Andrea Dovizioso has stormed to a surprise pole position at the Sepang International Circuit, after the Italian produced a sensational performance in the wet conditions. Valentino Rossi edged out his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo for third, taking second on the final lap.
A saturated track greeted the riders as Q2 got underway, with Dovizioso wasting no time setting the early benchmark time with a 2m11.511s, almost a second clear of the field. Instead of pitting the Italian stayed out on track, gaining valuable track time in the Process. The Ducati rider improved his time just as the chequered flag was being made ready, improving to a 2m11.485s. This gave “DesmoDovi” his second pole position of the season.
Valentino Rossi proved why he is still strong in the wet after the Yamaha rider improved his lap times rapidly throughout the session to end qualifying in second, pipping teammate Lorenzo in the process. This result however is a breakthrough for Lorenzo as the Spaniard has struggled in 2016 with the Michelin wet tyres, but the “Spartan” put in a incredible performance to finish on the front row in conditions that he has disliked throughout his career.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez overcame his serious illness to put his Repsol Honda fourth on the grid. The Spaniard is currently suffering from gastroenteritis and it is unknown whether he will last the full 20-lap race on Sunday.
Q1 graduate Cal Crutchlow, who is celebrating his 30th birthday today, suffered a late fall in the session but climbed back on his LCR Honda to take an impressive fifth position and win the independents’ battle. The Brit’s Q1 lap time would have been good enough for second place in Q2. Andrea Iannone completed a solid session, 1.1s off his teammate Dovizioso but his time was good enough to complete the second row.
Aleix Espargaro edged out teammate Maverick Viñales for seventh, despite a late crash in the session. Both Suzuki’s struggled in the wet conditions having looked strong in the dry and they will be hoping for the latter on Sunday. Alvaro Bautista continued Aprilia’s fine run of form to qualify ninth with Loris Baz rounding out the top ten after graduating from Q1.
Pol Espargaro struggled to put a fast lap together and eventually finished P11 with Hector Barbera finishing in P12.
The MotoGP race begins at 06:00 BST and with mixed conditions on the cards, the Sepang International Circuit should be ready for another Sunday thriller.
<td <aprilia>td ###2’13.3251.840
|10||76||###a class=”tdriver” href=”http://www.motorsport.com/driver/loris-baz” data-mce-href=”http://www.motorsport.com/driver/loris-baz”> Loris Baz||Ducati||2’13.452||1.967|
<td <aprilia>td ###2’13.8502.259
|17||7||###a class=”tdriver” href=”http://www.motorsport.com/driver/hiroshi-aoyama” data-mce-href=”http://www.motorsport.com/driver/hiroshi-aoyama”> Hiroshi Aoyama||Ducati||2’14.179||2.588|