Marc Marquez on
Qatar pole despite broken leg

World champion Marc Marquez stormed to pole position for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on Saturday, just a month after breaking his leg.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:19 PM

The 21-year-old Spaniard, riding a factory Honda, claimed his 10th pole in the MotoGP class and 38th overall.

Marquez, who became the sport’s youngest world champion when he triumphed in his rookie year in 2013, finished ahead of compatriot Alvaro Bautista on a Honda and Britain’s Bradley Smith on a Yamaha Tech3.

Marquez broke his right leg in a dirt-bike accident in his native Spain at the end of February and had admitted in the run-up to the floodlit Qatar race that he was nowhere near 100% fit.

The world champion only got back on his bike on Thursday and went into qualifying having been only fifth fastest in the three practice sessions.

But he charged to pole in a time of 1min 54.507sec with Bautista just 0.057sec behind and Smith, who had suffered a nasty crash in Friday’s final practice, missing out by less than a tenth.

“I’m very happy, after the injury and the loss of half the pre-season. It’s very important to be here on the front row. But the pole position makes me happy,” said Marquez.

“Tomorrow is the most important; it will be very hard as there are many riders on the same pace. Physical condition will also be difficult for me, as I don’t have full power in my leg so I have to use more arms and this is quite hard over long a distance.”

The second row is made up of Andrea Dovizioso on a Ducati, 2010 and 2012 world champion and 2013 runner-up Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha and Dani Pedrosa on the second factory Honda.

“We are still having problems with the rear grip but we are getting closer to the front top riders,” said Lorenzo, who underwent three operations in the winter to mend his collarbone which he had shattered in two falls in 2013.

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