Temperatures soared at Sepang today and in the wilting 34-degree heat, Dani Pedrosa put his Repsol Honda RC212V on the front row of the grid for the ninth time this season, securing third place in qualifying for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix....
Temperatures soared at Sepang today and in the wilting 34-degree heat, Dani Pedrosa put his Repsol Honda RC212V on the front row of the grid for the ninth time this season, securing third place in qualifying for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix. The 24-year-old was quickest in the morning's free practice session and looked on course to fight for a third successive pole position at this circuit in the afternoon shoot-out. Pedrosa's laptime of 2m 01.254, set on Bridgestone's softer option tyres, was well inside the lap record he set in last year's race and, although a combination of traffic and small mistakes cost him the chance to top the timesheets today, he was happy to be on the front row and is confident about his chances the 21-lap race.
For Andrea Dovizioso, the increased track temperature this afternoon did not work in his favour and the Italian will be dependent on an excellent start from 11th on the grid if he's to repeat his podium finish from last year's race. This morning's free practice session went well for the Italian former 125cc World Champion and he finished in fifth place with a gap of just 0.649s to the fastest rider - Pedrosa. In the afternoon however, he wasn't able to extract the maximum from the softer option Bridgestones and couldn't match his lap from the morning - a time which would have put him eight on the grid. So the Repsol Honda rider will be focused on getting a quick start from the middle of the fourth row when the race starts at 15.00hrs local time tomorrow. (GMT + 8 hours)
DANI PEDROSA -- 3rd -- 2m 01.254s
"I'm happy to be on the front row again because, as always, this gives you a clear getaway when the start lights go out. I think we've got a good machine setting for the race tomorrow and we just need to adjust it a little bit during the warm up. At the end of the qualifying session I didn't make a very good job of it with the last soft Bridgestone tyre so my laptime doesn't reflect our full potential this afternoon. First I made a couple of mistakes and then I had some traffic which caused me to lose a little bit of the concentration you need to go at maximum pace at this moment. Anyway, I'm happy to be on the front row again. It will be a very tough race, very demanding for sure, but we always look for the win and we will give all we have to make it happen. I'm very motivated for this race."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 11th -- 2m 02.362s
"In this morning's practice we were in fifth place and my pace in race trim is not too bad so, even though I'll be starting from the fourth row, I'm still hopeful for tomorrow's race. Of course I'm disappointed to be in 11th because this is a track I really like, so a good start tomorrow is going to be essential. The track conditions gave less grip this afternoon compared to this morning and I wasn't able to improve my laptime with the soft tyres - in fact I was faster this morning. My rhythm with the race tyre is OK, but starting from the fourth row could spoil the race. We've worked on traction control settings again today and this will be useful for when the tyres go off in the race - but it doesn't help to achieve an outright fast lap on for qualifying. It's not the qualifying result we wanted and tomorrow is going to be tough, but we'll focus on getting off the line quickly and see what we can do in the race."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"For Dani, a front row start was the main objective for today, and he has achieved that in spite of not having a totally smooth qualifying session. I think he could have been closer to the front or even taken pole position if he'd had a clear run in the final moments, but he's looking strong for tomorrow and he should be able to get a good result. Andrea was looking good too this morning but it wasn't plain sailing in the afternoon and naturally he's frustrated to be on the fourth row. He has much more potential for the race though and, with some work during warm-up, I think he can move forward."