SEPANG, Malaysia — In a tight-fought qualifying session at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo stormed to a record pole position in front of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Spaniard’s track record in the low 2.00s gave him his seventh pole of the year, edging Repsol Honda Team’s title rival Dani Pedrosa into second spot on the grid after the Honda rider had been the fastest in the preceding practices.
“We made a very good lap at the end of the session with the new ‘qualifying’ tire,” said Lorenzo. “In the middle of the practice we struggled a little bit because we had a bit of chattering and the rear tire wasn’t working as well as it had been in the morning session. We need to still work a little on our pace as it’s not extremely good yet but we have some options for tomorrow. Let’s see what happens, it’s going to be a long race in difficult conditions.”
The last place on the front row went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was on blistering pace all session, squeezing the maximum out of his satellite machine.
Heading row two in fourth is Pedrosa’s teammate Casey Stoner, with the Australian seemingly struggling with bike set-up once more, although qualifying less than half a second off the top. Next to him in fifth, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow put in a solid performance, yet will no doubt be hoping to mirror his teammate’s pace in the race tomorrow.
Alongside him in sixth place is Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who was on consistent form throughout the session, having recovered from his mistake in the morning, yet could not quite match the speed of the Tech 3 satellite outfit.
Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá set the seventh fastest time to occupy the front of the third row, after putting in a phenomenal performance on his Desmosedici. Eighth went to LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who will be disappointed he is not higher up the grid after showing good form in the previous rounds. Completing row three is Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden in ninth, with the American doing well to recover from a spill this morning.
The final top-10 spot went to San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista.