Sepang (Malaysia) – Johann Zarco has opened a third-placed line in three weeks at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday, starting from Marc Marquez (Honda) and Italian Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) on Sunday. the Sepang circuit.
The author of a remarkable end of season in 2017 – his first year in MotoGP – with four first lines in the last four races, the French, second on the grid in Japan two weeks ago and third in Australia last week, is in goes on to repeat his performance.
"We must take advantage of this second place and hope for the podium", enjoins the driver of the team Tech3, satellite of Yamaha, who is not mounted on the box since the GP of Spain early May.
For a first French victory in the top category of motorcycle speed since Régis Laconi in 1999, the only fourth in history, it may be necessary to wait again, given the competition.
Marquez, world champion 2018, qualified more than 5/10 ahead of his first pursuer, after qualifying delayed an hour by heavy rains.
Rossi, the most awarded driver in Malaysia with six victories (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010), is he in the fight for the place of vice-world champion behind the Italian Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), winner of the two previous editions and 5th on the grid.
The Yamaha of "Doctor"seems to be gradually coming out of turpitude, as shown by the success at Phillip Island last Sunday of his Spanish teammate Maverick Vinales, the first for the Japanese brand since 25 GP.
– Advanced departures –
And if the qualifications, interrupted by the rain after two minutes, were held on wet track in favor of a lull, the race should be on the dry.
The organizers have indeed advanced two hours departures in all three categories.
The MotoGP will start at 13h00 local (06h00 French / 05h00 GMT) instead of 15h00, hour around which fell the first waterspouts.
In Moto3, the race will start at 10h00 (03h00 / 02h00) instead of 12h00 and in Moto2 at 11h20 (04h20 / 03h20) instead of 13h20.
The last two editions of the Malaysian GP have been held on a wet track. In 2012, the event was stopped after thirteen laps, conditions steadily deteriorating.
In the lower categories, the qualifiers were able to meet the schedule, before the rain fell on the MotoGP free practice.
– Quartararo on the front line –
In Moto2, the pole went to Spaniard Alex Marquez (Kalex) ahead of Italy's Luca Marini (Kalex) and Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up). Marc's little brother had already dominated each of the three practice sessions.
The Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex), leader of the World Championship, will start in sixth place ahead of his Portuguese dolphin Miguel Oliveira (KTM). He has a second chance of being titled Sunday, if he does not concede more than eleven points to his rival.
In Moto3, the Spaniard Jorge Martin (Honda), leading the drivers standings, clinched his tenth pole position this season ahead of his runner-up Marco Bezzecchi (KTM).
He who is twelve and twenty points ahead of Italians Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda), 13th on the grid, plays a first match point this weekend. To be crowned, he must enter thirteen more units than the first and five more than the second.
Both polemen improved the circuit record in their respective categories.
At the end of August, the British Grand Prix had been canceled because of the bad weather, the new pavement of the track draining the water badly.