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Lewis Duncan

Malaysia MotoGP: Martin grabs pole as title challengers struggle

Bagnaia was forced to go through Q1 after crashing while following Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo in the latter stages of FP3 this morning.

The Ducati rider eased through Q1 with Marc Marquez in tow, ensuring all four title challengers contested the pole shootout session.

But drama ensued across the 15-minute Q2, as both Bagnaia and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro suffered crashes, while Quartararo registered his worst qualifying result of the season.

Pramac’s Martin set the tone with his first flying lap as he set a new lap record of 1m58.021s as he made his bid for a second-successive pole in 2022.

At the end of his first run, Bagnaia – who ran a used rear tyre as a result of using up an extra soft to get out of Q1 – was sixth behind Espargaro, while Quartararo languished down in 11th.

At the start of the second run, Bagnaia had Marc Marquez for company as the Honda rider tried to latch on to the back of the Ducati rider for a tow.

Pushing into Turn 4, Bagnaia crashed just as he’d clicked through the first sector with the fastest split of the session at that point.

Quartararo passed the crash site after the yellow flags had been withdrawn, but was forced to abort his final flying lap when he suffered a front-end moment going through Turn 8 – where he crashed in FP4, picking up a minor finger injury on his left hand.

The Yamaha rider was unable to get around for one final attempt, leaving him 1.4s off the pace down in 12th ahead of Sunday’s potential title-decider.

Just moments after Quartararo had his moment, Aprilia’s Espargaro crashed at the same corner as he looked on course to demote Bagnaia.

While all of this went on, Martin muscled his Pramac Ducati around to a 1m57.790s on his last lap to secure a stunning pole by 0.456 seconds from Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, who starts as the top title challenger in second.

Marquez completed his lap despite losing his reference from Bagnaia, and somehow managed to get his badly behaving Honda around to a 1m58.454s to qualify third.

Marc Bezzecchi heads row two on his VR46 Ducati ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins and the sister VR46 bike of Luca Marini.

Franco Morbidelli made a crucial move up to seventh on his factory Yamaha ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales to demote Bagnaia down to ninth ahead of Aleix Espargaro.

Despite his woes, Quartararo only has the second Suzuki of Joan Mir between him and his two chief title rivals.

Brad Binder will start 13th on his KTM, while Ducati’s Jack Miller was unable to get out of Q1 after suffering a late crash at Turn 2.

He dropped to 14th as a result ahead of RNF Racing’s Cal Crutchlow and Gresini rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio, with Pol Espargaro (Honda) 17th ahead of an under the radar Johann Zarco (Pramac).

Miguel Oliveira struggled to 19th on his KTM from Tech 3’s Remy Gardner after a crash, with Alex Marquez also taking a tumble in Q1 in 21st on his LCR Honda.

The field was completed by Tech 3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez, LCR Honda stand-in Tetsuta Nagashima and RNF’s Darryn Binder.

Q2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 1'57.790  
2 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'58.246 0.456
3 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 1'58.454 0.664
4 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'58.490 0.700
5 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'58.575 0.785
6 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 1'58.579 0.789
7 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'58.654 0.864
8 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'58.766 0.976
9 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'58.862 1.072
10 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'58.935 1.145
11 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'59.145 1.355
12 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'59.215 1.425

Q1 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'58.645  
2 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 1'58.878 0.233
3 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'59.053 0.408
4 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'59.064 0.419
5 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1'59.256 0.611
6 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'59.278 0.633
7 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 1'59.363 0.718
8 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'59.690 1.045
9 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'59.699 1.054
10 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 1'59.803 1.158
11 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 2'00.008 1.363
12 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 2'00.077 1.432
13 Japan Tetsuta Nagashima Honda 2'00.803 2.158
14 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 2'10.717 12.072


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