Moto2: Marquez just holds off Quartararo at Sepang

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Alex Marquez has just held off Moto2 rival Fabio Quartararo on the opening day of action for the Malaysian Grand Prix, taking the top spot at Sepang by a mere 0.030 from the Frenchman. The two were just fractionally clear of the battle for the final provisional spot on the front row, with Luca Marini holding off fellow Italians Francesco Bagnaia and Mattia Pasini by 0.018 in turn.

The track conditions were tricky for the opening minutes of the second session but with the rain clouds clearing, the Moto2 field were able to get a good dry stint on Friday afternoon. At the end of play, Marquez and Quartararo were the only two riders to venture into the 2:06s, the latter improving from a 13th-place finish in the morning, but it was Bagnaia who had the advantage in terms of the title fight – with sole rival Miguel Oliveira a little further back in eighth.

Between the two, it was Mattia Pasini who completed the top five on Friday and the Italian led FP2 by over a second at the one point after ending FP1 in second. Then the first of the KTMs on the timesheets was SamLowes in sixth, as he just got the better of Oliveira.

Behind the Portuguese rider, Pons HP40’s Lorenzo Baldassarri completes Friday in eighth, with Remy Gardner kicking off his weekend with a solid ninth on the combined times, with the Australian consolidating a top ten place after ending FP1 in seventh. Australian GP winner Brad Binder rounded out the top ten on board his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine, moving up the timesheets after a tougher FP1.

Reigning Moto3 world champion Joan Mir had a late crash at turn 15 in the afternoon, with the rider ok.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer