Cal Crutchlow made a welcome return to the front row of the grid in Malaysia.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a welcome return to the front row of the grid in Malaysia this afternoon, the British rider dodging rain showers throughout the second day at Sepang to finish third fastest in a dramatic conclusion to qualifying.
Fortunately it was only a very short cloudburst but the session commenced with some corners still damp. Crutchlow though superbly calculated where he could push hard to battle for a third pole position throughout a tense and exciting QP2. A lap of 2.01.801 put Crutchlow on top of the rankings by just 0.006s over Dani Pedrosa shortly after the halfway stage.
And in a frantic last lap sprint in improving conditions, the 27-year-old improved his pace to a 2.00.359 to clinch a deserved spot on the front row of the grid for the seventh time in 2013.
Today’s QP2 session was also a positive experience for rookie Bradley Smith, who too mastered the unpredictable track conditions with supreme confidence to score his best qualifying result since the Czech Republic round in August.
The 22-year-old got a massive confidence in the earlier FP4 session when he set the seventh best time and he took that impressive form into QP2. A best lap of 2.01.306 was just over 0.3s away from clinching a second row start and he will start the physically demanding 20-lap race from seventh position.