SEPANG: World champion Marc Marquez was undoubtedly the fastest man in qualifying but will have to start from seventh on the grid at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix tomorrow.
The Repsol Honda rider’s two minute 12.161 second lap in qualifying (Q2) gave him his 80th career pole at the Sepang Circuit today.
But an incident which saw him clashing with Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) during the session saw him slapped with a six position penalty for irresponsible riding, being slow on the racing line and disturbing another rider.
Monster Yamaha Tech3's Johann Zarco (France), who clocked 2:12.709s, subsequently moved up to first place. Italian duo Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Iannone completed the front row after they notched 2:13.009s and 2:13.097s.
Two-time Malaysian GP champion Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) will start from fifth (2:13.183s).
Marquez, who secured the world title at the Motegi round last month, said the incident was unintentional.
"I was going out from the box and just let Dovizioso overtake me. At the hairpin, I then looked behind and only saw one Suzuki which was Alex Rins," said Marquez.
"Maybe Iannone was on the other side, I didn't see him. If I get a penalty, that will be up to the Race Direction.
"Maybe I disturbed him. All I can say is that I tried to avoid it, I didn't see. It doesn't matter, I did the fastest lap that is more important."
Marquez, whose aggressive riding style has always been a talking point, was speaking at the post-qualifying press conference when the penalty had yet to be announced.
He had also suffered a minor crash during qualifying but was able to resume on his second bike.