It's 3.35pm at a sweltering Sepang circuit, and Marc Marquez has just latched onto the back of the charging Fabio Quartararo as the first flying laps of the 15-minute second qualifying session for the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix get underway.
Rookie sensation Quartararo has been on fine form all weekend. Still hobbling about the paddock from his bruising time at Phillip Island, where he crashed heavily in FP1 and was wiped out in the race, he smashed Dani Pedrosa's 2015 Sepang lap record twice during Friday practice. Despite the added responsibility of this being the home race of SRT title sponsor Petronas and its patriotic Malaysian fans, the 20-year-old has shown no signs of buckling from pressure as heavy as the oppressive heat that envelopes the circuit.
His opening lap of 1m59.3s is good enough for second once everyone has finished their first efforts. Despite Marquez shadowing him, Quartararo pushes on, pulling a gap the Honda rider cannot close. A 1m58.763s puts him briefly four tenths clear of anyone. Marquez is third with a 1m58.178s.