Stunning pole for Lorenzo and Rossi sixth in Malaysia Jorge Lorenzo set himself up in perfect style for his tilt at the title tomorrow by taking a stunning pole position, his sixth of the season, at Sepang this afternoon. His team-mate Valentino...
Stunning pole for Lorenzo and Rossi sixth in Malaysia
Jorge Lorenzo set himself up in perfect style for his tilt at the title tomorrow by taking a stunning pole position, his sixth of the season, at Sepang this afternoon. His team-mate Valentino Rossi was hopeful of a front row as well but was unable to improve his time in the closing stages and will start from sixth position tomorrow.
With temperatures in the high 30s it was a sweltering session for the riders but Lorenzo was on imperious form throughout, using the new specification M1 engine today for the first time since qualifying in Motegi. The 23-year-old spent several stints at the top and with ten minutes to go it looked like no one was going to catch him, before he was knocked off pole by Nicky Hayden with four minutes remaining. Lorenzo set out to redress the damage but with three quarters of his final flying lap gone he was still down on the American and it looked like it might stay that way. A superb final split from the Spaniard however saw him snatch pole position back and he will start tomorrow's race, from which he needs just seven points to secure the title, from the perfect position at the front of the grid.
Rossi meanwhile, who was fastest yesterday, was consistently in the top three during the early stages of the session but towards the end he was unable to find the extra few tenths that his rivals had found and slipped back to sixth. He was hopeful of improving with the softer Bridgestone tyre at the end but it did not give him the advantage he was expecting and he lacked enough grip to push as hard as he wanted. He was unable to improve on his final run and will start tomorrow's race, which gets underway two hours later than usual at 1600 local time, from the outside of the second row.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1st - Time: 2'01.537 - Laps: 25
"I really wanted to fight for the pole position today, because I know the race tomorrow is going to be tough and it will be difficult to battle for the victory. We were strong throughout the session and in the end we did a great lap; I am so happy to be back on pole. Now the moment is arriving, it's such an important day for my career and I'm excited for tomorrow. We are starting in the best shape and we just have to see what happens. For now we will try to stay calm and focused!"
Valentino Rossi - Position: 6th - Time: 2'02.030 - Laps: 24
"With the hard tyre we're not so bad, even if we're lacking some grip and the bike is moving a bit, so it's not so easy to control. However with the softer tyre we suffered a lot more because the movement became bigger and I couldn't use the extra grip. This means I am only on the second row. Tomorrow's race will be very hard, maybe the hardest of the season because the temperature is unbelievable and starting from the second row will make it even harder, but we will do our best and hope to make a good start."
Wilzo Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"Jorge did well! He was very consistent and it's great to be back on pole for the first time since Laguna. Since then he hasn't necessarily been riding as freely as in the early part of the season but today he looked at his very best. The bike is really good and the new engine is working well, so we will use it tomorrow. It's difficult to judge how the race will be, for sure he is nervous, as anyone would be, but it didn't seem to affect him today so I am sure he will be okay tomorrow. Let's see what happens!"
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We expected a better result than this today and our potential was greater, so we're a bit disappointed. We need to improve our tyre grip with the race setting; we tried some different combinations during the session and now we need to make some choices so we will use the warm-up for this. Unfortunately at the end of the session the soft tyre didn't give us as big an advantage as we were hoping for so we couldn't do better than the second row, but we will try to improve for the race."