Lorenzo clinches record-breaking pole in tight Malaysian qualifying
Pedrosa fastest on Friday had to settle for second on qualifying day
In a tight-fought qualifying session at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who stormed to a record pole position in front of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Spaniard’s new track record in the low 2.00s, giving him his seventh pole of the year, edged Repsol Honda Team’s title rival Dani Pedrosa into second spot on the grid, after the Honda rider had been the fastest in the preceding practices. The last place on the front row went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was on blistering pace all session, squeezing the maximum out of his satellite machine.
Heading row two in fourth is Pedrosa’s teammate Casey Stoner, with the Australian seemingly struggling with bike set-up once more, although qualifying less than half a second off the top. Next to him in fifth, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow put in a solid performance, yet will no doubt be hoping to mirror his teammate’s pace in the race tomorrow. Alongside him in sixth place is Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who was on consistent form throughout the session, having recovered from his mistake in the morning, yet could not quite match the speed of the Tech 3 satellite outfit.
Pramac Racing Team’s Hector Barberá set the seventh fastest time to occupy the front of the third row, after putting in a phenomenal performance on his Desmosedici. Eighth went to LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who will be disappointed he is not higher up the grid after showing good form in the previous rounds. Completing row three is Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden in ninth, with the American doing well to recover from a spill this morning.
The final top-ten spot went to San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, after a disappointing session for the Spaniard and his team, where he crashed on his final run. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who crashed in the morning practice, looked somewhat out of sorts finishing down in 11th, yet did well to save a big wobble early on. The CRT grid battle was won by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargar¢, who qualified in 12th just behind Rossi. Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez did not take part in qualifying and will not participate in the race tomorrow, after feeling the effects of his dislocated left shoulder too strongly yesterday.
Jorge Lorenzo Position 1st - Time: 2'00.334 - Laps 23 “We made a very good lap at the end of the session with the new ‘qualifying’ tyre. In the middle of the practice we struggled a little bit because we had a bit of chattering and the rear tyre wasn’t working as well as it had been in the morning session. We need to still work a little on our pace as it’s not extremely good yet but we have some options for tomorrow. Let’s see what happens, it’s going to be a long race in difficult conditions.”
DANI PEDROSA 2nd 2'00.528
"It was hard because we had a lot of chattering this afternoon and it was very difficult to get a clean lap as in some areas the bike was chattering too much, even in the straight! Nevertheless, we managed to get on the front row again and the second position is good. The pace is high and after missing FP2 yesterday because of the mixed conditions, this morning we've been working hard on the race pace. I just hope that we don't have this chattering for the race. The weather can play an important role too, so we'll have to see what happens tomorrow afternoon".
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