MotoGP: Marquez storms to Australian GP pole

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Defending MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez stormed to his eighth pole position of the 2015 season in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Marquez has struggled to match Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo across the course of the season, boiling the title race down to the Yamaha riders with just three races to go.

Marquez can still play a big part in the championship battle, though, and dealt a blow to Lorenzo’s hopes of victory on Sunday by claiming pole position earlier today.

The Spaniard produced two laps good enough for P1 during his three Q2 runs, with a fastest time of 1:28.364 giving him a three-tenths of a second advantage over Andrea Iannone and Lorenzo behind.

“I am pleased with how the day went, and of course with pole position,” Marquez said. “Thanks to the team for all their work, we have a good pace for tomorrow and we are ready to fight for the podium and hopefully the victory tomorrow.

“However we must wait and see what happens, because here every day is different; it can be sunny but then all of a sudden clouds can appear, and the key will be interpreting how the track conditions are, in order to have a good race.”

Iannone and Lorenzo posted identical laps with their final Q2 laps, with second place on the grid going to the former by comparing their next-fastest times. However, Lorenzo was far from pleased with Iannone, who picked up a tow from the Yamaha rider during his final lap to improve his straight line speed.

“I was a little bit angry after qualifying, because my real position was second place if I could have been on track alone, but with my tow Iannone was very fast here and the Ducati‘s soft tire for sure helped him to improve two or three tenths of a second and take second from me,” Lorenzo explained.

“This is very important because usually I start better than Marquez, but my starts are the same or maybe even a bit worse than Iannone‘s so this will make the first lap more difficult.”

In better news for Lorenzo, title rival Rossi could only qualify down in seventh place, handing the Spaniard an opportunity to cut the 18-point deficit at the top of the standings in tomorrow’s race.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.