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

Watch: Top 5 heartbreaks in Indy 500 history (video)

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As we near the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, NBC Sports will be counting down some of the top moments in the race’s illustrious history, right up until May 26.

Today’s countdown features the top five heartbreaks, from J.R. Hildebrand crashing on the final turn in 2011 to hand the win to Dan Wheldon, to Robby Gordon running out of fuel in 1999 and leading to Kenny Brack’s victory.

For more Indy 500 coverage, check out NBC Sports Gold for exclusive coverage, and don’t miss the race on NBC on May 26.