The title rivals are, once again, out-of-place in qualifying, however, they weren’t the biggest losers of the weekend but who were the true winners and who suffered?
Remy Gardner: The Aussie rider put in a fantastic performance to take his career-best qualifying position as he will start in fourth for Sunday. He had been ninth fastest in the combined free practice times before carrying his wonderful pace into qualifying. Gardner will be fighting back to reclaim some pride after his disaster crash in his home GP.
Luca Marini: Marini claimed his fifth front-row start of the season with a late charge into second. He had been third fastest in combined free practice, showing that he was already one to watch this weekend. Marini will be hoping to convert yet another front-row start to a podium as the Italian current has managed to convert three out of four of his front-row starts into podiums.
Alex Marquez: Marquez seems to be taking tips from his seven-time world champion brother when it comes to crashes as he put in the fastest time in qualifying to rocket him into pole position but crashed with a minute remaining in the session. Despite his crash, Marquez was able to hold onto his pole position as his time was completely untouchable. This will be Marquez’s third pole position and seventh front row start of the season but it was hardly unexpected as the Spaniard was fastest in all free practice sessions. Unfortunately, Marquez has struggled to convert the majority of his front-row starts into podium finishes as he has only finished three out of the seven front-row starts on the podium but he will surely be hoping to take his first win in 2018 this weekend.
Joan Mir: It’s been a weekend to forget for the reigning Moto3 world champion as the Spaniard only managed to claim 18th position. Mir had been 22nd overall in free practice, a pitiful performance compared to his AustralianGP race performance which saw him take the second step on the podium. Mir will be praying for a better day on Sunday so he can fight back.
Marcel Schrotter: Schrotter’s qualifying has been very hit and miss all year with weeks of front row starts to round out the top tens. Unfortunately, it was a miss weekend for the German as he was 15th fastest overall in combined free practice and finished qualifying in 10th position. However, Schrotter showed exactly what he could do as he fought from the back of the grid in Australia to take ninth so he will be hoping to put in yet another rocketing performance.
Sam Lowes: It was another horror qualifying for Lowes as the Brit will have to start in 21st. Lowes’ pace in the free practice sessions looked impressive, to say the least as he was sixth fastest overall but it wasn’t meant to be and Lowes’ pace vanished in qualifying before he took a tumble during the session but was able to rejoin. Lowes will definitely be hoping for a change of fortune on Sunday.
Full results here.
As we head into the penultimate race, it’s still Bagnaia vs Oliveira but can Pecco walk away from Sepang as champion?