Sepang MotoGP: Quartararo takes pole, Marquez crashes

Fabio Quartararo will start MotoGP's Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position, topping a qualifying session in which Marc Marquez crash heavily.

Sepang MotoGP: Quartararo takes pole, Marquez crashes

Petronas SRT's Quartararo put in a blinding 1m58.303s right at the flag to nab pole from fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales.

The lap is the fastest-ever set on a MotoGP race weekend at the Sepang circuit, and came so late that Vinales was already celebrating, thinking he'd taken pole position. 

Franco Morbidelli made it a Yamaha front-row lock-out with third on the second Petronas bike.

Quartararo spent much of the session trying to shake Marquez from his slipstream, the world champion sticking doggedly to the back of the Frenchman every time he went out.

Quartararo did his best to delay the critical final run, hoping Marquez would give up, before biting the bullet with two minutes to go.

But he didn't have Marquez in his tow for long, the Honda rider suffering a spectacular high-side on his way into Turn 2.

Marquez walked away from the frightening accident, but ended up 11th thanks to not setting a time on his final run. That means he's facing his worst starting position since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.

Jack Miller will start from fourth on the best of the Ducatis, joined on the second row by Q1 pacesetter Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).

Suzuki rider Alex Rins, Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Johann Zarco (LCR Honda) were next, while Andrea Dovizioso was just 10th-fastest on the second works Ducati.

Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) was slowest in Q2, off the back of a high-speed low-side during Free Practice 4.

Crutchlow snatches Q1 honours

Crutchlow couldn't have left his run any later in Q1, the Briton only booking his progression into Q2 right at the flag.

Joan Mir and Petrucci had spent much of the session squabbling over the top two spots, the Suzuki rider managing to improve just enough on each run to hang on to top spot.

It was only as the chequered flag flew that Petrucci finally wrestled top spot from Mir, his 1m59.336s putting him 0.038s clear.

It proved to be a decisive position change, too, with Crutchlow beating them both with a 1m59.216s – leaving Mir stranded in Q1.

Jorge Lorenzo, meanwhile, will start a disappointing 18th after falling more than a second short of the Q1 pace on the second Repsol Honda.

His run into the session was compromised by a bizarre shunt in the closing stages of Free Practice 4, Lorenzo suffering a low-speed high-side after running wide at Turn 1. 

Q2 results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 01'58.303
2 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 01'58.406 00.103
3 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 01'58.432 00.129
4 43 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 01'58.725 00.422
5 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 01'58.951 00.648
6 46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 01'59.000 00.697
7 42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 01'59.090 00.787
8 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 01'59.097 00.794
9 5 France Johann Zarco
Honda 01'59.139 00.836
10 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 01'59.173 00.870
11 93 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 01'59.178 00.875
12 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 01'59.640 01.337
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Sepang MotoGP: Morbidelli edges Quartararo in FP3
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