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Marquez clinches eighth straight Sachsenring pole in MotoGP qualifying

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Marc Marquez swept to his eighth consecutive pole position at the Sachsenring on Saturday in the MotoGP qualifying session for the German Grand Prix as both Repsol Honda bikes hit the front row of the grid.

Embroiled in a close championship fight with Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, Marquez secured a key victory by taking pole while all of his rivals struggled.

Marquez turned in a fastest lap of 1:27.302 to finish 0.160 seconds clear of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci, who was the lead Ducati rider in P2.

Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, took third place, while LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth ahead of Jonas Folger and Jorge Lorenzo.

On a difficult day for the three leading riders in the championship, Rossi was 1.3 seconds off the pace in P9 ahead of Dovizioso and Viñales, who followed in 10th and 11th respectively.

By taking pole, Marquez has now started all of his last eight races at the Sachsenring from pole position, stretching across all three categories of the motorcycle world championships.

RESULTS: MotoGP German Grand Prix qualifying

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”