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Pedrosa pips Marquez to Jerez MotoGP pole, heads up Honda 1-2-3

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Dani Pedrosa picked up his first pole position in MotoGP since the fall of 2015 on Saturday at Jerez, topping the timesheets in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Pedrosa edged out Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez by just 0.049 seconds in the final stages of qualifying to take a memorable pole position on home soil.

Pedrosa headed up a front-row lock-out for Honda, with satellite LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow finishing third.

The Spaniard will be chasing his first win of the season on Sunday as he looks to rise from sixth place in the riders’ championship, with Saturday’s success marking his first pole since the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales secured fourth place on the grid, finishing four-tenths of a second off Pedrosa, while Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone was fifth ahead of Tech3’s Johann Zarco.

MotoGP championship leader and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi struggled to seventh in qualifying, and will start the race just ahead of former teammate and erstwhile rival Jorge Lorenzo, who took eighth for Ducati. Jonas Folger and Jack Miller rounded out the top 10.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

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The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.