Pedrosa snatches late pole in Malaysia
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
|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|