(Reuters) - Honda’s MotoGP champion Marc Marquez took his first pole position of the season in tricky conditions at the Argentine Grand Prix on Saturday with Czech rider Karel Abraham a surprise second fastest on a 2015 Ducati.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow made it two non-factory riders on the front row with third place, just 0.003 seconds slower than Abraham, for the privately-run LCR Honda team.
Marquez made the most of the drying Termas de Rio Honda circuit, after earlier rain, to secure the 38th pole of his career in the top flight with a best time of one minute 47.512 seconds.
It was the triple MotoGP world champion’s fourth successive Argentine Grand Prix pole in the first proper qualifying of the year after last month’s opener in Qatar was rained out and grid positions decided by practice times.
Abraham’s second place slot, 0.763 slower than the Spaniard, on the Aspar Ducati was a career best.
Spaniard Maverick Vinales, who won in Qatar last month on his Yamaha team debut, qualified sixth with 38-year-old Italian team mate Valentino Rossi seventh.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ian Chadband