Sepang MotoGP: Pedrosa on pole, Rossi outpaces Lorenzo

Dani Pedrosa smashed the lap record to take pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix, while Valentino Rossi edged out title rival Jorge Lorenzo to seal a spot on the front row.

Pedrosa's blistering pole time of 1m59.053s came during the first runs at a hazy Sepang circuit, his 1m59.053s putting him a full six tenths clear of Honda teammate Marc Marquez.

And that would be it as far as the battle for pole position was concerned, Marquez suffering a severe wobble at Turn 12 during his second run that forced him to abort his lap.

The reigning champion made a modest improvement on his third and final run, but came up 0.409s short - giving Pedrosa his first MotoGP pole since Catalunya last year and the 28th of his premier class career.

The real intrigue of the session, however, was in the battle between title protagonists Rossi and Lorenzo.

The latter held a decisive advantage after the first runs, benefitting from Marquez's tow to set the third quickest time, a tenth behind his compatriot, as Rossi languished over a second off the pace despite picking up a tow from Andrea Iannone's Ducati.

But on his final run, this time with no tow to assist him, Rossi pipped Lorenzo by the slender margin of 0.011s to demote his Yamaha teammate to fourth - the first time he has outqualified Lorenzo since June's Assen round and only the second time in 2015.

Lorenzo suffered the ignominy of riding towards the parc ferme area for the top three, only to be redirected away and down the pitlane to his garage - the cameras showing the Spaniard cursing under his helmet.

LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow grabbed fifth place from Iannone in the closing stages, with the second Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, and Q1 pacesetters Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) making up the third row.

A highly impressive Hector Barbera completed the top 10 on the Avintia Ducati, ahead of Aleix Espargaro - who crashed his Suzuki in the dying stages of Q2 - and Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha).

Qualifying results:

PosRiderTeamBikeTime
1 Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:59.053
2 Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:59.462
3 Valentino Rossi  Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 1:59.726
4 Jorge Lorenzo  Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 1:59.737
5 Cal Crutchlow  LCR Honda Honda RC213V 2:00.199
6 Andrea Iannone  Ducati Team Ducati Desmosedici GP15 2:00.224
7 Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team Ducati Desmosedici GP15 2:00.423
8 Maverick Vinales  Team Suzuki ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.478
9 Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 2:00.652
10 Hector Barbera  Avintia Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 2:00.724
11 Aleix Espargaro  Team Suzuki ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR 2:00.724
12 Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 2:00.794
13 Danilo Petrucci  Pramac Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 2:01.223
14 Stefan Bradl  Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia RS-GP 2:01.346
15 Scott Redding  Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V 2:01.367
16 Jack Miller  LCR Honda Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.725
17 Alvaro Bautista  Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia RS-GP 2:01.727
18 Yonny Hernandez  Pramac Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 2:01.748
19 Nicky Hayden  Aspar MotoGP Team Honda RC213V-RS 2:01.829
20 Loris Baz  Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 2:01.862
21 Toni Elias  Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 2:02.415
22 Eugene Laverty  Aspar MotoGP Team Honda RC213V-RS 2:02.460
23 Mike di Meglio  Avintia Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP14 2:02.964
24 Anthony West  AB Motoracing Honda RC213V-RS 2:03.855
25 Damian Cudlin  E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART 2:06.051

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Malaysian GP
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa , Marc Marquez
Article type Qualifying report