Third Consecutive Pole Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa scorched to his third pole position in consecutive races on Saturday as qualifying took place for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The 22-year-old Spaniard claimed top spot by just 0.041s in...
Third Consecutive Pole
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa scorched to his third pole position in consecutive races on Saturday as qualifying took place for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The 22-year-old Spaniard claimed top spot by just 0.041s in the dying seconds of the hour-long session with a lap of 2m 01.877s on his super-grippy Michelin qualifying tyres. It was Pedrosa's fourth pole position of the 2007 season and means a Repsol Honda has been at the front of the grid for the last four Grands Prix -- a sequence which began with Nicky Hayden's pole position in Portugal in September.
Hayden himself will start tomorrow's race from the second row of the grid after setting a lap time just 0.348s behind Pedrosa's best. The 2006 World Champion was fourth fastest in the cooler morning practice before temperatures soared to 33 degrees and the track surface temperature reached a searing 50 degrees during the afternoon session. With grip levels reduced in the extreme heat, Hayden wasn't able to hit his rhythm on race tyres, though he still pulled out one of his trademark qualifying performances to take sixth spot and give himself a good chance of getting away with the leaders when the race begins at 3pm local time tomorrow (9am CET, 8am UK).
(Note: Pedrosa, who rides with race number 26, has now amassed 26 pole positions, 26 wins and 26 fastest laps in all classes of Grand Prix racing -- 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP.)
Dani Pedrosa: Pole Position 2m 01.877s
"It's great to have three pole positions in a row and gives us a good chance for the start tomorrow, but of course the only important thing is the race result because there are no points for pole position. The qualifying laps went quite well and I improved by 0.8s on my second fast lap which was just enough to take pole position This afternoon the conditions were quite different to those we had yesterday and this morning -- it was much hotter which made the surface a little bit more slippery. We've been testing more tyre options today and we still have to decide which ones we'll race with. It depends on the weather and especially the temperature we expect for tomorrow afternoon. We also need to do some more work on the set-up based on the data from today's two sessions."
Nicky Hayden: 6th 2m 02.225s
"This morning in the cooler temperatures I was able to go a lot faster than this afternoon so we definitely need to come up with some adjustments to improve our speed in the hot conditions. Sixth on the grid is ok, although it hasn't exactly been the best day for us. My qualifying lap wasn't perfect and, like at Phillip Island last week, in the last sector of the lap the tyre went a little bit soft. Nonetheless, I was able to move up the field on qualifiers and getting on the second row here is ok. The main thing we have to decide is which race tyre to run with because the track changed so much this afternoon when the temperature came up. The surface was really hot and greasy, it was quite difficult for me to find enough grip and my rhythm was not so good. We got a decent qualifying position to give ourselves a chance -- now we've got to improve the settings in race trim. It's going to be really important to get a good start tomorrow and latch onto the front guys."
Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager
"This is Dani's third pole position in a row so congratulations to him on another great job. This afternoon was very hot with track temperatures reaching 50 degrees which is much hotter than yesterday. Under these conditions it's very difficult for the riders and team to determine the tyre performance over race distance so we will have to think about this very hard tonight. Of course we don't know what the weather will do tomorrow so we must consider all the possibilities. Nicky did a good job to get a second row start which also gives him a chance to get away at the front tomorrow. Our rivals look very strong too so I expect a very interesting race."
-credit: honda repsol