Rookie MotoGP title leader Marc Marquez emerged with pole position after a 'who dares wins' qualifying session for the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.

A rain shower left the turn five, six and seven area slippery for the Q2 pole shootout - on an otherwise fully dry track.

Marquez was just eighth with a minute of the session remaining, but stuck to his plan and made his last lap count, knocking Valentino Rossi from pole by 0.325s with a new official lap record.

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"At the start of qualifying there were two completely wet corners, which made it hard to put in a hot lap as we had to calculate the amount of risk - whilst still maintaining our speed," said Repsol Honda rider Marquez.

"I knew straight away that the last lap would be the best because it was getting dryer all the time. So the key was to wait until the last laps and try to do the lap time, because in the beginning it was impossible to push."

It was Marquez's eighth pole of the season and fourth in a row.

The 20-year-old Spaniard will be joined on the front row by Rossi and Cal Crutchlow. Nearest title rival Jorge Lorenzo heads row two, alongside Marquez's team-mate and practice pace setter Dani Pedrosa.

"I think Dani and Jorge have a very good pace, also Valentino and Cal, so it will be interesting," said Marquez, before turning attention to the ever changing Sepang weather.

"Sure I would prefer a dry race, for me and for the show. But maybe it will be my first flag-to-flag [bike swap] race. If it's dry or wet we will do our best.

"If it's dry and I feel comfortable there is no reason to change the plan [just because of the points lead]. My mentality is the same. In practice I take the same risks."

Marquez will start the race with a 39 point advantage over Lorenzo and 59 point advantage over Pedrosa.