World Champion sets fastest time and new pole record ahead of Lorenzo and Pedrosa
Marc Marquez showed no sign that he is content with just taking his second MotoGP World title with the Repsol Honda rider securing his 13th pole position of the year, and 50th career pole, at the Sepang International Circuit during today’s qualifying session for the Shell Advance Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in record time ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa and Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo qualifying in third.
I am very happy to have taken pole position, I'm also happy to have broken the record.
Following yesterday’s changing weather conditions the riders were happy to get more dry track time and it was Marquez who put to use the most with his best lap of 1m 59.791s giving him the pole position and pole lap record but the double World Champion pushed it too hard in FP4 and tumbled off his RC213V machine in the gravel walking away unhurt. Pedrosa was also on the pace from the start today and joined his teammate in the sub 2-minute lap times with a 1m59.973s lap with Lorenzo close behind (2m.00.203s).
Stefan Bradl had a good day at the office today on his LCR Honda and qualified in 4th position with a best lap of 2m.00.472s and .231s ahead of Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso in 5th and rounding off the second row is Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi with a 2m.00.740s lap, which he set on his second bike after a crash while pushing hard for pole. Aleix Espargaro heads up the third row for the NGM Forward Racing team and .318s ahead of Cal Crutchlow for the Ducati Team while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith starts from 9th with a 2m01.263s lap.
The top ten is completed by GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista who pushed hard to claim the top Q1 qualifier position and ending up with a best time of 2m02.294s while Hiroshi Aoyama starts from 11th despite a fall in Q2. Pol Espargaro had a nasty incident in FP3 when his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine burst into flames after a machine fault and the Spaniard falling hard and was diagnosed with a broken bone in his left foot. Andrea Iannone didn’t take part in today for the Pramac Racing team after damaging his left arm in a crash on Friday.
Marquez tips teammate to be main rival tomorrow
Thrilled with taking his 50th career pole position, Marquez said, “I am very happy to have taken pole position, because the temperature out on track was very high and it was difficult to do such a good lap! The time was very good - better than I had expected - so I am delighted with how things went today. Let's hope that tomorrow's race is dry, but Dani looks to be a very strong candidate for the win; he has a great pace and we hope to be ready to fight with him from the opening lap! I'm also happy to have broken the record.
Maybe pole positions are somewhat insignificant because they don't give you any points, but you achieve them by being the fastest rider over a single lap. That doesn't mean that you will be the fastest in the race, of course, so the most important thing is what happens tomorrow.” Marquez added.
Pedrosa determined to get back into fight for championship runner up spot
Pedrosa is determined to secure a good result tomorrow saying, “It was a good qualifying session. The times that were being put in were amazing, because in this heat the bikes don't normally go that fast and the tyres don't tend to have so much grip. We will try to have a good race, because the last two have not been great for us. We have a strong desire to take a good result, and we also need one if we want to finish runners-up in the Championship, but the first thing that we have to do is push 100% tomorrow regardless whether it rains or shines!”
Lorenzo ready to challenge for victory
Lorenzo is confident in his machine’s set up and is preparing for whatever weather conditions prevail tomorrow. “I am very happy with third place on the grid,” he said while continuing, “Because I knew that apart from the factory team some of the other Honda riders like Bradl or Bautista were going to be fast too. In the end I managed to claim the front row. I tried to get the pole position, but compared to Honda we needed just a little more acceleration when exiting the corners. I think we are getting closer in terms of race pace. This is probably one of the worst tracks for Yamaha, but I am very satisfied with the work we’re doing.
The bike is very good in all sectors; under braking, corners and acceleration. Tomorrow it will be impossible to ride similar lap times, especially when the tyres start to drop. If you’re able to ride 2’01 laps it will be very good effort for trying to win the race. I would prefer the race to be dry, but if it rains I think we’re ready too.” Lorenzo added.