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Edition

USA
Qualifying report
MotoGP Malaysian GP

MotoGP Malaysian GP: Bagnaia beats title rival Martin to pole

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia snatched pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix away from chief MotoGP title rival Jorge Martin, as the pair exchanged all-time lap records.

Bagnaia and Martin are split by just 13 points ahead of this afternoon’s sprint contest at the Sepang International Circuit, which set up a critical qualifying on Saturday morning.

Pramac’s Martin looked set to add a third-straight pole to his tally of four for the season when he posted a lap record 1m57.549s on his first stint in Q2.

But Bagnaia responded emphatically with a 1m57.491s to snatch his first pole since Barcelona by just 0.058 seconds.

A crash for Martin left him second ahead of Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, who came through Q1 to secure his first front row start since last year’s Malaysian GP.

Ducati controlled the 15-minute Q2 segment in qualifying, with Alex Marquez – who was fastest on Friday – setting the initial pace on his year-old Gresini Ducati with a 1m57.924s.

This was quickly beaten by Luca Marini on the VR46 2022-spec Ducati, with a 1m57.787s, before Martin lit up the timing screens on his latest-spec Pramac Desmosedici.

Martin’s 1m57.549s put him over two tenths under his previous lap record from his pole time in 2022.

Having progressed through Q1, Bastianini was the first rider to threaten Martin’s lap, the four-time grand prix winner – who is rumoured to be getting replaced by Martin at the factory squad next year – getting to within 0.041s of the pole time.

On the first flying lap of his second run in the closing stages of Q2, Bagnaia had to abort an effort due to Marini crashing in front of him at Turn 9.

His final flier started off well, and he was given a boost to his pole chances when Martin crashed at Turn 4 on his last lap.

Bagnaia was almost a tenth and a half up on Martin through sector three and held on to take his seventh pole of the season.

Martin and Bastianini completed the front row, with Alex Marquez heading row two from VR46 duo Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.

Brad Binder was seventh on the leading factory KTM ahead of Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales.

Jack Miller (KTM) will start 10th, with Fabio Di Giannantonio – who joined Bastianini in advancing from Q1 – 11th after crashing his Gresini Ducati at the last corner. Pramac’s Johann Zarco was 12th.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro’s Malaysia weekend failed to improve, after he crashed four times on Friday as he tested a front fork from Ohlins he didn’t feel comfortable on.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing

He could do no more than 13th in qualifying at Sepang, missing a place in Q2 by 0.158s ahead of Tech3 GasGas rider Augusto Fernandez.

Fernandez was lucky not to be taken out by Marc Marquez when the Honda rider crashed trying to overtake the Tech3 rider on the inside of Turn 7 late on in Q1.

Eight-time world champion Marquez had been on course for a lap to challenge the top two spots when he lost the front of his RC213V over a vicious bump in Turn 7.

That concluded a scrappy session for Marquez, who was repeatedly caught up in some gamesmanship with Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, as he cruised looking for the Italian’s tow.

His crash left him down in 20th, while Morbidelli was 15th ahead of the leading Honda of Joan Mir in 16th.

Pol Espargaro will start 17th on the second Tech3 GasGas from RNF Aprilia duo Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira.

Behind Marquez starts LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, while Ducati wildcard and reigning World Superbike champion Alvaro Bautista will start his first MotoGP race since Valencia 2018 from 22nd.

Alex Rins’ LCR injury stand-in Iker Lecuona lines up last of the 23 riders.

MotoGP Malaysian GP - Q2 results:

         
Driver Info
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 7

1'57.491

169.841
2 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 6

+0.058

1'57.549

0.058 169.757
3 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 4

+0.099

1'57.590

0.041 169.698
4 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 7

+0.170

1'57.661

0.071 169.595
5 Italy L. Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 4

+0.296

1'57.787

0.126 169.414
6 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 7

+0.314

1'57.805

0.018 169.388
7 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 7

+0.559

1'58.050

0.245 169.036
8 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 7

+0.589

1'58.080

0.030 168.993
9 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 7

+0.762

1'58.253

0.173 168.746
10 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 7

+0.977

1'58.468

0.215 168.440
11 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 5

+1.720

1'59.211

0.743 167.390
12 France J. Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 6

+4.357

2'01.848

2.637 163.767

MotoGP Malaysian GP - Q1 results:

         
Driver Info
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 6

1'57.823

169.362 328
2 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 6

+0.088

1'57.911

0.088 169.236 332
3 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 6

+0.246

1'58.069

0.158 169.009 333
4 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 6

+0.284

1'58.107

0.038 168.955 331
5 Italy F. Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 6

+0.498

1'58.321

0.214 168.649 331
6 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 7

+0.617

1'58.440

0.119 168.480 334
7 Spain P. Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 6

+0.732

1'58.555

0.115 168.316 335
8 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 7

+0.800

1'58.623

0.068 168.220 329
9 Portugal M. Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 7

+0.815

1'58.638

0.015 168.199 332
10 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 5

+0.894

1'58.717

0.079 168.087 335
11 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 7

+1.063

1'58.886

0.169 167.848 329
12 Spain A. Bautista Ducati Team 19 Ducati 5

+1.595

1'59.418

0.532 167.100 333
13 Spain I. Lecuona Team LCR 27 Honda 7

+1.835

1'59.658

0.240 166.765 329

 

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