Andrea Dovizioso demonstrated his ability in wet conditions once again with pole position at a rain soaked Sepang. The Ducati rider backed up his pole in similar conditions at Assen with another impressive display, beating the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo to top spot.
Saturday’s third practice session had taken place under sunny skies but that didn’t prevent us from seeing a few surprises with Phillip Island winner Cal Crutchlow missing out on an automatic spot in Q2 after crashing late on. The Briton made amends though, comfortably setting the pace in Q1, ensuring he would still have a say in the fight for pole.
Having opted for the softer option wet tyre, Dovizioso made a rapid start to Q2 with a 2:11.511 on his opening timed lap and little did he know it, the Italian had already done enough for a fifth career pole. Marc Marquez initially slotted into second, four tenths adrift, but the newly resurfaced Sepang circuit wasn’t evolving as many would have expected and the chasing pack wouldn’t get much closer.
In the end, Rossi closed the gap to a quarter of a second on his final lap, pinching second from Lorenzo with Marquez relegated to the front of the second row. Crutchlow salvaged fifth despite crashing again midway through Q2 while Andrea Iannone finished a solid sixth on his return from injury.
Aleix Espargaro, another rider to slide off in Q2, qualified seventh ahead of team-mate Maverick Vinales who was the quickest rider of all in the dry while Alvaro Bautista illustrated Aprilia’s improvement once again with ninth. Loris Baz completed the top ten, having joined Crutchlow in escaping Q1, with Pol Espargaro and Hector Barbera joining him on row four.
2016 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix (Qualifying Classification)
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