Malaysian GP: Repsol Honda qualifying report

First pole for the Repsol Honda Team rider on Bridgestone tyres. His teammate Nicky Hayden rounds off a great team performance with fourth position For the MotoGP riders pouring rain in the morning, and a big dose of excitement in the afternoon...

First pole for the Repsol Honda Team rider on Bridgestone tyres. His teammate Nicky Hayden rounds off a great team performance with fourth position

For the MotoGP riders pouring rain in the morning, and a big dose of excitement in the afternoon during the classification session whose last 20 minutes were on an almost completely dry track. In the morning the rain has got heavier and heavier, so the free practice in the three categories took place with a lot of water on the track.

At the end of the second classification session in 125cc the rain stopped and the sun came out raising the temperature to its usual high level, a combination that dried the track out very quickly. And it was not until the final twenty minutes when, with their slick tyres, that the riders in the top category began to lower their times.

As it was a special and very brief classification session, this afternoon the qualification tyres were only used in the last 10 minutes, the riders only got two opportunities to improve their times and to fight for the best positions on the grid. Therefore today" session was really exciting, with constant changes at the top of the classification. Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, Hayden and Dovizioso took turns along with Pedrosa, to be the fastest.

The Spanish Repsol Honda Team rider had already warned the other riders with his first set of soft tyres, getting the first position on his first attempt. His teammate Nicky Hayden, also very competitive on this second day of practice, set the 5th best time. Their final attempts saw Hayden jump up to 3rd position behind Rossi and Lorenzo, but on a spectacular last lap Dani Pedrosa got his first ever pole with Bridgestone tyres, beating the second placed rider, Rossi, by 4 tenths of a second and the third placed rider, Lorenzo, by more than half a second. In the end Hayden dropped down to 4th position and so tomorrow he will start from the second row of the grid.


After Julian Simon" disappointing performance yesterday in 250cc, today the Repsol rider and his team have worked hard to improve his position on the grid. In the morning, in a heavy shower, Simon finished well down the field in 19th position but in the afternoon and with the track already dry after the MotoGP session classification, the Spanish rider went out from the very first minute with the intention of improving the lowly position he had from yesterday" session. He set the 4th best time in the afternoon session and so the Repsol KTM Team rider climbed up a few positions in the final combined classification times, some of the times set yesterday's by some riders were better, and so tomorrow he will start from 7th position, that is to say on the second row of the grid. The two riders with Repsol technical support, Hiroshi Aoyama and Mika Kallio, put in good performances today at the Malaysian circuit. The Japanese rider Aoyama set the best time in the category and the Finn was 4th.

The heavy rain that fell during the morning, and practically until the beginning of the final classification session in 125cc, stopped the riders from lowering yesterday's times, and so the times set in the first session on the Friday are those that have been used to configure the grid. With Marc Marquez on the way to Barcelona after yesterday's fall - he arrived at 9.45am - Esteve Rabat was the only representative from the Repsol KTM Team 125cc. Yesterday Rabat, who fell at the beginning of the classification period, could not put in a good performance was 21st in a complicated session, and today he was not able to improve his position. Therefore tomorrow he will start from the seventh row. This morning in the rain, Rabat set the 12th best time, but in the afternoon the changes made to the set up on his bike did not bring the desired results and he finished well down the field, in 19th position.

Marc Marquez left the international airport of Kuala Lumpur for Barcelona last night at 11pm. At 9.45am he landed in the Catalunyan capital and he was taken directly to the Dexeus Clinic, where at this very moment he is being subjected to several tests by doctors to evaluate the exact state of his right leg. Later on an official statement with the results of these tests will be released.



Dani Pedrosa >> 2'01.548 secs, 41 laps, 227 Km.

"It is fantastic to be on pole here, especially since this is my first pole with Bridgestone tyres, so a big thank you to them and also to my team who have worked so hard for this. Track conditions were changing all the time this afternoon, so it was quite tricky.

At the beginning it was wet, then little by little the track dried, so you had to be on the ball to understand when it was best to change tyres. I was able to get in a good lap time in my final run, and I'm very happy to get this pole position. Pole is particularly important here because the lap times are all very close, so a good start will be crucial. We already know what race tyres we are going to use and I feel that we are ready to race. Of course, everything depends on the weather, it usually rains here most days, so we will have to wait and see when tomorrow's rain storm arrives. It could be wet, dry or mixed."

Nicky Hayden >> 2'02.192 secs, 43 laps, 238 Km.

"It was quite a wild day. This morning we improved quite a lot, but so did everybody else. It wasn't spectacular but we definitely made an improvement, at times we were really competitive. This afternoon was pretty gnarly. We started on full wets and the track kept drying and drying. We ended up fourth which isn't a disaster.

At one stage near the end I was 15th, thankfully we didn't get any big showers then, so I was able to get in a good lap, but I really wanted to be on the front row. I was fastest in T1 and T2 on my last qualifier. But lately I can only get one run out of my qualifying fronts and we didn't have enough time to change the tyre, because with the big discs we use here it take a while to change. So I did two runs on it and midway round my last lap she was done and I lost some time. I'm a little bit bummed, I haven't had a pole all year and every year for the last few years I've had at least one. The rear Michelin qualifier was amazing, it was ridiculous how much grip it had, even across the wet patches. If we can make a little step in the morning, get the bike turning a little better, I feel like I can be competitive. It's going to be a long, hard race if I'm going to hang in there."


Julian Simon >> 2'07.668 secs, 24 laps, 133 Km.

"We improved yesterday's times quite a bit although we are still a bit off the best time. I am satisfied because the day dawned very bad. It rained a lot this morning and we thought that it would be impossible to improve the times. But during the MotoGP practice the track dried out and we went out eager to test the new modifications.

I soon found that the bike was a little better and I was also able to check out how Hiroshi Aoyama rides and it was he who set the pole, and so I was able to improve my time. Thinking about tomorrow" race I am very optimistic, and dying to race, since I have just had two very good races. So our objective will be to try to fight for the podium."


Esteve Rabat >> 2'34.076 secs, 27 laps, 150 Km.

"Today was a positive day. In the morning we were quite fast, I ended up among the leading twelve, which is not bad bearing in mind the conditions. In the afternoon we began in the rain and I also rode well.

But halfway through the session we stopped in the pits and we made some change that did not work out as we planned. Whatever the case, this is also positive because if it rains tomorrow, we know that we won't have to use these modifications. It was a pity that it rained today because we will start at the back after yesterday's fall in the afternoon. We will have to make a good start and try to climb in the classification."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Julian Simon , Mika Kallio , Hiroshi Aoyama , Dani Pedrosa , Marc Marquez
Teams Repsol Honda Team