Quartararo crashes but still takes Buriram pole

Fabio Quartararo pic: MotoGP.com

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

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time Gap 1st/prev
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

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