2022 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Result: No Time To Catch Your Breath

The premier class grid rejoiced at beautifully dry track conditions ahead of their qualifying outings but there was more joy for some than others by the end of Q2. After two action-packed sessions, there wasn’t enough room under the spotlight for all the stories that unfolded but the main actor was once again a simply sublime Jorge Martin. After hinting at it in practice, the Pramac man destroyed the all time lap record on his first lap right out the gates and then went on to dip into the 1:57s on his final lap, putting almost half a second into his rivals and securing an untouchable pole position. Ducati predictably held the majority on the front row but it was the supporting actors hogging the limelight, with Enea Bastianini auditioning as Martin’s closest challenger and claiming second on the grid. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez had a particularly busy afternoon on his way to breaking the Ducati stronghold of the front row. For a long time in Q1, the Spaniard looked like he would struggle to break into the top 20, but after choosing somewhat unreliable tour guides in both sessions, first with Jack Miller and then Pecco Bagnaia, Marquez was forced to get himself out of trouble. He did so in magnificent fashion, escaping from Q1 and then finding time out of thin air to climb into third.

The second row was just as Ducati-happy but, once again, they were not the colour their employers might’ve preferred, with Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini flanking Australian GP winner Alex Rins. If Gigi Dall’Igna wasn’t all that happy, at least Lin Jarvis was in the same boat to keep him company, with Franco Morbidelli as his lead rider in seventh position and with a double long lap penalty awaiting him on Sunday. The Italian opens third row ahead of Maverick Viñales and Pecco Bagnaia – the first of the title contenders, who all found trouble at turn eight. Bagnaia cruised through Q1 only to take a tumble in the closing stages of Q2 and drop to ninth on the grid, while Aleix Espargaro followed his example on the next lap and crashed while unrealistically trying to keep up with the poleman. The Aprilia man opens fourth row ahead of Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo, who struggled to put a fast lap together following a moment at infamous turn eight and ended the day a second and a half off pole.

With the impressive line-up of Q1, some of the usual contenders were bound to miss out and this time it was Brad Binder who was best of the rest and starting 13th on the grid. Jack Miller looked like a top candidate to escape Q1 for much of the session but a late highside at turn two left him 14th, with Cal Crutchlow joining them on row five. A fairly anonymous Johann Zarco ended the day 18th and it will be of little comfort to be promoted one position by Pol Espargaro’s grid penalty for irresponsible riding in FP1.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1:57.790    
2 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1:58.246 0.456 0.456
3 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1:58.454 0.664 0.208
4 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1:58.490 0.700 0.036
5 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1:58.575 0.785 0.085
6 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1:58.579 0.789 0.004
7 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1:58.654 0.864 0.075
8 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1:58.766 0.976 0.112
9 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1:58.862 1.072 0.096
10 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1:58.935 1.145 0.073
11 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1:59.145 1.355 0.210
12 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1:59.215 1.425 0.070
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1:58.645    
Q2 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1:58.878 0.233 0.233
13 33 Brad Binder KTM 1:59.053 0.408 0.175
14 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1:59.064 0.419 0.011
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1:59.256 0.611 0.192
16 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1:59.278 0.633 0.022
17 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1:59.363 0.718 0.085
18 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1:59.690 1.045 0.327
19 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1:59.699 1.054 0.009
20 87 Remy Gardner KTM 1:59.803 1.158 0.104
21 73 Alex Marquez Honda 2:00.008 1.363 0.205
22 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 2:00.077 1.432 0.069
23 45 Tetsuta Nagashima   2:00.803 2.158 0.726
24 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 2:10.717 12.072 9.914
Round Number: 
19
2022
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Comments

Q1 was operatic in plot. Or maybe just soap opera? In any case, full marks for an exciting qualifying. If Jorge could translate his successful Saturdays into successful Sundays, he'd be on Jack's bike. What an amazing lap!

And MM93 *can* do it on his own. I think Simon said it best: if Honda can be 5% better next year, watch out.

Plunging myself into pedantry:

If the improvement translated directly to a lowered lap time, 1% would equate to 1.2 seconds around Malaysia. If not directly related, what is the correlation? A rider may talk about a big step and their lap time improves a few tenths. Maybe several. They say that sometimes the improvement makes riding the bike less difficult, but does not lower the lap time much. This business causes a guy to wonder just how much the riders are masking the weaknesses of their bikes just to make the lap times. Martin smashed the lap record today by just over a half-second, but Motogp has been absent from Malaysia since 2019 (aside from winter testing). Averaged over three years, that's about a tenth of a percent improvement in the time attack lap time per year given all other conditions are equal (which is impossible).

Oh well... four of the top five in the championship standings incurred crashes that conditioned their qualifying. Quartararo has a fractured bird flipper. The pressure must be heavy. Bastiannini might still be in the championship game come Valencia. 

Part of the equation is most important methinks. And the only person that makes that judgement is MM. While I think it'd be great to see a better overall Honda next year for the racing, I feel that it's most likely going to be another 93 special edition. It can work well. Remember when he just wanted more power? No pesky teammates (or satellite riders) to take away championship points on an off day and helpful for the psyche. Fun to see what ultimately develops.

Nice of Jack to lead everyone from the pits wanting to get a tow from a fast Ducati. Shame Peco didn’t capitalise.

Thailand: Zarco

Australia: Bez

Sepang: Miller

I hate seeing riders crash but Miller got what deserved for trying to protect Pecco getting out of Q1. 

^Bias^

Check out the 125cc finale 1990...what has gone on this season isn't worth a mention.

My friend, can I gently suggest you moderate both your language and tone. You only have to look at how others frame their contributions to see that there’s no place on this forum for crudity and provocation such as this. Let’s play nicely. Or play somewhere else. 

…..worry more about Ducati trying to turn MotoGP into Formula One with team/factory orders than some language, but than again, you might be a person who can’t see the forest because of the trees?

^ I appreciate getting a track limits warning here. Got one yrs ago for calling Lorenzo a twit. Good to read the (friendly) room, I like not hitting as much green paint. 

:)

Still rewatching Sepang!

Curious about the race tomorrow, a few odd things may go on. This is a wild bunch right now.

Quartararo injured his hand crashing. Poor guy! He and Aleix both overrode unsuccessfully.
Marquez did with great success! No tow. He has returned to excellence in which overriding isn't overriding for him.

The full 2022 Duc (Pramac plus Marini) seems outright fast, but is it worse on tires and less smooth exiting corners? It is tough to separate such small differences from riding style and skill. Martin is a bit of a nut and inconsistent. Zarco seems to have lost his way. Martin is a Saturday guy evidently. Happy for Bastiannini! I like the kid.

Winners? Ducati, Marc, Rins.
Losers? KTM, Yamaha/Quartararo. Uhm, D.Binder has already started his Moto2 pace. But poorly, this time would put him one second off the Moto2 backmarker into 30th. Blue flag for Blue lag? Poor kid has a case of the Rabats. I think Morbidelli is going to get eaten alive tomorrow too. Dovi was smart to hand it to Cal. Yamaha is in a terrible chapter indeed.

----------

The rainy season finally hit hard here yesterday in Oregon USA after Summer-like weather. Just parked the 675R on a battery tender with sadness, Valencia is upon us and Winter isn't far. But first, a Title!

Will Bagnia keep his wits about him tomorrow? Who crashes out? Who gets collected? Marquez is here, and the Ducati squatmissile leaves everyone including him diving inside swapping paint. Martin's critical comment about Marc's aggressive pass last Sunday left me 1) remembering Mir-->Miller 2021, 2) looking for such moves as normal to get by the (please God bring a new F tire and make ride height devices illegal soon) Ducati, and 3) thinking Martin a bit of a ninny 4) with a chip on his shoulder that could bring a misstep in the race. Rins is smoking hot right now. Speedy Bezzecchi will be tailgunning again. 

Pecco is going to hold it together. The other two have fallen back and are in "beat Pecco or crash trying" mode. We may see that. Bastianini is still not far off! He isn't VR46 family, so Team orders need more force. A hard fight with surprises awaits. Tough to call this podium eh?

It's Peccos to lose now that's for sure. He looks rock solid but will be prone to dropping it given his history under pressure up to and including this weekend. Bumps and mixed conditions add to the fun.. For us. 

How was Pols form? Yet another one leaving Honda after convincing themselves that they would take it to Marc and being smacked about and sent packing.

Speaking of - the pass on Martin at PI was tame. He blocked and pushed him wide purely because of his chosen line.. Nothing sinister, which cost Martin another position. Talk about being soft..! That kind of mental weakness makes him easy prey if ever he is competing for the title. You've all seen how this kind of thing plays out with Marc. Just look what a snowball it started with Mav! Who ever would have imagined that a tow in Q1 and some mind games on pit entry would ultimately end up with Mav suspended by his own team for a race, out of the sport briefly and then riding second fiddle to Esparagus on an Aprilia.. All in half a season. He's playing with fire and Martin better get himself sorted instead of throwing his sour grapes out into the media for public consumption. He already struggles to put Sundays together let alone painting a big ol target on his back. The kid sure is quick though.

Here's hoping the old "pours at four" arrives early. This last week or so has been great theatre! 

I remember Martin after Silverstone last year. Quite condescending for a rookie. All I could hear was, 'you're time is gonna come...' Martin will make a move way more aggressive and 'close to the limit' but suddenly....it will be ok because it etc etc. He's young, he'll learn. What was it ? 2017 PI.

Huge talent over a lap, but often inconsistent over a race distance, and he really should learn to engage his brain before he opens his mouth. Same goes for Asparagus senior, really -- how can his public carping sit with his team? Especially from a guy dim enough to start celebrating before the race is over (Catalunya)?

Another side story regarding Martin was his towing of Aliex.

Ducati have replaced their loyal wingman with Enes (who has already been mouthy regarding Pecco and more than willing to show him a wheel and put a move on against gentle team friendly requests to avoid it), and this was at the expense of not only Jack but also Martin, who has bounced between reluctant acceptance and disgruntled media sniping of his own.

When all the chips are on the table and Ducati need all of their teams onboard, Martin not only tows Aleix into Q2 but it also ends up seeing Pecco having to go through Q1. That's capped off by a bro fist on the way into the pits which might aswell have been a middle finger to anyone dressed in red. 

Enes and Martin are polar opposites of Jack and Ducati really have themselves a chemistry catastrophe brewing. It will make for great viewing but whoa boy will it upset the apple cart down in the garage. 

... I think it'll be lively, to say the least.

Martin was helped a great deal in his younger days/career by Asparagus, financially as well as mentor-wise. I'm sure hence the on-track friendship. Agreed, it's not the smart behaviour for Martin as one of the Ducati family, disfunctional as it may be, lol. 

….complaining because he gave Aleix a tow? Personally I think it’s great we have a rider that’s a bit cocky and not like the rest of the incredible boring (of course not Jack) Ducati riders. 

Any fan or mutterer complaints will be Trumped by Ducati behind closed doors I reckon. 

….journalists since they don’t want get the cold shoulder treatment, aka The Ducati Bonesaw Treatment that Oxley got from Ducati because of Pressure Gate. 

There are different ways to see Espargaro's comments prior to this weekend. Aprilia getting off to a poor start in Malaysia proves that he was correct and they are not working well as a team, or his words and energy helped contribute to their situation. Or both, like it was a prophetic declaration. You reap what you sow and what you speak grows.

Aleix's mistake in Catalunya just shows that he is human which is a great relief. The same is true for his mouth, same goes for Martin. Martin's lack of politics doesn't bother me at all, in fact it cheers me up. The last thing I would want to see or hear is a group of riders who do not say what they think and only deliver a team message.

Aleix is all 'we'. He might rant, blame and get angry but if you listen it's mostly framed around 'we the team'. It's not forced, it's not press speak. He does sometimes speak without thinking and that part of the message doesn't change. Experience doesn't teach him to say it because it's good politics, it has taught him the truth of it and he has realised it. He knows it in his heart.

I think Martin knows it too. Fausto, Aleix and probably many others have helped him and given him a chance. Ask him about it and he says it is so. However, ask him about racing and it's I, me, mine. I think that's just the way it is with Martin at his age and with a microphone pushed up your nose. Should also, as always, remember that English is not his first language. Even though his English is excellent (mine isn't) the subtleties of expression carry the luggage of our cultural upbringing.

One thing is for sure, he can't do it alone, especially these days. Not even Marquez can do it alone.

….I can’t believe some Mutters are happy with the bland and boring, do not rock the boat, VR46 Academy trained mouthpieces that are so predictable it’s painful listening to them. Like I said in a previous post, we need more hate and a lot less high-five, ass slapping between the riders. 

I don't think anybody is overjoyed with team politic speak. I'm certain they would all love more Steve McQueen with added Keith Moon but I also think they understand the situation the riders find themselves in. That's especially true in these social media days. It doesn't make them ass wipes, it's just a reflection of the times.

No Mutterer said they are content with something like that. We all want battles on track, rivalries on and off of it, mindspeaking and hearts at tongue are what we all want to see and hear. It's a complete package which is needed to make and keep this circus so damn interesting.

What's not needed is being provocative at every opportunity. There's other places for that, no need to bring that stuff here.

…people say on here, just go back check every time someone has said something controversial, for example when Viñales said something less stellar about Yamaha, or AE being outspoken how he always is.  What partial made Kevin and Rainey’s battles so great was the that they truly hated each other and for us fans that was great, instead how it is this season, but I realize some of you rather have a championship with riders like Pecco, Bez, and Luca. 

I loved rewatching the start and how Bezzecchi moves immediately into a tailgunner posture. Even Marini looked like he may have been mindful of Pecco and supporting him. It is easy to follow w their Yellow # plates yelling at you. 

Interesting subplot in counterpoint to Bastianini, who is on a rise and may well do the pointy business next season. Contrast also inconsistent Martin w his petulance and unforced error from the lead. One can appreciate these nuanced intrigues best if not settling for initial inflexible self-referential rationalizations and the reactive "excitement" that momentarily blinds and reinforces one facet of perspective.

Brilliant Season, loss of Suzuki excepted.

GO BAGNAIA! Congrats Pecco/Ducati, well earned and crafty. Super slow to take flight mortal Astronaut beat two Aliens aboard the Japanese superpowers.