Sepang MotoGP: Marquez crashes, takes pole after rain delay

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Sepang MotoGP: Marquez crashes, takes pole after rain delay
Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Nov 3, 2018, 9:23 AM

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez took pole in a rain-delayed qualifying at Sepang, comfortably topping the session despite a crash.

Rain hit the Malaysian track midway through the pre-qualifying FP4 session, its sudden arrival catching out Maverick Vinales, Jordi Torres and Karel Abraham in quick succession.

Vinales, incensed by the lack of rain flags, totalled one of his two Yamahas in his crash, and Abraham appeared to have hurt his left hand – but both carried on to qualifying, whereas Torres was ruled out for the rest of the weekend after suffering a fractured finger.

By the time the first segment of qualifying kicked off, the rain had become torrential, and soon after riders rode out for their Q1 out-laps the action was red-flagged due to standing water on track.

It took over an hour for the rain to ease off sufficiently to allow track action to resume.

Marquez was into the lead with his first effort in the pole shoot-out – and while he only narrowly led Jack Miller and Andrea Iannone at the start, he went over a second clear with his second attempt.

He was again up on his personal best when he suffered a low-speed crash at the Turn 4 right-hander, before remounting his Honda and heading into he pits for a bike change.

Marquez could not improve on his second RCV213, but his rivals couldn't threaten his early time of 2m12.161s.

Johann Zarco came closest at the chequered flag, the Tech 3 rider going 0.548s slower than Marquez to snatch second place from the works Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.

Iannone followed Rossi in fourth, while Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso took fifth after falling on his final lap.

Pramac Ducati pair Miller and Danilo Petrucci were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Suzuki's Alex Rins and Nieto Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista, who had topped Q1.

Marquez's Honda teammate's Dani Pedrosa, Vinales and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, who progressed through Q1 with Bautista but crashed in the pole shoot-out, made up row four.

Michele Pirro, who replaced Ducati works rider Jorge Lorenzo at late notice ahead of FP3, qualified a credible 13th.

KTM's Bradley Smith had led Q1 after the initial runs but crashed at the Turn 11 right-hander, and was consigned to 17th as he couldn't make it to his second bike in time to do another lap.

Thomas Luthi also crashed his privateer Honda, but had done a time good enough for 18th and outqualified Marc VDS team-mate Franco Morbidelli for only the second time this season.

Stefan Bradl, Cal Crutchlow's stand-in at LCR Honda, was 20th, while local hero Hafizh Syahrin propped up the classification and will start 23rd on his Tech 3 Yamaha.

Q2 results

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Time Gap Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 93 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 7 2'12.161     150.988 308
2 5 France Johann Zarco Yamaha 7 2'12.709 0.548 0.548 150.365 297
3 46 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 7 2'13.009 0.848 0.300 150.025 294
4 29 Italy Andrea Iannone Suzuki 7 2'13.097 0.936 0.088 149.926 299
5 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 7 2'13.183 1.022 0.086 149.829 301
6 43 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 7 2'13.274 1.113 0.091 149.727 301
7 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci Ducati 7 2'13.413 1.252 0.139 149.571 306
8 42 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 7 2'13.463 1.302 0.050 149.515 308
9 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati 7 2'14.185 2.024 0.722 148.711 301
10 26 Spain Dani Pedrosa Honda 7 2'14.443 2.282 0.258 148.425 290
11 25 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 7 2'14.856 2.695 0.413 147.971 293
12 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 5 2'15.340 3.179 0.484 147.441 303

Q1 results

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Time Gap Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati 7 2'13.311     149.686 297
2 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 7 2'13.335 0.024 0.024 149.659 303
3 45 United Kingdom Scott Redding Aprilia 6 2'13.786 0.475 0.451 149.154 290
4 51 Italy Michele Pirro Ducati 6 2'13.823 0.512 0.037 149.113 291
5 10 Belgium Xavier Simeon Ducati 7 2'13.971 0.660 0.148 148.948 291
6 44 Spain Pol Espargaro KTM 6 2'14.132 0.821 0.161 148.769 279
7 38 United Kingdom Bradley Smith KTM 4 2'14.332 1.021 0.200 148.548 287
8 12 Switzerland Thomas Luthi Honda 5 2'14.843 1.532 0.511 147.985 286
9 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli Honda 7 2'14.994 1.683 0.151 147.819 285
10 6 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 7 2'15.364 2.053 0.370 147.415 284
11 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham Ducati 7 2'15.679 2.368 0.315 147.073 284
12 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 7 2'16.558 3.247 0.879 146.126 281
13 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin Yamaha 7 2'16.825 3.514 0.267 145.841 285
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