Alex Marquez claims his sixth Moto2 pole of the year

by Ryan Lilly

Championship leader Alex Marquez will start this weekend’s potential championship-winning weekend from pole position, setting a lap time of a 2:05.244. Marquez’s top time left the Spaniard a tenth quicker than Tetsuta Nagashima and a further two tenths ahead of Brad Binder.

Xavi Vierge heads row two with Tom Luthi and Jorge Martin ending the session in 5th and 6th positions.

Britons Sam Lowes starts from the third row, ahead of German’s Marcel Schrotter and Remy Gardner.

Luca Marini completed the top ten ahead of leading Speed Up Fabio Di Giannantonio, Iker Lecuona rounds out the fourth row.

Stefano Manzi was the first of the promoted Q1 riders ahead of Enea Bastiannini and Jorge Navarro, whilst Jesko Raffin, Augusto Fernandez and Somkiat Chantra complete the final Q2 positions.

Somkiat Chantra will, however, start the Malaysian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after being handed a grid penalty in Australia.

Qualifying One: Championship contender fights back

Qualifying 1 kicked off in mixed conditions, with the Malaysian rain threatening throughout the previous Moto3 session and the build-up to the opening Moto2 Qualifying session.

Pons HP40 rider Augusto Fernandez lead the charge into Q2, setting a lap time of a 2:05.897, +0.059s ahead of Stefano Manzi, who suffered a low-side at turn 2. RW Racing’s Jesko Raffin completed the top three with Thai rider Somkiat Chantra coming home in fourth, the last of the riders to go through to Q2.

Lorenzo Baldassarri failed to make it inside the top four, therefore will start the penultimate round of the season from 22nd position.

Britons Jake Dixon will line up in 27th.

Augusto Fernandez lead the charge into Q2
(Photo Credit: MotoGP.com)

Qualifying two: Marquez fires his warning shots

The second Moto2 Qualifying session commenced in slightly drier conditions, but halfway around the first of the flying laps, the rain started to fall again, catching out Australian Grand Prix pole-sitter Jorge Navarro who suffered a front-end crash at turn 11.

Tom Luthi was the early pace-setter with Tetsuta Nagashima and Friday’s fastest man Jorge Martin completing the provisional front row.

That was until champion-elect Alex Marquez fired himself into provisional pole, half a second quicker than his teammate Xavi Vierge who slotted himself into second.

Sam Lowes jumped up onto the second row with five-minutes remaining on the clock, whilst the fastest rider in Free Practice 3 started to get up to pace.

Nagashima and Binder moved up onto the front row, moving within three-tenths of a second behind Marquez.

For the second half of the session, not many riders could improve their lap times, with the rainfall getting heavier, only Jorge Navarro was able to move himself up to 15th after his earlier crash.

That left Marquez to take his sixth pole position of the season, with championship rivals Binder joining him on the front row, and Tom Luthi on the second row.

The Moto2 race kicks off tomorrow at 05:20 (UK time)

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