Jorge Martin gave himself a slight advantage by claiming pole position on his final run of the Sepang International Circuit with a record lap needed to sit in first on the grid ahead of the Moto3 Malaysian Grand Prix.

The penultimate round of the year marks the Del Conca Gresini rider’s first chance to wrap up the Moto3 championship, and he gave himself the best opportunity he could after increasing his lightweight class pole record to eleven for the season with a time of 2m 11.731s, beating the old lap record held by Joan Mir.

The Honda man ran solo around the track, with a train of riders gathering behind, looking to gain from his pace.

Also flying solo was championship rival Marco Bezzecchi, who attempted to find an advantage with a change of strategy agreed with his Redox PruestelGP team which saw the Italian leave the pits last - a risk which paid off despite needing to push himself to the limit to cross the line before the chequered flag came out with just seconds to spare.

The KTM rider then had the track to himself and showed strong race pace with no need of a slipstream to cross the finish line just 0.032s behind Martin to set the Malaysian Grand Prix up beautifully for a great battle between the duo.

Fellow KTM man Tony Arbolino joins them on the front row after chasing Martin around the track, but was 0.3 seconds shy of the lead pair.

John McPhee lead for much of the session thanks to a swift early banker lap, that left the Briton in a more comfortable position without needing a make-or-break assault of the timesheets on his final run. The CIP - Green Power rider improved again with his last effort to score a soild fourth.

Phillip Island winner Albert Arenas will be looking to get in the mix again from fifth for the Angel Nieto team, with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) climbing to sixth on his final dash.

The third row is an all Japanese affair with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) the best of the trio in seventh. Kazuki Masaki impressed in eight for RBA, he was passed fit after having a plate fitted in his hand between rounds after fracturing his finger in Australia.

Ayumu Sasaki did enough for ninth for Petronas Sprinta Racing.

The top ten was completed by Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who was amazingly declared fit despite missing the last round after cracking his vertebrae.

Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) replaces Nicolo Bulega again as he continues his recovery. He starts twelfth and will be hoping for another strong performance after his surprise podium finish at Phillip Island where he qualified 22nd.

Fabio Di Giannantonio’s faint title hope took a dent when he could only manage a time good enough for 13th on the second Gresini entry.

Aron Canet set the early pace, but tumbled straight after his hot lap, leaving the Estralla Galicia rider short of track time and down in 15th at the close of the session.

Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the best of the rookies and will be hoping to make gains in the race to be rookie of the year from 16th.

Adam Norrodin starts his home race from 18th on the grid for Petronas Sprinta Racing.

Early season regular Makar Yurchenko returns as a wildcard for Marinelli Snipers - he was over three seconds off the pole pace in 28th. Apiwath Wongthananon ( VR46 Master Camp Team) also returns - he fared a little better in 26th at the flag.

Bester Capital Dubai’s Jaume Masia added his name to the casualty list in Phillip Island after fracturing his heel; as does Gabriel Rodrigo, who took Bezzecchi with him when he fell in Australia during the race, his leg and arm injuries keeping him off the grid. Both riders attended Sepang to try to be declared fit, so neither are replaced.



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