MotoGP: Marquez bags pole for Sunday’s Red Bull Indy GP

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Marc Marquez will look to continue his MotoGP rampage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the pole position in Sunday’s 27-lap Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda rider and reigning MotoGP champion picked up his eighth pole of the year today by turning in a lap of 1 minute, 31.619 seconds around the IMS road course. On Sunday, Marquez will look to extend his season-long win streak in MotoGP to an even 10 races.

“It is really good to be back on pole after the holidays,” the Spaniard said to the MotoGP website. “I am really happy and it gives us a lot of confidence. Our pace for tomorrow it high and if it’s dry I think we can fight for the victory.

“The tires will be a big decision, especially for the rear.”

Sunday’s forecast in Indy calls for scattered showers and thunderstorms in the region, with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s.

If Marquez can win Sunday, he will equal a feat of motorcycle legend Giacomo Agostini, who won the opening 10 races of the 1970 season in the top class that’s now known as MotoGP.

Joining Marquez on the front row will be Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (second, 1:31.844) and Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo (third, 1:31.869).

Aleix Espargaro, Valentino Rossi, and Pol Espargaro will go off from Row 2, followed by Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa, and Bradley Smith in Row 3.

Smith fell on his final qualifying lap and sustained an injury to one of the fingers on his left hand according to the Associated Press, but his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team says he’ll be able to race tomorrow.

40-year-old Colin Edwards, the sole American on the grid for Sunday’s race, will start 15th on his Yamaha. Indy will mark the final MotoGP event on home ground for the Texas Tornado, as he is set to retire soon.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.