MotoGP Sepang: Pedrosa edges Zarco for pole, Marquez crashes

Dani Pedrosa claimed a surprise pole position for MotoGP's Malaysian Grand Prix, edging out Johann Zarco, as points leader Marc Marquez struggled to seventh after an early crash in Q2

MotoGP Sepang: Pedrosa edges Zarco for pole, Marquez crashes

After topping fourth practice immediately before qualifying, Marquez - who leads Andrea Dovizioso by 33 points heading into this weekend - was favourite to take his eighth pole of the year at Sepang.

But the Honda rider's first hot lap ended in disaster, as he lost the front end at the final corner and fell, forcing him to wheel his stricken machine into the pits and change to his spare RC213V.

In that time, Tech3 Yamaha rider Zarco had established himself in provisional pole with a blistering time of 1m59.636s, helped by favourable track conditions, with Maverick Vinales slotting into second and Pedrosa third.

With five minutes remaining, Marquez came close to toppling Zarco on his first hot lap since his crash, but fell 0.078s short to slot into third, before heading pack to the pits for a change of rubber before his final run.

Amid a late flurry of rapid times, Marquez's factory Honda team-mate Pedrosa took pole off Zarco with a 1m59.568s, which was swiftly followed by a 1m59.498s for Valentino Rossi and a 1m59.236s for Dovizioso just as the chequered flag came out.

That looked as if it might be enough for the Ducati rider, but Zarco found another 0.007s on his very last lap to retake the top spot - before Pedrosa beat them both with a 1m59.212s to take his first pole since June's Barcelona race.

Zarco and Dovizioso complete a front row split by a scant 0.024s, with works Yamaha pair Rossi and Vinales heading up the second row.

Marquez could manage no better than a 1m59.694s on his final effort, which was only enough for sixth until he was demoted a further place by the second works Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo at the finish.

Suzuki pair Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone took eighth and ninth, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who crashed his LCR Honda for the second qualifying session in succession.

Marc VDS Honda's Jack Miller and KTM's Pol Espargaro completed the top 12, the latter advancing from Q1 along with pacesetter Alex Rins.

Missing out on advancing were Pramac Ducati teammates Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding, as well as Aspar Ducati's Alvaro Bautista, who between them form the fifth row.

A late crash for Tech 3 stand-in Michael van der Mark at Turn 5 means he will start his debut MotoGP race from 22nd and last place.

Starting grid

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m59.212s -
2 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha 1m59.229s 0.017s
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m59.236s 0.024s
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m59.498s 0.286s
5 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1m59.538s 0.326s
6 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 1m59.622s 0.410s
7 Marc Marquez Honda 1m59.694s 0.482s
8 Alex Rins Suzuki 1m59.992s 0.780s
9 Andrea Iannone Suzuki 2m00.119s 0.907s
10 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 2m00.181s 0.969s
11 Jack Miller MVDS Honda 2m00.326s 1.114s
12 Pol Espargaro KTM 2m00.770s 1.558s
13 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 2m00.351s -
14 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 2m00.451s -
15 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati 2m00.469s -
16 Bradley Smith KTM 2m00.718s -
17 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 2m01.050s -
18 Sam Lowes Aprilia 2m01.207s -
19 Tito Rabat MVDS Honda 2m01.228s -
20 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 2m01.413s -
21 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati 2m01.570s -
22 Michael van der Mark Tech3 Yamaha 2m02.376s -


shares
comments
MotoGP Malaysia: Rossi leaves it late to snatch FP3 honours

Previous article

MotoGP Malaysia: Rossi leaves it late to snatch FP3 honours

Next article

MotoGP Sepang: Frustrated Marquez says 'everything was wrong'

MotoGP Sepang: Frustrated Marquez says 'everything was wrong'
Load comments
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title Plus

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda Plus

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda

There once was a time when Honda controlled any young rider who emerged in motorcycling, but its market dominance has now swung to the side of MotoGP rival KTM and, to a lesser extent Ducati. Could this development have significant ramifications for the future?

MotoGP
Oct 12, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Plus

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream” Plus

The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream”

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Plus

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Plus

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest Plus

How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino Grand Prix will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP’s present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia’s flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Plus

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021