MotoGP Marc Marquez out
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Marc Marquez will miss next MotoGP race after second arm surgery

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Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is out of Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at the Automotodrom Brno circuit after surgery to repair a damaged titanium plate in his right arm.

Marquez underwent surgery Monday on the arm, which was fractured during a crash in the season opener July 19 at Jerez. The plate attached to his repaired right humerus became damaged because of stress accumulation.

The Repsol Honda Team announced in a release Tuesday that Stefan Bradl will ride the Honda RC213V with MotoGP rider Marc Marquez out at Brno. Bradl will be teamed with Alex Marquez, Marc’s younger brother.

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“After undergoing a second operation on his injured right arm, Marc Marquez and HRC have decided that the World Champion will not ride in the Czech Republic in order for him to recover more,” the Repsol Honda Team said in a release. “In his place, HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will mount the Honda RC213V. In 2019 the former Moto2 World Champion competed in four MotoGP races with a best finish of 10th at the German GP. Bradl has claimed three top ten finishes at Brno from his seven starts in the MotoGP class and only once missed out on points.”

Alex Marquez has finished in the top five of every start he has made as a GP rider at Brno since 2013.

Marc Marquez will remain in the hospital through at least Wednesday while recuperating from his second surgery. Dr. Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery Monday, said a timeline for recovery likely would be known by then.

“The rider has not felt pain during this period,” Mir said in a release Monday. “He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”

Marc Marquez underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.

The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event at Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.