Fabio Quartararo recorded a pole lap before crashing in qualifying in Thailand, while Marc Marquez has put himself in a strong position to seal the championship despite also going down.
Quartararo in fact set a new all time lap record of 1:29.719s on his Petronas SRT Yamaha, with factory counterpart Maverick Viñales and Repsol Honda’s Marquez to join him on the front row.
He became the first rider into the 29s around the Buriram International Circuit when he clocked a 1:29.920s on his second flying lap and that left the Frenchman on top after the first runs.
Viñales went for a two-stop strategy and while the Monster Energy Yamaha rider improved his lap time on his second run, he remained third at the time.
Marquez, who was 0.011s slower than Quartararo on his first run, did not improve at the start of his second.
He was faster than Quartararo to the second sector next time around, only to drop #93 at Turn 5.
Quartararo had by then nearly had a crash of his own at Turn 1, before firing in the 1:29.719s.
He too found time in the first two sectors of his following lap, but then also went down at Turn 5.
With the chequered flag out, matters therefore rested with Viñales, who went quicker but came up 0.106s of pole.
While Marquez, who had a monster highside in Free Practice 1 on Friday, was therefore bumped to third, he is still in a highly favourable position given he needs only to outscore Andrea Dovizioso by two points in Thailand to clinch a sixth MotoGP crown.
Dovizioso did not threaten for pole at any stage and ultimately qualified seventh, third of the Ducati riders.
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha) was exactly half a second away from Marquez in fourth position, ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati).
Joining Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) on Row 3 will be Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), the latter of whom crashed on his first run in Qualifying 2.
Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory), and Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia), make up Row 4.
Cal Crutchlow (Castrol LCR Honda) was first of those on the outside of Q2 having been beaten to the cut by Petrucci and Pol Espargaro, while Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda) is due to start 19th.
Race start is tomorrow evening at 1800 AEDT, with 26 laps scheduled.
Qualifying: Thailand MotoGP
|1||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:29.719|
|2||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:29.825||0.106 / 0.106|
|3||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:29.931||0.212 / 0.106|
|4||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:30.431||0.712 / 0.500|
|5||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1:30.522||0.803 / 0.091|
|6||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:30.597||0.878 / 0.075|
|7||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1:30.692||0.973 / 0.095|
|8||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:30.735||1.016 / 0.043|
|9||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1:30.741||1.022 / 0.006|
|10||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1:30.778||1.059 / 0.037|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.065||1.346 / 0.287|
|12||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:31.258||1.539 / 0.193|
|13||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1:30.969||Q1 / Q1|
|14||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||1:31.388||Q1 / 0.419|
|15||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:31.416||Q1 / 0.028|
|16||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:31.428||Q1 / 0.012|
|17||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||1:31.499||Q1 / 0.071|
|18||53||Tito RABAT||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1:31.554||Q1 / 0.055|
|19||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:31.605||Q1 / 0.051|
|20||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1:31.773||Q1 / 0.168|
|21||82||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.849||Q1 / 0.076|
|22||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAS||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||1:31.979||Q1 / 0.130|