By Ken de la Bastide
CNHI News Service
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — Winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a high-powered motorcycle is nothing new to Spaniard Marc Marquez, who is the favorite going into Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Marquez set a new track record of 1 minute, 37.958 seconds to grab position one for the Indy MotoGP. He topped the mark set last year by Dani Pedrosa at 1:38.813.
Jorge Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, will start second with a time of 1:38.471 followed by Pedrosa at 1:38.485.
Marquez won back to back Moto2 Grand Prix races at IMS and has twice started from the pole position.
This first year in MotoGP has not been one of disappointment for the 20-year-old, riding for the Respol Honda team. In eight races this season, Marquez has three wins and has not finished outside the top three.
He will be looking to make it a clean sweep of the U.S. races, having already won at the Circuit of the Americas and Laguna Seca.
During all three practice sessions, Marquez topped the speed charts, and he made those times stand-up, winning the pole position for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Marquez said the IMS road course has been a track where he always rides well, and he hopes to continue the trend.
“The track changes quite a lot from the first practice to the race,” he said entering the weekend. “Because in the beginning it’s so slippery. We will try to start in P1 (position 1) and try to do it our way.”
His Respol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, has two wins in 2013 and is the only MotoGP rider to record two victories at IMS in 2010 and 2012. Pedrosa has three consecutive podium finishes at Indianapolis.
“It’s a special track due to the conditions of the track and the asphalt,” he said. “It’s changing quite a bit in the morning and in the afternoon.”
Kentucky native Nicky Hayden will start sixth, and California rider Colin Edwards qualified in the 12th position.
American Ben Spies crashed during the morning practice session, injuring his left shoulder. The injury will prevent Spies from racing this weekend.
Scott Redding will start from position one for the 25-lap Moto2 race. He will be joined on the front row by Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami.
Espargaro won the former 125cc class race at IMS in 2009 and captured the pole position in 2012.
The three riders starting up front for the Moto3 race are also the riders that have recorded victories in four of the the first eight races of the season.
Alex Rins grabbed the pole position followed by Alex Marquez and Maverick Vinales. All three are riding Austrian manufactured KTM motorcycles.
Rins has won twice in 2013 and is coming off a win, Vinales also has two wins on the year. Four-time winner Luis Salom will start 10th in the 23-lap race.