Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez overcame a wet start and qualified on pole for Sunday’s Malaysian MotoGP here.
At one point, it looked as though there won’t be any qualifying and free practice results would be considered for final race, but rain stopped abruptly against the forecast.
World champion Marquez is confident he would be able to put his poor run in the last round behind him when he rides in the Premier class on Sunday. The Repsol Honda rider knows well that Team Ducati has a fantastic record at Sepang, but feels a good professional will be able to overcome records and history.
“I am happy that I could adapt to the conditions quickly. Hope to have a dry race (on Sunday),” he said after taking the pole on Saturday. “We had a good pre-season test here in terms of pace, but that was on a different bike, condom and set up. So, we have to forget that and concentrate on the main race. Normally, Ducati is on a very good level here in Malaysia, but you never know. It is not one of the best circuits (for Honda) and then again so was Motegi. In the end, we were still able to fight for the win there,” he added. Marquez won his fifth Premier class title after winning at Motegi, but was taken out of the race at Phillip Island last week by Frenchman Johann Zarco of Team Yamaha.
Zarco, who did not have a good time during practice, admitted he was happy to finish second in trying conditions. “We changed the tyre for wet conditions and I was feeling good with the bike, but it was not good enough for pole,” he said after the qualifying. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso had won the last two editions of the Malaysian GP. And for Sunday there is forecast of more rain.
Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi has also vowed to bounce back from his below-par performances this season. Rossi is in third position behind Marc and Dovizioso in championship standings.
He finished sixth in Australia and is 15 points adrift in the race for top honours. On Saturday, he finished third in qualifying and noted the track dried up quickly after rain.
He also thanked the weather for the quick re-start. “Otherwise, I would have started in ninth position (free practice time). I am happy with the re-scheduled final race start at 1 pm as it is better than having no race at all,” he said.
“Unfortunately in Australia, I lost important points for the championship and I am very disappointed about that, but I am happy for Maverick Vinales (his teammate),” he said on Saturday. “Now we have to concentrate on our third consecutive race in three weekends and we must continue to work hard because we have to be competitive at every race.”