Fabio Quartararo storms to pole as Marc Marquez crashes in Q2

Fabio Quartararo scored a sensational pole for the Thailand Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit while Marc Marquez crashed out on a lap potentially fast enough for pole.

Quartararo looked to be closing down the Honda man’s advantage as he got ever closer in FP4 shortly prior to qualifying, and impressively snatched provisional pole from Marquez as the field completed their first runs in Q2 by just 0.011.

The Frenchman’s lap was also the new MotoGP record for the circuit, but he wasn’t finished yet. On his penultimate flyer Quartararo looked to be even quicker, although Marquez behind looked to have even more time in his pocket.

Disaster was soon to follow for Marquez though, as he tucked the front of his RC213-V and slid off into the gravel and out of qualifying.

This allowed Quartararo to extend his advantage out front by 0.201 as he completed his own lap, and looked to go even quicker on his final effort. He also crashed though as he pushed his M1 too far, but this didn’t matter as his previous lap was ultimately enough for his fourth pole of the season.  

Factory Yamaha man Maverick Vinales also looked like a threat for pole alongside Quartararo and Marquez, but just came up short in the final reckoning as he managed a lap just over a tenth slower than Quartararo’s benchmark-although it was enough to snatch second from Marquez who has to make do with third on the grid.

Franco Morbidelli completed a positive day with fourth fastest, just ahead of Danilo Petrucci who put in a strong performance to qualify as top Ducati despite having to progress through Q1.

The Italian was fastest in this session, having posted a rapid lap over half-a-second faster than previous leader Pol Espargaro on his final attempt.

With Petrucci out of reach, it was a straight battle for second between Espargaro and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow for the final Q2 spot.

The Spaniard just sliced ahead of the Brit on his final lap to provisionally take the position, but Crutchlow was on a mission and looked set to re-take the place as he came to the end of his final push lap.

His Honda got away from him in the final braking zone however, forcing Crutchlow to run wide and lose his time, meaning he missed out on Q2 by just 0.013 to Espargaro’s KTM.

Jack Miller meanwhile secured sixth on the grid to split the two factory Ducati machines on his Pramac-run example, with Andrea Dovizioso disappointing slightly with seventh.

Both Suzuki’s made it into the top ten with Joan Mir getting the best of team-mate Alex Rins to secure eighth on the grid, with Rins rounding out the top ten just behind Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi-who struggled compared to his fellow Yamaha contingent.

Pol Espargaro got the best of brother Aleix to slot his KTM RC16 just ahead of the Aprilia for 11th to close out the Q2 battlers.

Further behind Jorge Lorenzo will start 19th, missing out on progressing to Q2 by just over half-a-second. Lorenzo looked to be on slightly better form so far this weekend, but ultimately disappointed as he out-qualified just three other riders.  

Thailand - Qualifying

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:29.719
2 Flag   Maverick Vinales Monster Energy Yamaha 1:29.825 0.106
3 Flag   Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 1:29.931 0.212
4 Flag   Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:30.431 0.712
5 Flag   Danilo Petrucci Mission Winnow Ducati 1:30.522 0.803
6 Flag   Jack Miller Alma Pramac Racing 1:30.597 0.878
7 Flag   Andrea Dovizioso Mission Winnow Ducati 1:30.692 0.973
8 Flag   Joan Mir Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:30.735 1.016
9 Flag   Valentino Rossi Monster Energy Yamaha 1:30.741 1.022
10 Flag   Alex Rins Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:30.778 1.059
11 Flag   Pol Espargaro Red Bull KTM Factory 1:31.065 1.346
12 Flag   Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Racing Gresini 1:31.258 1.539
13 Flag   Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1:30.969
14 Flag   Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 1:31.388
15 Flag   Francesco Bagnaia Alma Pramac Racing 1:31.416
16 Flag   Andrea Iannone Aprilia Racing Gresini 1:31.428
17 Flag   Miguel Oliviera Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1:31.499
18 Flag   Tito Rabat Reale Avintia Racing 1:31.554
19 Flag   Jorge Lorenzo Repsol Honda Team 1:31.605
20 Flag   Karel Abraham Reale Avintia Racing 1:31.773
21 Flag   Mika Kallio Red Bull KTM Factory 1:31.849
22 Flag   Hafizh Syahrin Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1:31.979