Marc Marquez found the silver lining in a grey and wet qualifying session to take pole position by half a second from his nearest competitor at the Sepang Circuit Saturday. Marquez's pole -- the 80th of his racing career -- came early enough in the 15-minute session to give the World Champion enoough time to crash and remount on his second bike before the the end of qualifying.
Johann Zarco, the only other rider to dip into the 2'12s, seized the second spot on the grid as time expired. His last-gasp effort pushed Valentino Rossi into the third spot on the front row for Sunday's race which is expected to be run in the dry. Andrea Iannone starts the second row in fourth place, narrowing topping Andrea Dovizioso (5th) who crashed toward the end of the slippery session. Jack Miller completed the second row after spending much of qualifying near the top of the timesheet.
Danilo Petrucci (7th) heads up the third row, just beating out Alex Rins. Alvaro Bautista -- who along with Aleix Espargaro advanced from an even wetter Q1 -- secured ninth. Dani Pedrosa, who still holds the lap record at the circuit, completed the top 10.
The first qualifying session was delayed for an hour while torrential rain fell across the entire circuit. This forced both sessions to be run later in the afternoon and on full rain tires. Worries about continued afternnon rains prompted organizers to move Sunday's race schedule up by two hours. Look HERE for the new race schedule.
Marc Marquez was handed a six-place grid penalty for obstructing Andrea Iannone. Marquez will start from seventh, everyone back to Jack Miller move up one place. Marquez' pole position still counts towards his pole statistics.
Note: Riders in bold advanced from Q1