PORTIMAO, Portugal (AP) — Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez clocked the sixth-fastest time in qualifying on Saturday for the Portuguese Grand Prix, his first race since breaking his arm in July.

The 28-year-old Márquez had been sidelined since he fractured his upper right arm when he crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix last summer. The Spaniard had to undergo three separate surgeries to finally heal the injury and be cleared to race again.

Márquez was applauded by his Honda staff when he returned to the pit lane after his best lap at the Algarve International Circuit. Márquez’s effort was 0.25 seconds slower than pole sitter Fabio Quartararo.

With Márquez out of contention last season, the title race was wide open until it was finally clinched by Joan Mir.

Mir could only manage the ninth-best time on Saturday.

Alex Rins and Johann Zarco will complete the front row beside Quartararo.

Sunday’s race is the third of the season. Zarco leads the standings with 40 points.

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