AUSTIN (AFP) - World champion Marc Marquez set a new lap record on his way to securing pole position for the second race in succession on Saturday at the Grand Prix of the Americas.
The Spaniard, who took pole in the season-opener in Qatar and then went on to win the race under the desert floodlights, clocked a record 2min 02.886sec on the factory Honda at the circuit where he celebrated his maiden MotoGP win last season.
Marquez's Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was second-fastest 0.389sec back, while Stefan Bradl ensured a Honda lock-out of the front row. The German rider was 0.423sec off the top.
"I'm very happy with the pole position," Marquez said. "All weekend it has been going so well, but Sunday is the most important. We will have to push very hard the whole race.
"It will be an important start to the race when the tyres are new, we can make a difference there before they start to slide.
"I'm happy with the base we have and we'll try to fight for the victory. I'm sure we'll be fighting with Pedrosa, he is our strongest rival."
For Marquez, who broke his leg in February in a dirt-bike accident in his native Spain, it was an 11th premier class pole position and it was achieved with a 0.289sec advantage over Pedrosa.
"We made an improvement with the setting today and I am happy with how I'm riding," Pedrosa said. "I'm looking forward to improving a little more.
"We're focused on getting a good start and having a good race. I came second last year so I will look to take one step further tomorrow."
It will be an all-Yamaha second row for Sunday's race, with Aleix Espargaro edging out the star factory pair of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Heading the third row is Ducati's Cal Crutchlow in front of Bradley Smith and Italian Andrea Iannone. Smith and Iannone were both also just over a second behind Marquez.
Row four consists of Italy's Andrea Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro and Alvaro Baustista.