Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez scored his eighth pole position of the year with a late session, record-setting lap time of 2’00.011 at Sepang. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi finished second-fastest, three-tenths off Marquez’s top-time. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow rounds out the front row.
Rains hit the track during the final stages of Q1, ending the session early, but subsided before riders went out for Q2. Portions remained slightly damp during the initial minutes of the final qualifying session though and the first laps were tentative. Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, had a scare during an early flying lap near Turn 7 and promptly headed back to the garage to wait for conditions to improve. The clouds broke as the minutes ticked away and Lorenzo headed back out mid-way through the session. The Mallorcan put up a personal best lap of 2’00.578 during his final rotation, but as others crossed the line afterward his tenure in pole-position ended.
“Today we improved the bike a lot and I feel much more comfortable than yesterday," explained Lorenzo. "I did a long run in free practice which went quite well. Then before qualifying we changed the bike a little and we were able to improve it further. The problem was in some corners, especially in Turn 6 and Turn 7 as it was wet. On my second lap I almost crashed there so I didn't trust the corners to be able to make a perfect lap.”
Rossi was first to knock Lorenzo off the top spot in the final moments, and then Marquez followed suit soon after. For Marquez, it all came down to his last lap of the day because his previous attempt was cut short after running wide. His best lap prior to the record-setting effort was a 2’02.197.
“I'm really happy with this pole position, particularly as earning it was a little different to with my previous poles,” said Marquez. “At the start of qualifying there were two completely wet corners, which made it hard to put in a hot lap as we had to calculate the amount of risk ?whilst still maintaining our speed. I knew that the final lap of the session would be definitive, because the surface was drying out and conditions were getting better by the minute. Things worked out for us and I set a time that I really wasn't expecting. Tomorrow will be a different story, because Lorenzo and Dani [Pedrosa] both have a great pace, so we shall see if we have a bit of good fortune and the conditions remain dry."
Lorenzo heads up the second row, followed by Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa. The two are joined by Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who finished in sixth. Topping the third row is Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in eighth and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro in ninth.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was unable to take part in Q2 after suffering a right ankle fracture in a crash during the final practice session. He was taken into surgery the same day and had two screws inserted to help aid recovery. He will miss the contest at Sepang and plans to meet with the MotoGP medical team in the days before competition starts at Phillip Island to determine whether he can race in Australia.
MotoGP Sepang Qualifying Results 2013:
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’00.011
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’00.336
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’00.359
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’00.578
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’00.692
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’00.974
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’01.306
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’01.635
9. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 2’02.151
10. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.536
11. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’02.900
12. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’01.083
13. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’02.858
14. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’03.175
15. Hector Barbera (FTR) 2’03.212
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 2’03.418
17. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’03.651
18. Randy de Puniet (ART) 2’03.805
19. Michael Laverty (ART) 2’04.198
20. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 2’04.310
21. Luca Scassa (ART) 2’05.199
22. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 2’06.038
23. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 2’06.203
24. Damian Cudlin (PBM) 2’06.273