Marquez denies Rossi Sepang pole

Marquez denies Rossi Sepang pole


Marquez denies Rossi Sepang pole


Marc Marquez denied Valentino Rossi a first MotoGP pole in three years as rain produced a thrilling climax to qualifying at Sepang.

Cal Crutchlow claimed third, meaning Jorge Lorenzo who had been top as the checkered flag flew had to settle for fourth ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista.

A sudden downpour right at the start of Q2 threw preparations into chaos, although its equally sudden finish and the high temperatures of Malaysia meant all the riders were able to brave slicks for the pole shootout.

Lorenzo still found the track treacherous, having to abandon his first run after a big moment and save at Turn 7. In those conditions his Yamaha teammate Rossi flew, with his first effort a full three seconds better than the rest of the field.

The track continued to dry, however, meaning timing was crucial as riders found massive gains on their final runs. Lorenzo kicked it off, jumping to top spot before improving to a 2m00.578s as the checkered waved. A host of riders were on quicker laps, however, including Honda’s Marquez and Pedrosa – who at the time were languishing down in eighth and sixth respectively.

Crutchlow and then Rossi duly demoted Lorenzo, meaning that Rossi stood on the brink of his 50th grand prix pole. That situated lasted all of five seconds: Marquez came across in a record 2m00.011s to seal pole by three tenths of a second.

Pedrosa’s lap unraveled and meant he had to settle for fifth, having set the pace in every session leading up to qualifying.

Bradley Smith, Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaro who progressed through from Q1 alongside Andrea Iannone will share the third row.

Stefan Bradl did not compete in the session, and will also miss Sunday’s race, after fracturing his right ankle in fourth practice. The German fell at Turn 1 and appeared to catch his ankle in the artificial turf run-off.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap 1.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 2m00.011s 2.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                2m00.336s  +0.325s 3.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha         2m00.359s  +0.348s 4.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                2m00.578s  +0.567s 5.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 2m00.692s  +0.681s 6.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         2m00.974s  +0.963s 7.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         2m01.306s  +1.295s 8.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                2m01.635s  +1.624s 9.  Aleix Espargaro   Aspar Aprilia         2m02.151s  +2.140s10.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         2m02.536s  +2.525s11.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati                2m02.900s  +2.889s12.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             2m01.083s  +1.072s13.  Colin Edwards     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  2m02.858s  +2.847s14.  Claudio Corti     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  2m03.175s  +3.164s15.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  2m03.212s  +3.201s16.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  2m03.418s  +3.407s17.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati         2m03.651s  +3.640s18.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia         2m03.805s  +3.794s19.  Michael Laverty   PBM Aprilia           2m04.198s  +4.187s20.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Suter-BMW        2m04.310s  +4.299s21.  Luca Scassa       Cardion Aprilia       2m05.199s  +5.188s22.  Bryan Staring     Gresini FTR-Honda     2m06.038s  +6.027s23.  Lukas Pesek       Ioda-Suter-BMW        2m06.203s  +6.192s24.  Damian Cudlin     PBM-Aprilia           2m06.273s  +6.262s