MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) scorched to his eighth pole position of the season at sweltering Sepang this afternoon. Qualifying was made somewhat treacherous when a rain shower dampened part of the circuit, causing many riders a frightening moment or two. However, the track was dry enough by the end of the 15 minute session for Marquez to increase his pace and establish a new qualifying record. This pole was his fourth in a row, following on from Silverstone, Misano and Aragon.
The remarkable 20-year-old carries a 39 point advantage into tomorrow’s race which is arguably the toughest of the year due to the heat and high humidity that push riders, bikes and tires to the limit.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) ended the outing in fifth place to start tomorrow’s race from the middle of the second row. The Spaniard, who is still experiencing pain from his highside crash at Aragon two weeks ago, topped free practice but when the rain came down before qualifying, he decided to take fewer risks than usual, rather than chance aggravating his injuries with another tumble. Winner here last year, the former 250 and 125 World Champion is taking painkilling pills to tackle the discomfort he has from his bruised right hip and left buttock.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) will start the race next to Pedrosa after qualifying sixth fastest. The Spaniard had been confident of a good qualifying session but he wasn’t able to fully evaluate a settings change during the final free practice session. That and the tricky conditions prevented him from reaching his own limit.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was ruled out of tomorrow’s race when he slid off at Turn One during FP4, shortly before qualifying got underway. The German lost the front in what shouldn’t have been an injurious crash, then caught his right foot as he slid of the track and fractured the ankle. The former Moto2 World Champion will have the break fixed by specialists as soon as possible with the hope of riding in next weekend’s Australian GP. The injury is a real blow for the German who has been gathering momentum at recent races. He had ended free practice here a close fourth fastest.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) put his CRT machine 22nd on the grid. The Australian isn’t happy with his pace and hopes he can find something extra for the race.
Outside contender for the Moto2 World Championship Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) took pole position in the hard-fought Honda-powered category, his first since May’s Spanish GP, which he won. The Spaniard ended the session a slender 0.018 seconds ahead of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter). Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex), who currently lies second in the title battle, took the final spot on the front row, 0.080 seconds behind Luthi, which means that the front row is covered by less than one tenth of a second.
Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) was three tenths further back to lead row two in fourth place, just ahead of Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) and Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).
The third row consists of Alex De Angelis ((NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), Xavier Simeon (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex) and Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter). World Championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) could do no better than tenth, 0.917 seconds off pole, due to rear-grip issues.
Moto3 qualifying started on a damp track, which gave Alexis Masbou, (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda), Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) and Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) the chance to show their talent. At one point the Frenchman, Italian and Australian were first, second and third.
Masbou kept up his impressive pace to end the session in second place, just over a tenth of a second behind World Championship leader Luis Salom (KTM). It was the Frenchman’s best grid position of the year and he thinks he can run at the front tomorrow, so long as he gets away with the lead group.
Just as impressive was Italian teenager Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) in third place, making it two Hondas on the front row.
Miller ended the session in seventh place to lead the third row. The next Honda men were Fenati in 13th and Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) in 18th.
Tomorrow’s Malaysian GP is the first of three consecutive races, with the Australian and Japanese GPs following over the next two Sundays.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|7||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|9||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|10||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|12||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|13||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|14||Claudio CORTI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|15||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)|
|3||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|4||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|5||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|6||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|7||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|8||Xavier SIMEON (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team)|
|9||Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|10||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|11||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|12||Marcel SCHROTTER (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team)|
|13||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|14||Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|15||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|1||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|3||Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|4||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|5||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|7||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|8||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|9||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|10||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|11||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)|
|12||Philipp OETTL (Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing)|
|13||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|14||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)|