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MotoGP Sepang: Pedrosa snatches pole as Marquez slumps

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa has snatched his first MotoGP pole position since Barcelona today, nicking top spot from Johann in qualifying two with his final lap while team-mate and world champion elect Marc Marquez crashed on his first run and will start from seventh.

Pedrosa struggled in yesterday’s rain but a sunny day in Malaysia with high track temperatures meant the tiny Spaniard was in his element and he scorched to a 1’59.212 to beat Monster Yamaha’s Zarco by 0.017s while title challenger Andrea Dovizioso - who was on pole with seconds left - will start on the outside of the front row.

Marquez went down at the last turn on his opening lap. The multiple world champion was right on the case with Jack Miller in tow but as he turned in to the final corner, his front Michelin gave up and he was a passenger.


The Andorra resident went back for his second bike and was able to turn in some laps but couldn’t find anything to challenge the top three. He had been sitting in sixth place and on row two but a final lap from Jorge Lorenzo pushed him down to row three. It’s only the second-ever time Marquez has missed the top six in MotoGP qualifying.

Crowd favourite Valentino Rossi will start at the head of row two after putting in a 1’59.498 - good enough for pole with a minute left - and he has Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales right next to him.

Lorenzo’s and the works Ducati GP17 banged in a 1’59.622 for sixth as the chequered flag was waved and that lap put paid to Marquez’ second-row slot. Alex Rins fought his way through qualifying one to finish on the outside of row two and in front of Ecstar Suzuki team-mate Andrea Iannone.

The Italian had got into qualifying two by right despite having corner-exit grip problems but lost out to Rins by fractions of a second. Cal Crutchlow crashed out early, going down at turn seven, and will start from tenth.

Miller is 11th with Pol Espargaro, also a Q1 man, 12th after he went down in the first session but scraped through. Danilo Petrucci missed Q2 and starts from 13th with Pramac Ducati team-mate Scott Redding right beside him. Alvaro Bautista is 15th with Bradley Smith 16th.

Loris Baz fell in Q1 and will start from 17th, one in front of Sam Lowes. Michael van der Mark suffered his first crash in MotoGP and will start form 22nd.

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