Lorenzo grabs pole position against the odds at Sepang

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Championship leader shoots message of intent to rivals with blistering pole pace

Jorge Lorenzo ended his qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix in the best possible way after grabbing his 25th pole position of his MotoGP career at the Sepang International circuit today. The Yamaha Factory racing rider pumped his fist when crossing the finish line after securing pole with his final two laps while main rival Dani Pedrosa, who was fastest in all sessions going into the qualifying hour, had to settle for a second place start with Monster Yamaha Tech rider Andrea Dovizioso securing another front row start in third.

We made a very good lap at the end of the session.

Jorge Lorenzo

For most of the session, it was Pedrosa leading the way with Lorenzo and Dovizioso at he sharp end throughout but within the final 10 minutes it was the current championship leader who began to dominate and eventually set the fastest time of the session and a new lap record of 2m 0.334s compared to Pedrosa’s best lap of 2m 0.528s with the Spaniard hampered by chatter while Dovizioso shot to the front and snatched pole away for a couple of laps but was then pushed to third with his best time (2m 0.567s).

Starting from 4th tomorrow will be reigning MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner who continues to improve his fitness and pace setting a best time of 2m 0.811s for his Repsol Honda team. Cal Crutchlow will start from 5th with a lap time of 2m 1.178s for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad while Lorenzo’s teammate ben Spies starts from 6th place with a best lap of 2m 1.185s, Spies’ mechanics decided to fit new air ducts designed to cool front brake temperatures after the American retired from last weekend’s race at the Twin Ring Motegi with his brakes overheating.

Hector Barbera managed to secure a 7th place start with his time of 2m 1.294s for his Pramac Racing team while LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl finished with the 8th fastest time of 2m 1.491s. Nicky Hayden starts from 9th for the Ducati Team (2m 1.526s), and rounding out the top ten was San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista (2m 1.640s) who had a fall during the session with the rider walking away unhurt. Valentino Rossi did not have a good day today and ended up with an 11th place start for his Ducati Team setting a fastest lap of 2m 1.783s.

Starting from 12th tomorrow will be top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro on the Power Electronics Aspar team with the Spaniard setting a fastest time of 2m 2.842s to start one place ahead of teammate Randy De Puniet who set a best time of 2m 3.389s. Karel Abraham starts from 14th with a best time of 2m 3.774s for the Cardion AB Motoracing team an the Czech rider starts one place ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT rider Michele Pirro with a best lap time of 2m 4.152s. James Ellison will start from 16th with a best time of 2m 4.515s for the Paul Bird Motorsport team while starting from 17th position will be Danilo Petrucci and the Came IodaRacing team with a best lap of 2m 4.726s.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Hazrin Yeob Men Shah

The final row on the grid will be headed by Colin Edwards and his NGM Forward Racing team with a best lap of 2m 4.941s and close behind the American was Speedmaster stand in rider Roberto Rolfo who set a best time of 2m 5.100s to start one place ahead of Avintia Blusens rider Ivan Silva with a best lap time of 2m 5.921s. Silva’s teammate Yonny Hernandez did not take part today nor will he race tomorrow due to an injured shoulder he sustained last time out in Japan.

Lorenzo remained philosophical about his pole position and is preparing for a hard race tomorrow. He said, “We made a very good lap at the end of the session with the new ‘qualifying’ tire. In the middle of the practice we struggled a little bit because we had a bit of chattering and the rear tire 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.”

Pedrosa is still being hampered by chatter that he has complained about since the first practice session, speaking after his qualifying hour Pedrosa said, “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".

Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha Tech 3
Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Dovizioso was delighted with another front row start. He said, “I am very happy with today's front row because it is confirmation of how strong we have been all weekend. I have to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because in every session we have made progress with the set-up of the bike and for qualifying we made another big improvement. It is always good to be on the front row but the pleasing aspect is my race pace.

I am very close to Lorenzo and Dani and my goal will be to stay with them for as long as possible tomorrow. With more rain earlier it meant the track was quite slippery, but normally when that is the case I am very fast and again today I have proved that. Hopefully it will be a dry race tomorrow but if it is raining then it will be the same for everybody and nobody has an advantage because we haven't tested on a full wet track,” Dovizioso added.

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags dovizioso, featured, hatch, honda, lorenzo, pedrosa, repsol, sepang, tech 3, yamaha

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