Marc Marquez on pole for today’s MotoGP race at Austin

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Marc Marquez set a new track-record lap at Circuit of the Americas to take the pole position going into this afternoon’s MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Marquez, who began his World Championship defense with a win in the season opener last month in Qatar, lapped the circuit yesterday in 2 minutes, 2.886 seconds on his Repsol Honda to claim the pole.

The Spaniard also paced this morning’s warmup session ahead of the race, which begins at 3 p.m. ET and features a possibility for rain (check out the forecast from NBC’s Austin affiliate, KXAN).

Marquez’s teammate at Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa, will start in the middle of an all-Honda front row following his qualifying lap of 2 minutes, 3.062 seconds. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl logged a lap of 2 minutes, 3.196 seconds and will be on the outside of that row.

Yamaha riders make up the second row of the grid, with Aleix Espargaro, Jorge Lorenzo, and Valentino Rossi in positions fourth through sixth.

Nicky Hayden led the American riders in qualifying and will start 14th on his Honda (middle of Row 5). The other Yank in the field, “Texas Tornado” Colin Edwards, will start 19th on his Yamaha after announcing his retirement at the end of this season during the weekend at COTA.

MOTO GP AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS – FULL GRID

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).