125cc championship leader Marc Marquez claimed a record 10th pole position of the season with another superb performance in Sepang qualifying.
Going into the closing minutes, it seemed likely that Aspar Aprilia's Bradley Smith would upstage the title contenders and start from pole for the third time in 2010. Marquez's penultimate lap looked slightly too slow to depose Smith, but a tow from Esteve Rabat on the pits straight allowed the Ajo Derbi to grab the provisional top spot by 0.005sec.
The Spaniard then made completely sure of pole by improving by nearly three tenths of a second on his last lap – despite a scare when a large part of the rear bodywork from Sturla Fagerhaug's bike flew off right in front of Marquez. It was the points leader's second near-miss of the afternoon, Zulfahmi Khairuddin having crashed just in front of him in the opening minutes.
Smith remained second, ahead of his teammate Nico Terol and third title combatant Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Derbi), whose teammate Efren Vazquez bounced back from his nasty Motegi start line crash to qualify fifth. However, Jonas Folger, who struck Vazquez in that accident, is having to sit out Sepang after a broken arm was diagnosed during subsequent checks in Malaysia.
Sandro Cortese, Rabat, Luis Salom, Tomoyoshi Koyama and Randy Krummenacher completed the top 10.
Danny Webb sustained a broken bone in his hand in a practice crash yesterday, but shrugged this off to qualify 12th, while Danny Kent again took Lambretta to new heights as he grabbed 13th.