Riders were greeted with clear but sweltering conditions for Saturday’s final practice sessions and qualifying. It was a welcome change from the mid-day downpour that slowed progress just before FP2 the day before. As riders pushed to make up for lost time some moved past the limit, with Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, suffering an off during the morning session. The Doctor was unharmed in the incident, but another Yamaha rider wasn’t so lucky. Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro took a nasty spill prior to qualifying, coming down hard and suffering a broken foot. Marquez and Drive M7 Aspar’s Hiroshi Aoyama also went down in the final practice sessions, but both were unharmed and able to compete during qualifying. Aoyama bounced back for Q1 and led for the better part of the session until Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista bumped him down to second in the final moments.
In Q2, Marquez became the first rider to ever dip below the two-minute mark at Sepang mid-way through the session while Pedrosa posted his best effort just before the finish. Lorenzo was similarly strong during the final moments of Q2, pushing his way up the ranks to third on his final pass of the day.
“I am very happy to have taken pole position, because the temperature out on track was very high and it was difficult to do such a good lap,” said Marquez. “The time was very good –better than I had expected– so I am delighted with how things went today.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl made it to the top of the second row, the German rider benefitting from a tow from Marquez during the latter stages of the session. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso will start from fifth followed by Rossi in sixth. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro finished in seventh trailed by Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, in eighth and Tech 3’s Bradley Smith in ninth.
Bautista grabbed 10th ahead of Aoyama in 11th. Though he decided not to participate in qualifying, Pol Espargaro placed 12th with his fastest lap from FP3. It’s uncertain at this point whether he’ll be on the grid come Sunday, however.
MotoGP Sepang Qualifying Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’59.791
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’59.973
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’00.203
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’00.472
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’00.703
6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’00.740
7. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) 2’00.801
8. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 2’01.119
9. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’01.263
10. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’02.294
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2’10.568
12. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2’01.885
13. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’02.184
14. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2’02.330
15. Karel Abraham (Honda) 2’02.548
16. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2’02.682
17. Scott Redding (Honda) 2’02.874
18. Alex De Angelis (Forward Yamaha) 2’03.165
19. Danilo Petrucci (ART) 2’03.874
20. Michael Laverty (PBM) 2’04.539
21. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia) 2’04.784
22. Broc Parkes (PBM) 2’05.208
23. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.597