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Marquez clinches eighth straight Sachsenring pole in MotoGP qualifying

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Marc Marquez swept to his eighth consecutive pole position at the Sachsenring on Saturday in the MotoGP qualifying session for the German Grand Prix as both Repsol Honda bikes hit the front row of the grid.

Embroiled in a close championship fight with Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, Marquez secured a key victory by taking pole while all of his rivals struggled.

Marquez turned in a fastest lap of 1:27.302 to finish 0.160 seconds clear of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci, who was the lead Ducati rider in P2.

Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, took third place, while LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth ahead of Jonas Folger and Jorge Lorenzo.

On a difficult day for the three leading riders in the championship, Rossi was 1.3 seconds off the pace in P9 ahead of Dovizioso and Viñales, who followed in 10th and 11th respectively.

By taking pole, Marquez has now started all of his last eight races at the Sachsenring from pole position, stretching across all three categories of the motorcycle world championships.

RESULTS: MotoGP German Grand Prix qualifying

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.