Marquez flies to record Sepang pole


Marc Marquez flew to a record 13th pole of the 2014 MotoGP season as he denied Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa in Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying at Sepang. Marquez's 1m59.791s was the first time the two-minute barrier had been broken during a MotoGP race weekend at the track, although slightly quicker laps had been achieved in testing at the start of the year. Pedrosa also got below 2m00s as he pushed to beat his team-mate. They had been 0.063 seconds apart after their first Q2 runs, which Marquez had led on a 2m00.245s, but the world champion then raised the bar considerably with his second attempt. Pedrosa had to back off from the first lap of his final run, before regrouping for a second bid. He beat Marquez's pace in the first two sectors then tailed off and missed pole by 0.182s. Jorge Lorenzo was the Hondas' closest rival, putting his Yamaha on the outside of the front row and briefly getting between Marquez and Pedrosa before the latter's final improvement. Stefan Bradl tucked in behind Marquez on his pole lap and elevated his LCR Honda to fourth on the grid, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati and Valentino Rossi's Yamaha. Aleix Espargaro was pushed back from an early fourth place to seventh. His brother Pol was given 12th on the grid in his absence, having sat out the session with a broken foot following his practice three crash. The younger Espargaro will decide on Sunday morning if he is fit enough to try to race. Espargaro was one of two absentees from qualifying, with Andrea Iannone ruled out of the rest of the weekend due to arm injuries sustained in a tangle with Marquez on Friday. Adding to Pramac Ducati's disappointment, its remaining rider Yonny Hernandez failed to make it out of Q1, in which Alvaro Bautista and Hiroshi Aoyama were fastest. They brought up the rear in Q2, Aoyama crashing at Turn 6 along the way, taking 10th and 11th behind British pair Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. Format: Q1 for slowest riders from practice sets 13th back, top two join top 10 from practice in Q2 to set 1st-12th