Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain during qualifying for the German Motorcycle Grand Prix on Saturday. He qualified fastest. - AFP
SACHSENRING (AFP): Spanish MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will start his bid for a perfect nine wins out of nine starts to the season when he qualified in pole position for Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Marquez, on a Honda, will start from the front of the grid for the seventh time this campaign after an almost faultless qualifying session at the Sachsenring circuit on Saturday.
It also included a lap record for the course, eclipsing the previous best set by Australia's former world champion Casey Stoner back in 2008.
Factory Hondas filled the first three places on the front grid, as another Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa, took second, nearly 0.3 seconds behind Marquez, with Germany's Stefan Bradl third.
Yamaha took the next three slots behind, the best performance coming from Aleix Espargaro, on an NGM Forward Racing Yamaha, who had clocked the fastest times in both of Friday's practice sessions.
World championship leader Marquez was clearly much more at his ease in qualifying than he had been on Friday, when he struggled to finish second behind Espargaro, after shrugging off a painful crash in the day's first session.
Marquez hurt his neck in the crash which was caused by a problem with the gears on his all-conquering machine, but showed no ill-effects on his way to pole on Saturday.
Marquez is chasing a ninth straight win of the season with the flying Spaniard on course to have the title wrapped up in record time.
The Honda rider has a 72-point lead in the championship with team-mate Pedrosa and Italy's Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, both of whom have just signed new deals with their respective teams, locked in second spot.
Marquez, 21, already has a successful track record at the Sachsenring having won on his last four visits - in the 125 class in 2010, in Moto2 in 2011 and 2012 and in his first MotoGP last year.
Victory on Sunday will mean he would have won every race across the opening half of the season.
In a stunning season, the defending champion has already become the 13th most successful rider of all-time in terms of wins, having celebrated his 40th victory at Assen two weeks ago.
He now targets a 25th podium in the elite class having become the first rider to claim eight straight wins since the top category was introduced at the start of 2002.
Only six other riders in history having won eight or more MotoGP races in a single season - Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo.