Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez claims pole despite qualifying crash

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

Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez claims pole despite qualifying 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, destroyed 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 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.

Provisional starting grid

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 2m12.161s -
2 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m12.709s 0.548s
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 2m13.009s 0.848s
4 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 2m13.097s 0.936s
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 2m13.183s 1.022s
6 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m13.274s 1.113s
7 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 2m13.413s 1.252s
8 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 2m13.463s 1.302s
9 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m14.185s 2.024s
10 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 2m14.443s 2.282s
11 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 2m14.856s 2.695s
12 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 2m15.340s 3.179s
13 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 2m13.786s -
14 Michele Pirro Ducati Ducati 2m13.823s -
15 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 2m13.971s -
16 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 2m14.132s -
17 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 2m14.332s -
18 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 2m14.843s -
19 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 2m14.994s -
20 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda 2m15.364s -
21 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 2m15.679s -
22 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 2m16.558s -
23 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 2m16.825s -


shares
comments
MotoGP's Malaysian Grand Prix start time changes due to rain risk

Previous article

MotoGP's Malaysian Grand Prix start time changes due to rain risk

Next article

Sepang MotoGP: Zarco inherits pole after Marquez is penalised

Sepang MotoGP: Zarco inherits pole after Marquez is penalised
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Alex Marquez , Marc Marquez
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike? Plus

Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike?

Against the expected run of play at Qatar's Losail circuit, both Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo carved through a resolute Ducati defence to secure back-to-back MotoGP wins for the Japanese marque. After a difficult 2020, it appears that Yamaha has swaggered back into championship contention

MotoGP
Apr 5, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Plus

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue Plus

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader? Plus

Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader?

OPINION: Johann Zarco talked a big game pre-season, and is so far vindicating himself as a factory rider at Pramac after finishing the Qatar GP as top Ducati in second. And contrasting his and Jack Miller's weekends and their approaches, is Zarco emerging as Ducati's true MotoGP leader?

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2021