Marc Marquez romped to his fourth consecutive and eight overall pole position in his rookie MotoGP season at the Sepang International Circuit this morning ahead of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix with the Repsol Honda rider taking the top spot away from Valentino Rossi who claimed his best qualifying position of the year in second while a resurgent Cal Crutchlow took third position for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team.

I'm really happy with this pole position, it was a little different to with my previous poles.

Marc Marquez

The qualifying 2 session got underway after a brief rain shower making conditions very tricky and a number of riders were being cautious on track but it wasn’t the case for Marquez who on his last run registered a mind blowing fastest time of 2m 00.011s and taking the pole from Rossi who with just moments was in the provisional top spot with his best lap time of 2m 00.336s and Crutchlow was also close behind with a 2m 00.359s lap. Stefan Bradl was on the pace this morning but was very unlucky in the final free practice session with the LCR Honda rider crashing and fracturing his ankle and ruling him out of tomorrow’s race.

Jorge Lorenzo decided to take the cautious approach to his qualifying session and after a number of slight moments on his YZR-M1 on the damp areas of the circuit he set a best time of 2m 00.578s seeing him head up the second row ahead of Dani Pedrosa who was on course for a front row start except for a mistake on the final lap caused the Spaniard to cross the line with a best time of 2m 00.692s while Alvaro Bautista secured a 6th place start for the GO&Fun Honda Gresini team with a 2m 00.974s lap.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Starting from 7th place tomorrow will be Bradley Smith for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team with the British rider setting a fastest time of 2m 01.306s ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) with the Italian’s best lap of 2m 01.635s Good enough to stay ahead of the Power Electronics Aspar CRT rider Aleix Espargaro who set a best lap of 2m 02.151s for a 9th place start and taking the final place in the top ten with a best time of 2m 02.536s was Andrea Iannone and his Energy TI Pramac Racing machine while Nicky Hayden set the 11th fastest time of 2m 02.900s.

Marquez was delighted with securing another pole saying, “I'm really happy with this pole position, particularly as earning it was a little different to with my previous poles. At the start of qualifying there were two completely wet corners, which made it hard to put in a hot lap as we had to calculate the amount of risk - whilst still maintaining our speed. I knew that the final lap of the session would be definitive, because the surface was drying out and conditions were getting better by the minute. Things worked out for us and I set a time that I really wasn't expecting. Tomorrow will be a different story, because Lorenzo and Dani both have a great pace, so we shall see if we have a bit of good fortune and the conditions remain dry.”

Rossi was thrilled with his second place start and paid tribute to his team for their work. He said, “I’m very happy about today, from this morning we really improved the bike. We worked hard with the team this weekend and I like the set up a lot, I can really push and have a good pace. Just before qualifying it started to rain and everything became more difficult. I expected it to be full dry but two or three corners were not, I had a big moment on the first lap and I was very happy to not crash, I have to say thank you to my Yamaha! After that I tried to push and I made a very good lap time, especially considering the conditions. Now we wait for tomorrow and I hope it will be dry because I think in the dry we are very competitive.”

Speaking afterwards Crutchlow said he was really happy with his pace especially with the pain in his arm from a crash in Silverstone. He said, “I am really happy to be back on the front row because it was not an easy session at all. It was hard with a dark visor to see where the track was wet and in some corners it was pretty tricky. It was a bit of a lottery with the damp sections and I think it came down to who was willing to take the most risks right at the end when the track was improving. Today’s result is a great reward for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they have done a brilliant job giving me a very competitive package this weekend.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

It has been tough for me physically because of the pain coming from my right arm. I first damaged it at Silverstone but the pain has been pretty bad this weekend and I'm a bit surprised because I felt nothing in Misano and Aragon. The swelling is pretty big but I am really motivated for tomorrow’s race. It is going to be a very tough race in the heat and humidity but hopefully I can put up a good fight. It will be hard for the tyres as well because 20-laps is a long race and the tyres have been going off quite quickly,” Crutchlow added.