Speilberg, August 11: Marc Marquez claimed his fourth pole position of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix as FIM MotoGP World Championship rival Valentino Rossi endured qualifying woe.
Marquez took a dominant performance across free practice into Saturday's pole-position shootout and took top spot by two thousandths of a second from Andrea Dovizioso, who had dominated the practice sessions.
"Of course I would like to win here and tomorrow I'll start with that objective, but if it's not possible, I'll take points for the championship," Marquez told Repsol Honda website.
Rossi was not even in contention after failing to make it out of Q1, the Italian's troubles in Spielberg continuing as he prepares to start the race in 14th.
That gives Marquez a great chance to extend his 49-point lead, but Dovizioso and future team-mate Jorge Lorenzo are sure to push him all the way.
Lorenzo showed good speed early on and held provisional pole with nine minutes to race, but Marquez was not to be denied as he found enough to edge out his long-time rival.
Last year's winner Dovizioso proved Ducati's pace was not limited to Lorenzo as he came agonisingly close to usurping Marquez.
It was not to be, though, as Marquez and Repsol Honda celebrated his third pole in four races.
But the world champion was wary of the Ducati challenge.
"We must keep pushing, keep working, and remain totally concentrated because Dovizioso and Lorenzo have a very good pace, consistent and fast. It looks like tomorrow will be dry and the warm-up will be crucial for choosing the best tyre for the race; I've tested the soft and the medium, but it will be important to also understand the level of the hard spec," added the Repsol Honda rider.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 1:23.241 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:23.243 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 1:23.376 4. Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) 1:23.503 5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) 1:23.812 6. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) 1:23.887 7. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) 1:23.922 8. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) 1:24.091 9. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 1:24.124 10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 1:24.227
(With inputs from OPTA and Repsol Honda Media)