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Sport

Yamaha's Vinales sets lap record to claim pole at San Marino Grand Prix

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(Reuters) - Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales took pole position for Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix after setting a lap record of one minute, 31.411 seconds in qualifying to edge out Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli in Misano on Saturday.

It was the Spaniard’s second pole of the season and he was 0.312 seconds quicker than Morbidelli. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo will start the race from third on the grid.

“I feel on the limit,” Vinales, who eclipsed Jorge Lorenzo’s all-time lap record of one minute, 31.629 seconds set in 2018, told reporters.

“We tried to take out all the maximum from the bike... for sure we made a good strategy because I saved quite a lot of tyres during the weekend to put everything into Q2. It pays.

“I feel amazing. I had a really good few weeks at home... carried on the good mood and every lap I felt fantastic on the bike... we’re going to try and go at the maximum tomorrow.”

With Misano welcoming fans back into the grandstands with social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, supporters had plenty to cheer as seven-times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi qualified in fourth for his home race.

Four Yamaha bikes claimed the top four places in qualifying for the first time.

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who had earlier been declared fit for the race after having arm surgery following last month’s Styrian Grand Prix, was forced to withdraw due to complications that were discovered during a medical check on Saturday.

Spaniard Pol Espargaro, who secured a podium finish in the fifth round at Spielberg last month, suffered a crash at turn 15 in Q2 to drop out of the top 10.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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