Martin sets lap record to take pole for Malaysian Grand Prix

Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin set a lap record on Saturday to take pole position for the Malaysian MotoGP Grand Prix, as Enea Bastianini gave himself an outside shot at the title as the top three contenders all struggled in qualifying.

Martin posted a time of one minute 57.790 seconds ahead of the penultimate round of the championship, which is returning to the Sepang International Circuit for the first time since 2019.

It was the Spaniard’s second pole in as many weeks following another lap record in Australia last weekend and he went 0.456 seconds faster than Bastianini. Six-times MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez completed the front row.

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia grabbed a 14-point lead over Fabio Quartararo at the top of the world championship standings with a third-placed finish in Australia last weekend after the defending champion crashed out of the race.

But the Italian crashed in Q2, as did fellow title contender Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro to slip back while Quartararo will be hoping for a miracle after his time meant he will start 12th after he took a tumble himself.

Bagnaia, who will start in ninth ahead of Espargaro, can wrap up the title ahead of the final round in Spain if he wins on Sunday and Quartararo finishes outside the top three.


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