Despite an incredible 2017 MotoGP world championship battle that saw four riders in the fight until well after the half way point, Marc Marquez has now just about eked out a small lead in the race to the crown after a disastrous weekend last time out for Andrea Dovizioso at the Australian Grand Prix.
"I had to take my second bike but I didn't feel ideal on it, so I did a la that was good but not good enough", said Marquez, still not content with this qualifying position.
Marquez crashed on his first flier, taking a tumble at Turn 15 but able to get the bike going and head down pitlane, and was unable to threaten once back out on track.
Dovizioso also commented as this may be his final effort to hold of Marquez and claim the second MotoGP title for Ducati (Casey Stoner earned Ducati's only MotoGP title in 2007).
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"I'm very happy with this pole, which is our third this year".
"We are looking to win the race and then we'll see what happens with Marc and the other riders". It was our target and we can now say we are competitive in dry and wet.
"We know it's hard, but the Championship is open and we'll try everything", Dovizioso said at a press conference ahead of the Malaysia GP, scheduled to take place over the weekend.
"There are two races remaining, and we'll try to be on a good level and think about the Championship - but if I need to fight, I will fight".
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"In qualifying I did an nearly flawless lap, and this gave me an enormous satisfaction!"
Despite being fastest during Free Practice 4, Marquez had to wrestle his bike to qualify in seventh place, the second-worst qualifying result of his MotoGP career and the worst of the year.
Yamaha's Italian riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, and Jorge Lorenzo of Spain (in that order) will start the race from the second row of the grid.
The Spaniard however did not fall off his bike as the slow run-offs outside the confines of the track were to help him reduce his speed.
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