Malaysian MotoGP: Sepang Qualifying

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MotoGP Qualifying Results

Jorge Lorenzo only needs to finish ninth or better at tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix to clench the 2010 MotoGP Championship, and the Fiat Yamaha rider will be starting from the perfect position to achieve these results: pole position.

The 23-year-old Spaniard, who will most likely grab his debut title in the premier class, led for most of the qualifying session at Sepang, but with four minutes to go Ducati Team Nicky Hayden posted quicker times.

But a determined Lorenzo, who was also fastest in free practice 2 in the morning, sped back on his last lap of the hour-long qualifying session, posting a 2:01.537 to start on the pole at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Jorge Lorenzo says: “I really wanted to fight for the pole position today, because I know the race tomorrow is going to be tough and it will be difficult to battle for the victory. We were strong throughout the session and in the end we did a great lap; I am so happy to be back on pole. Now the moment is arriving, it’s such an important day for my career and I’m excited for tomorrow. We are starting in the best shape and we just have to see what happens. For now we will try to stay calm and focused!”

Hayden will start from second on the grid, which is his second front-row start of the season besides his third-place start at Indy. Hayden was exactly one-tenth of a second slower than Lorenzo.

Nicky Hayden says: 
”This is a bit of a surprise, I didn’t expect to be on the front row today. We only missed pole by one tenth but don’t anybody feel sorry for us, we’re pretty happy! The lap itself was obviously a good one, I don’t think I could have got any more out of myself or the bike, but overall we’ve done a good job today.”

“We were struggling yesterday but we went back to a setting that worked for us in the test and even though I didn’t get the lap time this morning I told the guys not to make too many changes to the bike because I felt comfortable and knew I could improve purely through riding. Once again my thanks go to the team because everybody knows it’s tough on the riders in this heat but it’s tough for them too and they’re doing a great job.”

The final spot on the front row was taken by the sole factory Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso. The Respol rider placed his RC212V on the pole for Motegi, and finished second last week. Dovi was 0.292 of a second slower than Lorenzo’s M1, and 0.192 of a second behind Hayden’s GP10.

Andrea Dovizioso says: “It’s always important to be on the front row – and this was actually more satisfying than the pole position in Japan because the conditions were so extreme today. The level of riders and bikes in MotoGP is so high and so the front row also means we have done a really good job so far this weekend. We have moved things on from where we were in Japan and improved our electronic set-up again – we’ve found a good direction, which is really positive.”

Heading up the second row is America’s Ben Spies. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider was the final rider under the 2:02 mark, and was 0.164 of a second off Dovi’s time.

Following Spies was Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner. The Australian, who is chasing his third consecutive win of the season, struggled with a softer tire. Taking the final spot on the front row was Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi.

The nine-time world champion was quickest in Friday’s free practice session, but like Stoner struggled with grip on his Bridgestone softer tire at a usually slick Sepang circuit.

Rounding out the top ten were Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards, Rizla Suzuki riders Alvaro Bautista and Loris Capirossi, and San Carlo Honda Greisini rider Marco Melandri. Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati rider, Hector Barbera, went down during qualifying, but remounted to qualify 15th.

Dovi’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, is not competing this weekend due to recovery from his practice accident at Motegi. Pedrosa was the only rider capable of catching Lorenzo, and because he’s not starting at Sepang, Lorenzo will most likely clinch the 2010 MotoGP title.

2010 Malaysia Grand Prix Qualifying Results:

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
1.99Jorge LORENZOSPAFiat Yamaha TeamYamaha309.22’01.537
2.69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati306.62’01.6370.100 / 0.100
3.4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda310.32’01.8290.292 / 0.192
4.11Ben SPIESUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha304.52’01.9930.456 / 0.164
5.27Casey STONERAUSDucati TeamDucati309.12’02.0230.486 / 0.030
6.46Valentino ROSSIITAFiat Yamaha TeamYamaha306.62’02.0300.493 / 0.007
7.5Colin EDWARDSUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha308.82’02.0970.560 / 0.067
8.19Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki308.12’02.3940.857 / 0.297
9.65Loris CAPIROSSIITARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki310.12’02.5220.985 / 0.128
10.33Marco MELANDRIITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda309.62’02.6241.087 / 0.102
11.58Marco SIMONCELLIITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda304.72’02.6901.153 / 0.066
12.41Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPramac Racing TeamDucati306.62’02.7231.186 / 0.033
13.14Randy DE PUNIETFRALCR Honda MotoGPHonda305.42’02.7751.238 / 0.052
14.7Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNInterwetten Honda MotoGPHonda308.82’02.7781.241 / 0.003
15.40Hector BARBERASPAPaginas Amarillas AsparDucati311.12’02.9281.391 / 0.150
16.36Mika KALLIOFINPramac Racing TeamDucati308.02’04.1672.630 / 1.239