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Bradl on pole after Marquez fall

2013-07-21 06:26

POLE FOR BRADL: Young German Stefan Bradl took pole for LCR Honda at the 2013 US MotoGP at Laguna Seca after championship leader Marc Marquez fell. Image: AFP

Steve Keating

LAGUNA SECA, California - Germany's Stefan Bradl stole pole for the 2013 US MotoGP from championship leader Marc Marquez on Saturday after the latter crashed late in qualifying on the tricky Laguna Seca circuit.

Factory Honda rider Marquez, who had dominated practice at the Mazda Speedway, had been poised to take pole but slid off the track with four minutes remaining.

The mistake opened the door for Bradl, who turned in a blistering lap of 1min21.176 on his non-works LCR Honda to bump Marquez and claim his first career MotoGP pole in his second season in the top category.

LATE CHARGE

"It's incredible," said the 23-year-old. "I didn't expect pole because the guys are able to step up and go faster in qualifying."

Marquez, racing for the first time at Laguna Seca, watched from the pits as the final seconds in the session ticked away but his earlier times were good enough to give him second on the grid.

Spain's Alvaro Bautista made a late charge to take third for Gresini Honda ahead of seven-times World champion Valentino Rossi of Italy on a Yamaha.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow posted fifth-fastest for Tech3 Yamaha ahead of a pair of Spaniards, reigning World champion Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, each back in action after sitting out the previous weekend's German GP with a broken collar bone apiece.

Times from 2013 US MotoGP qualifying
1 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda 1min21.176
2 Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda 1min21.193
3 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 1min21.373
4 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 1min21.418
5 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 1min21.420
6 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1min21.453
7 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1min21.728
8 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati 1min22.026
9 Bradley Smith (Britain) Yamaha 1min22.075
10 Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 1min22.090
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