Le Mans (France), May 18: Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will start the French Grand Prix in pole position despite crashing during a wet qualifying session on Saturday.
Repsol Honda rider Marquez was quickest in Q2 for the third time this season, with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) joining him on the front row.
The Spaniard's first timed lap proved key, with the championship leader caught out by intensifying rain at turn six with 10 minutes remaining in the session.
Marquez was able to continue after sliding into the gravel, but his initial time of one minute, 40.952 seconds was not beaten and he secured his 55th pole in the premier class – moving him level with Valentino Rossi and three shy of all-time leader Mick Doohan.
The wet weather in Le Mans caused problems for Rossi in FP3 and the seven-time champion had to contest Q1 for the second grand prix in succession.
Monster Energy Yamaha rider Rossi recovered to qualify fifth, behind Andrea Dovizioso and ahead of Franco Morbidelli.
Maverick Vinales was fastest in the dry FP2 and wet third practice session, but he was the slowest rider to complete a lap in Q2 and will start 11th.
He will only start in front of Pol Espargaro because the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider crashed on his out lap and failed to record a time.
Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), Marquez's closest challenger in the riders' standings, will start all the way back in 19th.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:40.952secs 2. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): 1:41.312s 3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): 1:41.366s 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): 1:41.552s 5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): 1:41.655s 6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): 1:41.681s 7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda): 1:42.059s 8. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda): 1:42.067s 9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini): 1:42.450s 10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): 1:42.509s