Martin and Bezzecchi Set Up Sepang Shootout

by Louis Suddaby
Jorge Martin - Photo Credit:

Jorge Martin looks set for a championship showdown with Marco Bezzecchi in tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix after narrowly beating the Italian to pole position at Sepang. Martin struck late on to claim his eleventh pole position of the season but with Bezzecchi just three hundredths of a second adrift in second, the Spaniard will have to work hard to preserve his 12-point championship lead.

The lightweight class riders had a far-from-ideal build-up to qualifying with all three practice sessions disrupted by rain. When qualifying began though on a dry track, the session had been largely dominated by John McPhee who took provisional pole at the ten-minute mark, becoming the first rider to dip below the 2m13 barrier. Although Bezzecchi briefly moved ahead, the Scotsman stamped his authority immediately to regain top spot, pulling six tenths clear of his nearest challenger.

As is so often the case in Moto3, pole position would be decided by a late dash on a new set of tyres and McPhee extended his lead still further with a matter of seconds remaining, clocking a 2:12.018. Other riders were setting rapid sector times behind him though and Martin’s unrivalled qualifying speed came to the fore once again as the championship leader completed the fastest ever Moto3 lap of Sepang, a 2:11.731.

Bezzecchi all-but matched his title rival, securing second spot on the grid, while Friday pacesetter Tony Arbolino secured the last place on the front row, relegating McPhee to fourth. Phillip Island winner Albert Arenas will start fifth ahead of Enea Bastianini while Tatsuki Suzuki heads an all-Japanese third row, joined by Kazuki Masaki and Ayumu Sasaki.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, the outsider in the three-way title fight, will have to recover from thirteenth on the grid.


Moto3 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix (Qualifying)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
188. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto32:11.731
212. Marco BezzecchiKTMRedox PruestelGP2:11.763
314. Tony ArbolinoHondaMarinelli Snipers Team2:12.065
417. John McPheeKTMCIP - Green Power2:12.081
575. Albert ArenasKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto32:12.211
633. Enea BastianiniHondaLeopard Racing2:12.222
724. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse2:12.543
822. Kazuki MasakiKTMRBA BOE Skull Rider2:12.627
971. Ayumu SasakiHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing2:12.637
1023. Niccolo AntonelliHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse2:12.679
1140. Darryn BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo2:12.748
1231. Celestino ViettiKTMSky Racing Team VR462:12.763
1321. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto32:12.797
1448. Lorenzo Dalla PortaHondaLeopard Racing2:12.812
1544. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,02:12.873
1610. Dennis FoggiaKTMSky Racing Team VR462:12.940
1772. Alonso LopezHondaEstrella Galicia 0,02:12.975
187. Adam NorrodinHondaPetronas Sprinta Racing2:13.089
1942. Marcos RamirezKTMBester Capital Dubai2:13.113
2027. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia2:13.160
2177. Vicente PerezKTMReale Avintia Academy 772:13.181
2284. Jakub KornfeilKTMRedox PruestelGP2:13.644
2316. Andrea MignoKTMAngel Nieto Team Moto32:13.679
2441. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia2:13.718
2565. Philipp OettlKTMSudmetal Schedl GP Racing2:13.955
269. Apiwath WongthananonKTMVR46 Master Camp Team2:14.502
2781. Stefano NepaKTMCIP - Green Power2:14.692
2876. Makar YurchenkoHondaMarinelli Snipers Team2:14.868

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