Madrid: MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez stormed to pole position for Sunday`s Aragon Grand Prix by smashing his own circuit record at the MotorLand track on Saturday.
Jorge Lorenzo will start second as he maintained the pressure on his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in the battle for the world title with Italy`s Andrea Iannone completing the front row.
Championship leader Rossi was well off the pace and qualified down in sixth.
Marquez is third in the championship standings, 63 points behind Rossi with just five races remaining, but is the man in form having won three of the last five races.
The 22-year-old said earlier in the week that Aragon is his favourite race of the year and it showed as he broke his record in claiming pole last season by over half a second to set a new record time of 1min 46.635sec.
However, the Honda rider also suffered a scare on his final qualifying lap when he was lucky to escape uninjured after losing control and flying into the gravel track.
"On the first lap I did a 1:46.6 that even surprised me a bit. On the second lap I made a small error, so I knew I could still better the time and the final time I made the definitive error," said Marquez.
"I tried to push a little more and it is a critical corner. We knew the tyres could be a bit cold on that corner, but I had to push at the maximum because it was my last try in case Lorenzo managed to lower the time a bit more.
"We`ve managed to get the pole position. It was important to start from the first row."
Lorenzo had been quickest in Friday`s two practice sessions, but was unable to match Marquez`s blistering early pace.
However, he was still satisfied as he looks on course to cut into Rossi`s 23-point lead in the title race.
"Qualifying is incredible as always. I lowered my best time in Aragon by 1.2 seconds. It is amazing how the bikes develop and especially in qualifying the times that are being set," he said.
"Marc was very explosive from the start and I had to do everything to try and get to the same time. I am very happy and proud of the work we have done and my lap time."
Rossi never threatened the front row, but is hopeful of a better showing in the race with some overnight work on his bike.
"My pace was also quite good, but with a higher temperature I suffered a lot with the tyres," he said.
"After some laps I slid too much and wasn`t able to find the right rhythm, so we have to work and try to improve the balance so we can enter the corner with better braking."