Moto GP: Marquez on pole for home race at Aragon

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Defending Moto GP world champion Marc Marquez has secured pole position for tomorrow’s Gran Premio de Aragon after breaking his own track record during qualifying in Spain today.

The Spanish sensation has set the motorcycle racing world alight since making his premier class debut at the beginning of 2013, becoming the first rookie world champion since Kenny Roberts back in 1978.

In 2014, he has outdone himself, winning all of the first ten races to put himself in a commanding position for the championship. His hopes of a perfect season came to an end in the Czech Republic when he finished fourth, and a crash at Misano meant he could only finish 15th at the San Marino Grand Prix.

This weekend though, he has bounced back to his best form, securing pole position with a new lap record to finish three-tenths of a second clear of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.

Andrea Iannone continued his good qualifying form to secure third place on the grid ahead of Pol Espargaro, while British rider Cal Crutchlow finally found some pace to put his bike fifth on the grid.

Misano race winner Valentino Rossi was forced to qualify for his place in the pole position shoot-out after a disappointing performance in practice, but he rallied to finish sixth in the second session. Jorge Lorenzo will start in seventh for Yamaha behind his teammate.

This weekend sees American rider Nicky Hayden return to the field with the Aspar team after missing the last four races. He will start from 18th place on the grid tomorrow.

For the complete grid, click here.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”