Quartararo becomes youngest MotoGP pole sitter

JEREZ, Spain (AP) — Fabio Quartararo became the youngest pole-sitter in MotoGP history at 20 when he qualified fastest at the Spanish MotoGP on Saturday.

At 20 years, 14 days, the Frenchman beat the previous record set in 2013 by Marc Marquez, who was 20 years, 62 days.

“I never expect that I can make pole position today so it’s really amazing,” Quartararo said. “All the team have worked a lot throughout the weekend, and I want to thank them for making this possible.”

The race on Sunday gives him a chance to become the youngest premier grand prix winner, another record held by Marquez since that same weekend in the United States in 2013.

Quartararo, 10th in the standings after three races, set a lap record in qualifying of 1 minute, 36.880 seconds at the Circuito de Jerez. He was 0.082 seconds faster than Yamaha SRT teammate Franco Morbidelli, and 0.090 quicker than three-time defending champion Marquez, who starts third on a Honda.

It was the first time an independent team finished first and second in MotoGP qualifying since the Japanese MotoGP in 2017.

“For sure it’s really special, it’s incredible,” Quartararo said. “For a rookie team it’s amazing to have a one-two. We hope we can make this more often throughout the season.”

Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso starts fourth on a Ducati.

Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who trails Dovizioso by three points overall, qualified 13th.