Marquez set the benchmark lap time at the start of the qualifying session.
Just when it looked the triple world champion would claim his second consecutive pole position, Pedrosa produced an impressive lap in the final minutes of the session to storm to pole, his first since the 2015 Malaysian MotoGP.
“I had a good feeling and I tried to make the most of my second lap. I had Marc right behind me so I knew it would be hard for him to set a faster time than me,” ¨Pedrosa said.
It was a disappointing outing for the leading two riders in the championship standings, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
While Vinales took fourth ahead of Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and Tech 3’s Johann Zarco, Rossi starts in seventh ahead of Ducat’s Jorge Lorenzo. Jack Miller and Scott Redding completed the top 10 finishers.
After three races, Rossi leads the championship six points ahead of Vinales who won the first two races of the season in Qatar and Argentina but crashed out in the Grand Prix of the Americas. Marquez is in third place 18 points behind Rossi.