King of the Ring keeps his qualifying crown, but the injured Frenchman runs him close as Viñales completes front row

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made it 10 Sachsenring pole positions in a row as the reigning World Champion holds off a Q2 challenge from injured Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo, the pairing split by 0.205 at the chequered flag as Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completes the from row at the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

Marquez was the first man to set a benchmark Q2 time at a sun-drenched Sachsenring, the number 93 slammed in a 1:20.575 as a shadowing Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) went to P2, the latter then ran off circuit while on another personal best time before Marquez dived into pitlane – a two-stop strategy for the Championship leader? Meanwhile, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) shoved his Ducati onto a provisional front row start before FP4 leader Viñales went to P3 behind Marquez and Rins. However, Quartararo then got the hammer down to displace his fellow Yamaha man from P3 to sit 0.204 off Marquez as the riders headed back into the pits for a fresh set of tyres.

However, Marquez was already on his second flying run and on a new soft-rear Michelin, the Repsol Honda rider set a new all-time lap record. A 1:20.215 moved the goalposts 0.553 clear of his nearest challengers as the undisputed King of the Ring laid down the gauntlet for the riders to try and match. And slowly but surely, that half a second gap started to shrink.

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Miller shaved nearly a tenth off of Marquez’ advantage to go second, before Quartararo went within three tenths of pole position – 0.238 the gap between the top two with under five minutes to go. The flying Frenchman, who suffered a subluxation of the left shoulder in an FP3 scare, was just 0.002 off in the third sector, but could he take P1? Not quite, the gap was down to 0.185 though as both Quartararo and Marquez headed onto their final flying laps – the 20-year-old just behind Marquez on circuit.

Both riders set a red first sector but Marquez was superior in the second. Quartararo then went through his favoured third split in the red, however, so was Marquez. It all came down to the final sector of the session – would Marquez hold on for a tenth straight pole or would Quartararo steal it from the seven-time Champion’s grasp? Marquez went slightly faster and a couple of seconds later, Quartararo crossed the line, but it wasn’t to be for the rookie sensation. Nevertheless, two tenths off Marquez in Q2 at the Sachsenring with an injured arm and shoulder isn’t exactly bad going.