Alex Marquez stormed to Moto2 pole position today at the Malaysian Grand Prix, setting the only laptime in the 2:05s to better closest challenger Luca Marini by a stunning 0.488 seconds. Fabio Quartararo completed the front row of the grid at the Sepang International Circuit - with El Diablo 0.666 off the top...
From the outset, it was Marquez who looked menacing and sure enough on his third flying lap, the Spaniard set a sensational 2:05.629 to go 0.692 faster than anyone else. The gauntlet was well and truly thrown down, with Quartararo and Remy Gardner sitting as his two closest challengers in second and third – 0.026 separating the duo, with Marini just 0.009 off a provisional front row with 15 minutes to go.
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The timing screens then went stagnant in Sepang and that seemed to be that, with no one able to vastly improve on their early laps. However, this then changed when Marini went from P4 to P2 with under five minutes remaining, although the gap to Marquez was still 0.488. Quartararo, after being pushed down to third by Marini, then set a personal best but it wasn’t quite enough to improve his position as the standings were set.
So it was Marquez who took pole – despite a late crash at turn one – to continue his dominant weekend, with Marini and Quartararo joining him on the front row. Fourth place went to Gardner, the Australian producing career-best qualifying in fourth to finish just 0.052 off the front row, with Mattia Pasini lining up alongside him in fifth. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia completes the second row ahead of his second match point on Sunday.
His title rival Miguel Oliveira remains close, however. The Portuguese rider was heads up Row 3 and was just 0.068 in arrears - with the duo also having played a little bit of cat and mouse in qualifying. Xavi Vierge ended qualifying in eighth, 0.070 away from Oliveira, with Brad Binder and Marcel Schrötter completing the top ten.
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