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Marc Marquez kept his Repsol Honda on top during morning warm-up for the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.
However Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo improved one place from qualifying to split the factory RCVs of Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, who will start first and second this afternoon.
Marquez - who ran off track after out-braking himself at Turn Nine - concluded the session with a best lap time of 2m 1.073s, over one-second behind his new pole record but 0.258s ahead of Lorenzo. Pedrosa was +0.399s in third.
Last Sunday's winner Valentino Rossi has been struggling to match the top three so far this weekend, but improved two places on qualifying for fourth in warm-up (+0.488s). In terms of consistency, Marquez looked to have a slight edge this morning, but with Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi closely matched.
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso (+0.575s) and LCR Honda's second row starter Stefan Bradl (+0.903s) were the only other riders within one-second of Marquez this morning.
Pol Espargaro returned to action after missing qualifying due to a fractured bone in his foot - and was given a further scare when a car crossed his path while taking a shortcut back to pitlane.
Espargaro,who will start twelfth on the grid, was ninth fastest after completing nine laps in warm-up.
Pramac's Andrea Iannone will miss this afternoon's race, having returned to Italy following arm injuries in a practice clash with Marquez on Friday.
Like last weekend at Phillip Island, today's race starts at the later than usual time of 4pm, to better suit European TV audiences. Afternoon rain storms are an ever-present threat at Sepang, although Saturday bucked the trend by being dry throughout.
Marquez and Rossi both stalled when swapping to their second bikes, while practicing for a flag-to-flag race in case of rain.
1. Marc Marquez
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Yonny Hernandez
9. Bradley Smith
10. Hector Barbera
11. Alvaro Bautista
12. Cal Crutchlow
13. Hiroshi Aoyama
14. Pol Espargaro
15. Nicky Hayden
16. Scott Redding
17. Karel Abraham
18. Alex De Angelis
19. Mike Di Meglio
20. Danilo Petrucci
21. Broc Parkes
22. Michael Laverty