Bike News

12 October 2013

Marquez charges to pole at Sepang

Never mind the tricky conditions, MM93 denies Rossi his first pole of the season in an action-packed Q2

Amaan Ahmed
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It's been happening for a while now. Silverstone, Misano, Aragon and now Sepang, all have seen that one man snatch pole in succession, and there's very little anyone else has been able to do about it. Marc Marquez has racked up pole position again today, but not before Valentino Rossi almost scored his first pole of 2013.

There was some rain around the circuit earlier in the morning, and then the sun came out for a bit, which meant the track surface went from dry to wet to treacherously greasy. Jorge Lorenzo, out to do the unthinkable, pushed hard from the get-go, but had a massive moment on his very first lap, after which he returned to the pits to bide his time. The others kept going, and Cal Crutchlow, who has had a miserable time since Silverstone, was the first to take provisional pole, which was then taken away by Rossi, and then by Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa, sporting a new Marquez-proof rear sensor cable, had been the quickest in the Free Practice sessions. As the session wore on, Lorenzo headed back out, and towards the end of Q2, put in a fast lap to gain pole momentarily. In the closing stages, Rossi used the slipstream provided by fellow Italian Dovizioso to gain first place once again, and Crutchlow, even as fast as he was, could only slot in below the Doctor on the grid.

But in the midst of all this, no one noticed Marquez putting in one last effort to shoot past the rest, and shoot past them he did with a new qualifying lap record that handed him his eighth pole of the season. Team-mate Pedrosa's last lap only managed to get him fifth place.

Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista took sixth, with Tech3 rider Bradley Smith in seventh and Dovizioso in eighth. Espargaro and Iannone put on a good show, having qualified for Q2 to take the other two spots in the top ten. Nicky Hayden will start from eleventh, while Stefan Bradl, who is supposed to start from twelfth, will miss the race thanks to his Free Practice ankle-fracturing mishap.

We're now down to four races. 100 points to be had. Marquez leads Lorenzo by 39, Pedrosa by 59. He received a penalty point for that friendly contact he made with Pedrosa at Aragon, but even so, a victory for the lad here could most likely be curtains for Lorenzo's campaign, and definitely the end for Pedrosa's. Is there one last twist left in the tale?

Qualifying:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Cal Crutchlow
4. Jorge Lorenzo
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Alvaro Bautista
7. Bradley Smith
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Andrea Iannone
11. Nicky Hayden
12. Stefan Bradl
13. Colin Edwards
14. Claudio Corti
15. Hector Barbera
16. Hiroshi Aoyama
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Randy De Puniet
19. Michael Laverty
20. Danilo Petrucci
21. Luca Scassa
22. Bryan Staring
23. Lukas Pesek
24. Damian Cudlin

Tags: sepang, jorge lorenzo, cal crutchlow, dani pedrosa, valentino rossi, repsol honda, marc marquez, moto gp, motogp

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