Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez denies Valentino Rossi pole as rain hits

Marc Marquez denied Valentino Rossi a first MotoGP pole in three years as rain produced a thrilling climax to qualifying at Sepang

Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez denies Valentino Rossi pole as rain hits

Cal Crutchlow claimed third, meaning Jorge Lorenzo - who had been top as the chequered flag flew - had to settle for fourth ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista.

A sudden downpour right at the start of Q2 threw preparations into chaos, although its equally sudden finish - and the high temperatures of Malaysia - meant all the riders were able to brave slicks for the pole shootout.

Lorenzo still found the track treacherous, having to abandon his first run after a big moment and save at Turn 7.

In those conditions his Yamaha team-mate Rossi flew, with his first effort a full three seconds better than the rest of the field.

The track continued to dry however, meaning timing was crucial as riders found massive gains on their final runs.

Lorenzo kicked it off, jumping to top spot before improving to a 2m00.578s as the chequered flag flew.

A host of riders were on quicker laps however, including Honda's Marquez and Pedrosa - who at the time were languishing down in eighth and sixth respectively.

Crutchlow and then Rossi duly demoted Lorenzo, meaning that Rossi stood on the brink of his 50th grand prix pole.

That situated lasted all of five seconds: Marquez came across in a record 2m00.011s to seal pole by three tenths of a second.

Pedrosa's lap unravelled and meant he had to settle for fifth, having set the pace in every session leading up to qualifying.

Bradley Smith, Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaro - who progressed through from Q1 alongside Andrea Iannone - will share the third row.

Stefan Bradl did not compete in the session, and will also miss Sunday's race, after fracturing his right ankle in fourth practice.

The German fell at Turn 1 and appeared to catch his ankle in the astroturf run-off.

Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Marc Marquez Honda 2m00.011s 2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2m00.336s +0.325s 3. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 2m00.359s +0.348s 4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m00.578s +0.567s 5. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m00.692s +0.681s 6. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 2m00.974s +0.963s 7. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 2m01.306s +1.295s 8. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 2m01.635s +1.624s 9. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 2m02.151s +2.140s 10. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 2m02.536s +2.525s 11. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m02.900s +2.889s 12. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 2m01.083s +1.072s 13. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 2m02.858s +2.847s 14. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 2m03.175s +3.164s 15. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 2m03.212s +3.201s 16. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 2m03.418s +3.407s 17. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Ducati 2m03.651s +3.640s 18. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 2m03.805s +3.794s 19. Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 2m04.198s +4.187s 20. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 2m04.310s +4.299s 21. Luca Scassa Cardion Aprilia 2m05.199s +5.188s 22. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 2m06.038s +6.027s 23. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 2m06.203s +6.192s 24. Damian Cudlin PBM-Aprilia 2m06.273s +6.262s 
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