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Dani Pedrosa has taken his first MotoGP pole since Barcelona in June, after a frenetic Sepang qualifying that saw team-mate and title leader Marc Marquez fall on his way to seventh.

Marquez had earlier saved a massive front-end slide in final practice, but when the front folded again on entry to the hairpin on his opening qualifying lap there was no bringing it back.

The Repsol Honda rider, who holds a 33-point lead over Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso with two rounds to go, later returned on the same hard-soft tyre combination and - a few more action-packed moments - slotted into third place.

But the final three minutes would see five different changes of pole position alone - first Pedrosa went top, then Valentino Rossi, Dovizioso and Johann Zarco before it was finally settled in Pedrosa's favour with a 1m 59.212s on his last lap.

Marquez also posted his best time on the final lap, but was left 0.482s from Pedrosa and will start on the third row.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's rookie star Johann Zarco was a mere 0.017s from pole for his third front row start in as many races, with Dovizioso delighted to have also delivered a 1m 59.2s, just 0.024s from Pedrosa.

Rossi and Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales will be joined on row two by Dovizioso's Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, with Suzuki riders Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone alongside Marquez on row three.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) slipped down the order to tenth after a fall, leaving him just ahead of good friend Jack Miller (Marc VDS Honda) and KTM's Pol Espargaro.

Rins and Espargaro had reached Qualifying 2 by heading the Qualifying 1 session.


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