MotoGP: Honda’s Marquez Earns 8th Pole at Sepang

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez

2013 Sepang Qualifying Results

With a 39-point advantage over his rival Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez can't let his guard down for a second during the final four rounds of 2013 MotoGP.

As the 20-year-old rookie chases the premier-class title, he earned his eight pole of 2013 MotoGP Saturday at Sepang International Circuit. Marquez will also be starting from the first position for the fourth consecutive race.

En route to the pole, Marquez's lap of 2:00.11 became the new best pole at Sepang, the Spaniard beating Casey Stoner's record set six years ago.

Joining Marquez on the front row will be nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, respectively. Rossi held the pole position for a bit while running in the slipstream behind Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati, but was beat out by Marquez at the end.

Marc Marquez (Respol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I'm really happy with this pole position, particularly as earning it was a little different to with my previous poles. 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.”

Rain had hit just before Qualifying 2, yet had dried out in most places of the track for slicks to be a viable option. However, riders were initially cautious, with many avoiding near crashes at Turn 6, which was still damp. Only in their second runs were riders able to push closer to their true potential, MotoGP says.

When practice began Friday for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Marquez's teammate Dani Pedrosa was untouchable, leading the first three practice sessions. Pedrosa, who suffered a controversial high side at Aragon that caused Marquez to be penalized one point, was beat by Marquez in the fourth free practice, but lead half of the qualifying session. But soon Rossi, Crutchlow and Lorenzo were in the mix, but Marquez put in his quickest lap to take the pole.

Pedrosa, who won last year's Sepang MotoGP, would qualify fifth, 0.114 of a second behind Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, who heads up the second row.

The two MotoGP Championship contenders will be joined on the second row by GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Baustisa. The Spaniard has a chance to rise to sixth in the championship standings if he finishes fifth or higher. This is due to LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl being sidelined after fracturing his right ankle during a crash in the final practice.

Crutchlow's teammate Bradley Smith will head up the third row, the Brit equalling his second best MotoGP™ qualifying position of seventh from the Dovizioso and leading CRT runner, Power Electronic Aspar's Aleix Espargaro, who passed through to the final shootout from Q1.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati's Andrea Iannone rounds out the top 10 for Energy T.I. Pramac Racing from Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, whereas the absent Bradl qualified 12th but is now set to return to Barcelona for surgery. This promotes NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards to a fourth row position, with the grid completed by Damian Cudlin who contrary to initial plans races again with PBM this weekend.

Rain is forecasted for Sunday's race, which could quickly cause a stir in the championship. Marquez currently leads Lorenzo by 39 points, and Pedrosa by 59. Contingent on finishes, Pedrosa's hopes at a first premier-class MotoGP title could be mathematically diminished following the round 15 in the 2013 MotoGP Championship.

For a preview of 2013 Sepang MotoGP, click here.

2013 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Results:

1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 327.5 2'00.011
2 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 323.2 2'00.336 0.325 / 0.325
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 320.9 2'00.359 0.348 / 0.023
4 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 322.2 2'00.578 0.567 / 0.219
5 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 324.2 2'00.692 0.681 / 0.114
6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 323.7 2'00.974 0.963 / 0.282
7 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 319.2 2'01.306 1.295 / 0.332
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 318.9 2'01.635 1.624 / 0.329
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 273.1 2'02.151 2.140 / 0.516
10 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 317.6 2'02.536 2.525 / 0.385
11 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 319.3 2'02.900 2.889 / 0.364
6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda
13 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 307.4 2'02.858 0.532 / 0.226
14 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 303.9 2'03.175 0.849 / 0.317
15 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 307.6 2'03.212 0.886 / 0.037
16 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 311.7 2'03.418 1.092 / 0.206
17 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 316.9 2'03.651 1.325 / 0.233
18 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 303.2 2'03.805 1.479 / 0.154
19 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 305.6 2'04.198 1.872 / 0.393
20 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 299.4 2'04.310 1.984 / 0.112
21 23 Luca SCASSA ITA Cardion AB Motoracing ART 301.6 2'05.199 2.873 / 0.889
22 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 296.2 2'06.038 3.712 / 0.839
23 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 297.8 2'06.203 3.877 / 0.165
24 50 Damian CUDLIN AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 303.7 2'06.273 3.947 / 0.070


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