Australian Jack Miller had to break the outright Moto3 pole record to push Scotland’s John McPhee off the qualifying top spot in today’s final timed session with the RTG Saxoprint going into the session as the weekend’s fastest man.
McPhee set a 2’12.734 in free practice three and was sitting pretty at the head of the qualifying sheets on a 2’12.909 until the final minutes when Miller stuck his Red Bull KTM in front by almost half a second with a 2’12.450.
“The heat is difficult for everyone and, coming from Scotland, it is a bit of a climate change for me. Really happy to be on the front row for the second time this season and a personal best qualifying session for me,” said McPhee, speaking at Sepang.
“We managed to find a good rhythm in free practice three and I was confident going into qualifying. So now the first part is done and now we go into the race strong. Tyre life could be difficult with the heat but we will try to make the first podium.”
It was another session of riders waiting around to either bag a tow or avoid one and at one stage, more than 12 men were dawdling along the start/finish straight, risking a puncture by brushing the pit wall and it was Miller who seized a space and cleared off.
Jakub Kornfeil took the final spot on the front row with McPhee’s team-mate Efren Vasquez in fourth. Alex Marquez bagged fifth despite a crash with Romano Fentati in sixth. Danny Kent missed his final opportunity in qualifying after a late crash and he ended in seventh.
"I'm happy with seventh place but I'm not happy with the qualifying session I had. In the first two runs we put on two used front tyres, and when we put new tyres on the front and rear another rider clipped me and I went down. In the end I could only complete one good lap and the bike was a little damaged. However, I am pleased that in spite of this we qualified seventh. We need to work a little harder to be prepared for the race tomorrow. I'm not as confident as at the last race that we can be up at the front, but you never know," said the Red Bull Husqvarna man.
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