Martin breaks pole record as title contenders battle it out

Bagnaia was forced through Q1 after a crash while following Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo in the closing stages of FP3 this morning.

The Ducati rider made it through the first part of qualifying with Marc Márquez in tow, ensuring all four title contenders contested the pole shootout session.

But drama ensued throughout the 15-minute Q2, as both Bagnaia and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro crashed, while Quartararo recorded his worst qualifying result of the season.

Pramac’s Martin set the tone with his first fastest lap as he set a new lap record of 1m58.021s as he made his bid for a second successive pole position in 2022.

At the end of his first race, Bagnaia, who ran on a worn rear tire as a result of using an extra soft to exit Q1, was sixth behind Espargaro while Quartararo languished in eleventh.

At the start of the second run, Bagnaia had Marc Márquez for company as the Honda rider tried to grab onto the Ducati rider’s back to tow him.

Going into Turn 4, Bagnaia crashed just as he had clicked into the first sector with the fastest split of the session at the time.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

Quartararo passed the crash site after the yellow flags were withdrawn, but was forced to abort his final fastest lap when he suffered a head-on moment at Turn 8, where he crashed in FP4, picking up a minor injury to his left finger. . hand.

The Yamaha rider was unable to move in a final attempt, leaving him 1.4 seconds off the pace in 12th place ahead of Sunday’s potential title decider.

Moments after Quartararo had his moment, Aprilia’s Espargaró crashed at the same corner as he seemed poised to unseat Bagnaia.

While all this was going on, Martin took his Pramac Ducati to a 1m57.790s on his final lap to secure an impressive pole position by 0.456s from Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, who starts as the main title contender in second.

Marquez completed his lap despite missing his Bagnaia benchmark, and somehow managed to get his misbehaving Honda to a 1m58.454s to qualify third.

Marc Bezzecchi leads row two on his VR46 Ducati ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Luca Marini’s sister VR46 bike.

Franco Morbidelli made a crucial move to seventh on his factory Yamaha ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales to relegate Bagnaia to ninth ahead of Aleix Espargaró.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

Despite his problems, Quartararo only has the Suzuki sister of Joan Mir between him and his two main rivals for the title.

Brad Binder will start 13th on his KTM, while Ducati’s Jack Miller was unable to make it out of Q1 after suffering a late crash at Turn 2.

He dropped to 14th as a result ahead of RNF Racing’s Cal Crutchlow and Gresini rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio, with Pol Espargaro (Honda) 17 ahead of little-known Johann Zarco (Pramac).

Miguel Oliveira battled to 19th on his Tech3 Remy Gardner KTM after a crash, and Alex Marquez also had a crash in Q1 in 21st on his LCR Honda.

The field was rounded out by Tech3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez, LCR Honda alternate Tetsuta Nagashima and RNF’s Darryn Binder.

Full Malaysian GP Qualifying Results:

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