MotoGP Raceweek: Marquez will be 'safer' in Le Mans race
Pole-sitter Marc Marquez will aim to be "a little bit safer" on Sunday after twice crashing at Le Mans ahead of the French Grand Prix.
Reigning MotoGP champion Marquez went down early in FP4 and slid out at turn six after setting the fastest lap in a Q2 that brought mixed weather conditions on Saturday.
The Spaniard matched Valentino Rossi's haul of 55 pole positions in the premier class and is now just three shy of Mick Doohan's all-time record.
A third victory of the season would see the championship leader tie Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo's tally of 47 in MotoGP, though that would still be 42 short of Rossi's leading mark.
Having crashed out from first place at the Grand Prix of the Americas this season, Marquez is keen to avoid a repeat mistake.
"The crash in FP4 was so-so. There was something there. I understand why I crashed but I was very slow and the track was not wet, but it's OK," he said.
"In qualifying and practice, you know the kind of crashes where you start to brake but you crash… I was braking too late and I saw the rear wheel was sliding too much and then I lost the front.
"Light rain was becoming heavy rain. In the first lap [of Q2] I pushed a little bit and it was enough to be in pole. And in the second lap [when I crashed] the strategy was to give everything.
"Sometimes you need to take the risk and it's important tomorrow to try to be a little bit safer."
“Qualifying was not only about the speed but also about the strategy and understanding the track conditions” - @marcmarquez93— MotoGP (@MotoGP) May 18, 2019
A testing qualifying session for the pole man, it wasn't just about setting a quick lap time! #FrenchGPpic.twitter.com/EyR6F9YfEY
ROSSI MAKES LIFE EASIER FOR HIMSELF
Monster Energy Yamaha rider Rossi failed to get out of Q1 at the Spanish Grand Prix and could only finish sixth.
The Italian seven-time champion had to contest the session again on Saturday but made it through and was able to qualify fifth.
"It was very important to get into Q2 so my race was not as difficult as in Jerez," he said.
"In Q2, if we could have made another lap we could have been able to fight for pole, but we had to take advantage of the track in the first five minutes.
"Fifth place is perfect. I feel better with the bike lately."
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
8. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda)
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
11. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
2018: Marc Marquez
2017: Maverick Vinales
2016: Jorge Lorenzo
Conditions could well prove tricky again on Sunday as there is a 50 per cent chance of rain in the area when the race begins.