World champion Marc Marquez snatched pole position Saturday for the Malaysian MotoGP despite falling off his bike in a rain-hit race while course favourite Andrea Dovizioso also took a tumble. 

Qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix was delayed for over an hour as the Sepang International Circuit was hit by a torrential downpour.

When the race finally got underway, Honda’s Marquez, who clinched the world championship in Japan last month, clocked the fastest lap time of 2min 12.161 sec early on and stayed in the lead for the whole race.

About 10 minutes in, he fell off his bike on the rain-soaked track as he rounded a sharp turn. But he got back up straight away unhurt, and continued racing.

Yamaha’s Johann Zarco was in second place, 0.548 off the pace, while Italian legend Valentino Rossi rounded out the front row.

There was disappointment for Ducati’s Dovizioso, who only managed to clock the fifth fastest time and also took a tumble on the slippery track. He also got up and walked away, apparently uninjured.

The Italian is chasing his third consecutive victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix, as seeks to secure the runner-up spot in the overall standings this season.

He is currently in second position in the standings and his closest rival is Yamaha’s Rossi, snapping at his heels in third place.

Organisers also decided to shift Sunday’s MotoGP forward by two hours to 1:00 pm (0500 GMT), in a bid to avoid the heavy rains that typically fall later in the afternoon in tropical Malaysia. – Agence France-Presse

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