Pedrosa snatches late pole in Malaysia

Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa took until the last moment to score pole position for the Malaysian MotoGP as Marc Marquez qualified seventh after a crash.

Valentino Rossi was fastest when the chequered flag flew at the end of Q2 but will start fourth after a scintillating end to the session, in which outside championship hope Andrea Dovizioso finished third-fastest.

Pedrosa set a 1:59.212s well after the clock had gone zero on the 15-minute session, the Repsol Honda rider securing his third pole of the season.

He was actually the fourth man to hold provisional pole after the chequered flag, with Dovizioso bumping Rossi and then Zarco bumping Dovizioso.

“Of course you have to take risks; I made a couple of mistakes in my last run,” said Pedrosa.

“I’m very happy because a third pole of the year is very positive; normally I don’t get so many poles.

“We hope tomorrow to have a dry race because yesterday in the wet we struggled a lot.”

Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha), who had held top spot after the first runs, needed only another 0.017s to finish in first position, but will instead start middle of the front row.

For Dovizioso, who in turn was only 0.007s slower than Zarco, a front row start is important for the factory Ducati man’s title hopes as he trails Marquez by 33 points with just two races remaining.

Rossi will share Row 2 with Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Viñales and factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez crashed on his first flying lap and while he regrouped to temporarily take his Repsol Honda to third, he was not fast enough in his final run and was bumped back to seventh.

He will start next to the factory Suzukis of Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone, the former of whom topped Q1.

A crash brought Cal Crutchlow’s (LCR Honda) afternoon to an early end as he qualified 10th, with Jack Miller (Marc VDS Honda) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) also on Row 4.

Espargaro was the other man to come through Q1 as all of the heavy-hitters had already earned direct passage to the second quarter-hour hit-out.

Michael van der Mark, filling in for ill Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger, crashed in his first ever MotoGP qualifying session and will start last in the 22-bike field.

The second-last race of the year will run over 20 laps tomorrow from 1800 AEDT.

Qualifying: Malaysian Grand Prix

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/prev
1 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’59.212
2 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’59.229 0.017 / 0.017
3 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’59.236 0.024 / 0.007
4 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’59.498 0.286 / 0.262
5 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’59.538 0.326 / 0.040
6 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 1’59.622 0.410 / 0.084
7 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’59.694 0.482 / 0.072
8 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 1’59.992 0.780 / 0.298
9 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 2’00.119 0.907 / 0.127
10 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 2’00.181 0.969 / 0.062
11 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 2’00.326 1.114 / 0.145
12 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2’00.770 1.558 / 0.444
13 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 2’00.351 Q1 / Q1
14 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 2’00.451 Q1 / 0.100
15 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 2’00.469 Q1 / 0.018
16 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2’00.718 Q1 / 0.249
17 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 2’01.050 Q1 / 0.332
18 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2’01.207 Q1 / 0.157
19 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 2’01.228 Q1 / 0.021
20 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 2’01.413 Q1 / 0.185
21 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 2’01.570 Q1 / 0.157
22 60 Michael VAN DER MARK NED Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2’02.376 Q1 / 0.806

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