There was plenty happening on Saturday at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP. Here’s our snack-size summary of the key moments from the day.
Follow Me/Follow You
Marc Marquez bolted out of the pits at the opening of Q2. Fabio Quartararo, by contrast sauntered out almost last of the 12 runners, as Marquez slowed to a crawl and locked eyes on one of the circuit’s big screens. Malaysia’s long straights make the slipstream all important even in the premier class. When Quartararo swept by Marquez got back into it and attempted to use the Yamaha’s pace to his Honda’s advantage.
Quartararo pushed hard and managed to post a faster time than the champion despite pulling Marquez around in the first proper crack at a time.
The final segment of the session devolved into pure keystone cop stuff as Marquez dogged a slow-moving Quartararo around the Sepang circuit.
Karma Can be Cruel
Those tactics would bite Marquez and he launched himself into the sky trying to keep up when the Yamaha finally took off. Marquez’s foxing cost him dearly and the world champion will now start 11th. That leaves Crutchlow as the best Honda ninth on the grid with a 1m58.951, and both LCR Hondas ahead of the factory bikes.
Visorless Quartararo Pole
Quartararo’s lap record 1m58.303s time could have been even better had the Frenchman not had a big wobble in the final corner. As it was, Fabs was so happy with himself he smashed his own visor clean off his helmet. He’ll share the all-Yamaha front row with factory rider Viñales and SRT teammate Morbidelli.
Jack Miller heads off the second row from Crutchlow and Rossi.
KTM Going Nowhere…
The KTM is a visible handful at Sepang so far. Pol Espargaro couldn’t string together any sort of rhythm on the skittish and unsettled RC16. Pol will start 15th, his teammate Mika Kallio 19th at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP.
….But Zarco Is
Johann Zarco was a shock lock-in for Q2. The KTM refugee is in only his second appearance on the LCR Honda as a reserve for Takaaki Nakagami. LCR teammate Cal Crutchlow meanwhile had to fight his way into Q2 via Q1.
The full list of direct entrants into Q2 was: Fabio Quartararo, Franco Morbidelli, Marc Marquez, Maverick Viñales, Andrea Dovizioso, Jack Miller, Francesco Bagnaia, Valentino Rossi, Alex Rins, and Johann Zarco.
Q1 Honours Go To Crutchlow and Petrucci
It was a miracle for Joan Mir to even make it through turn 15 on his final flying lap, but the Suzuki rider did and went top. Seconds later, Danilo Petrucci swept through to claim the top spot, bumping Mir to second. It looked like the top two were safe from there but Crutchlow dug deep, and improved by over half a second to rifle himself to the top of the sheets and into Q2.
Jorge Lorenzo will start 18th, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin and Kallio, over two seconds behind Vinales on Pole.
RIP Afridza Munandar
The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race on Saturday was marred by an incident that claimed the life of Indonesian rider Afridza Munandar. Munandar was 20 years old.
Written by: Jacob Black
Jacob enjoys riding motorcycles, racing motorcycles, watching
motorcycles race, writing about motorcycles, and jokes. If you’re reading this, he is likely attempting to combine one or more of those passions.