World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix from 11th on the grid after a nasty tumble during this afternoon’s qualifying session. The 26-year-old was battered and bruised in the fall but walked away and will be fit to race.
Marquez, who won his 11th victory of the year in Australia last Sunday, was chasing Fabio Quartararo in the hunt for pole position when he was thrown from his machine as he entered Turn Two in the final minutes of the 15-minute Q2 outing. Until then he had been enjoying a good weekend, working steadily towards getting the best machine set-up for what is certain to be a torrid race in tropical conditions.
The six-times MotoGP king was a close third fastest at the end of the first three practice sessions, less than half a second off the fastest rider. Last year he won the race here with a dominant display aboard his RC213V.
Marquez secured the 2019 MotoGP Riders World Championship at last month’s Thailand Grand Prix and helped Honda take its 25th premier-class Constructors World Championship at the subsequent Japanese GP.
While Marquez returned to his garage, Honda’s top qualifier was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) who had an excellent start to the afternoon when he topped the Q1 session to promote himself to the Q2 outing. The 34-year-old Briton, who finished a superb second to Marquez last Sunday, qualified fifth quickest to start the penultimate race of the year from the centre of the second row.
Crutchlow is enjoying a great conclusion to his 2019 season, with second-row starts at the last three races aboard his RC213V. Tomorrow he will aim for his fourth podium result of the year.
HRC was delighted with the performance of Johann Zarco (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V), who is riding the bikes of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V), who is recovering from surgery. This is Zarco’s second weekend aboard the Japanese rider’s 2018-spec RC213V machines, but his first Grand Prix in Australia was largely disturbed by ever-changing weather conditions.
Today the 29-year-old Frenchman finished FP3 tenth fastest to go direct into Q2, which he ended ninth fastest, which puts him on the third row. It was an impressive display from a rider still learning the finer details of his equipment.
Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had another challenging Saturday, qualifying 18th, shortly after suffering his first crash since his accident at June’s Dutch TT, which caused him to miss four races. The three-times MotoGP World Champion ran wide at Turn One in FP4 and was thrown off his RC213V at slow speed. He was unhurt and will go into tomorrow’s race chasing his first World Championship points since the San Marino Grand Prix.
This weekend’s Malaysian GP is the last of three Grands Prix on consecutive weekends and the penultimate round of 2019. The season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on November 17.