2016 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Results
For the second time this season—and the fifth time of his premier-class MotoGP career—Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso has secured the top qualifying position.
Conditions were soaking wet during Saturday’s qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit—just like the conditions when the the 30-year-old Italian claimed his first pole of 2016 MotoGP at Assen.
Piloting his Ducati GP16 with a harder rear-tire, Dovi was able to earn the Sepang MotoGP pole position with a lap of 2:11.485; to put this time into perspective, the Best Lap at Sepang (among all sessions) is a 1:59.053 posted by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in 2015.
Joining Dovizioso on the front row for Sunday’s 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix are Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who has the most wins at Sepang with six, and Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The nine-time World Champion Rossi finished 0.246 of a second behind Desmo Dovi, and Lorenzo 0.302 of a second back.
Due to Dovizioso’s performance in the rain—he won at a wet Donington earlier this season—speculation is already building about him becoming the ninth-different winner in 2016 if the rain continues in Malaysia.
Speaking after qualifying, Dovizioso says: “Every practice has been a challenge, because of the rain but also the asphalt. The grip is very good but there are wet patches on the line, and you can’t ride quite how you want.
“And here when it starts to rain it’s really heavy…you have to adapt to every condition and I’m really happy with the way we worked with our strategy – I was able to do a good laptime on the harder tire and the soft.
“My strategy was supposed to be non-stop and qualifying on the soft tire, and I knew everyone else was on the hard so I thought maybe I was wrong. But then I decided to come in the box a bit late, and then I could only do a few fast laps on the hard tire, but the second one was enough for the pole position.
“This morning in the dry it wasn’t great, but this weekend the conditions have been strange. So I hope we can try and improve the feeling tomorrow in Warm up. Everyone wants to race in the dry, but we are competitive in the wet.”
Heading up row two is the man who clinched the 2016 MotoGP title at Motegi two weeks ago, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. The Spaniard led Friday’s practice sessions at Sepang, regardless of suffering from gastroenteritis. Marquez finished 0.389 of a second behind Dovi, and was the final rider to post within a second of the Italian.
Joining Marquez on row two are LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who made it to Q2 from Q1, and the man who missed the past four rounds due to a fractured vertebrae, Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone.
Rounding out the top 10 in Sepang MotoGP qualifying are the Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Avintia Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz.
The penultimate round of 2016 MotoGP gets underway at 3 p.m. local time Sunday.
Photos by Luciano Bianchetto
2016 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Results:
1. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 2’11.485
2. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 2’11.731
3. J. LORENZO MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 2’11.787
4. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 2’11.874
5. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA 2’12.558
6. A. IANNONE DUCATI TEAM 2’12.598
7. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’12.869
8. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’12.981
9. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 2’13.325
10. L. BAZ AVINTIA RACING 2’13.452
11. P. ESPARGARÒ MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 2’13.707
12. H. BARBERA AVINTIA RACING 2’13.973
13. B. SMITH MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 2’12.898
14. J. MILLER ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 2’12.907
15. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 2’13.776
16. S. BRADL APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 2’13.850
17. H. AOYAMA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 2’14.179
18. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 2’14.433
19. E. LAVERTY PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM 2’14.769
20. Y. HERNANDEZ PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM 2’14.786
21. T. RABAT ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 2’15.894