Marc Marquez took his 13th pole position of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship season today in Sepang, Malaysia, smashing the outright official lap record in the process and becoming the first rider to dip below the two minute barrier on a race weekend.
|Can he return to the top step tomorrow?
Photo: Repsol Honda
Despite a relatively slow speed tip off earlier in the day, Marquez dusted himself off and blitzed the second qualifying session, posting his record breaking lap with just a minute left on the clock.
Team mate Dani Pedrosa was the only other rider able to break the two minute barrier. The fastest man from day one at Sepang will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix from second on the grid ahead of Jorge Lorenzo rounding off an all Spanish front row.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl showed a glimpse of a possible return to form by out qualifying Ducati hero Andrea Dovizioso to spearhead the second row with race winner last time out in Phillip Island Valentino Rossi rounding out the top 6.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro and Iannone were non-appearances in today’s qualifying action with the Pramac Ducati ace sidelined for the remainder of the weekend due to an injury to his elbow. Iannone had an altercation with new crowned double World Champion Marc Marquez in Free Practice yesterday (classed as a racing incident by both parties).
While the younger of the Espargaro brothers suffered a broken second metatarsal in his left foot, following a spectacular high side caused by a mechanical complication with his Tech 3 Yamaha during FP3. His condition is due to be assessed tomorrow before the race, where he could end up starting from 12th on the grid if he is able to ride.
Pole sitter Marc Marquez said: “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! The time was very good – better than I had expected – so I am delighted with how things went today. Let’s hope that tomorrow’s race is dry, but Dani looks to be a very strong candidate for the win; he has a great pace and we hope to be ready to fight with him from the opening lap! I’m also happy to have broken the record. Maybe pole positions are somewhat insignificant because they don’t give you any points, but you achieve them by being the fastest rider over a single lap. That doesn’t mean that you will be the fastest in the race, of course, so the most important thing is what happens tomorrow.”
A full list of times from Q1/Q2 can be found on the official motogp.com website here.