Petronas SRT Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo said he had no choice but to go for it with Marc Marquez trailing, despite attempting to shake off the Spaniard in MotoGP qualifying in Sepang.
The Frenchman went into qualifying firm favourite for pole position and knowing that, Marquez sat behind the Yamaha man from the start of the session. Despite his best efforts to shake the World Champion, Marquez was firmly on his rear wheel during his second run too.
This was before the Spaniard highsided out from behind Marquez at turn two on his flying lap. Freed from the pressures of Marquez, Quartararo went on to claim the pole position with a 1:58.303.
“It was really not easy, because on the first run I knew that Marc was behind, but I didn’t have a choice,” said the 20-year-old.
“We needed to secure at least the first two rows, because let’s say the clouds were over the track. But on the second run it was really difficult, because we make the out lap really slow and we had a few moments in my first lap and then the second one was quite tricky conditions but let’s say I’m really happy as the lap was almost perfect. I lost the front in the last corner, but at the end what matters is we have the pole position.”
Marquez had said that he wasn’t trying to follow Quartararo specifically, when asked about that, the Frenchman said: “Also in the first run he was behind, so I think if he wants to follow us, that means we’re doing a good job.
“So, I think the team and me are doing a good job this year. So, I think it’s a little part the game, if one day I have the possibility one day to do it, I will do it. I think it’s good for both riders.”
The Yamaha has looked like the best bike to be on in Sepang with three Yamaha’s locking out the front row, with Valentino Rossi on row two. Despite qualifying down in eleventh on the back of his crash, Quartararo expects Marquez to feature at the front of the race.
“The weather here you never can predict, but it’s true that all Yamaha’s have a really strong pace,” he said.
“I think Marc will come back for sure and I think Dovi have also a really good pace, so will be not an easy race for us, but like always we will give one hundred percent. I think we have good pace too; we need to choose a tyre tomorrow morning to be sure, but normally we have an idea and that’s really good.”