remains something to be found in the setup and that he’s not “100% comfortable on the bike”, but has shown he holds the best hand so far. Tune in to see how the action unfolds on Sunday at 16:00 (GMT +11).
Highlights: Marquez dominates Qualifying as Dovi struggles