2015 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Results

Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa on pole for Sepang MotoGP
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

Two weeks ago at Motegi, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa earned his first win of 2015 MotoGP. The victory was also his first since Brno MotoGP 2014.

Though he has no chance of earning a first MotoGP title – the only two riders capable of this are Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and the Italian’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo – Pedrosaaa showed no signs of slowing Saturday during Sepang MotoGP Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Pedrosa was quick from the outset, but wouldn’t claim the pole until a blistering quick final qualifying lap; the 30-year-old Spaniard earned the top qualifying position with a 1:59.053. The time was over seven tenths of a second under the previous Sepang MotoGP Pole Record set by Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez last season (1:59.791).

Joining Pedrosa on the front row were teammate Marquez, who finished 0.409 of a second off the pace, and Rossi, who was 0.673 of a second behind.

“The team did a great job! We will have to concentrate a lot in the race, because the tires are suffering at this track so there is the possibility of making mistakes, and we must be attentive on every lap. I will try to ride as best I can, but I’m sure that the bike and tires will have a tough time,” Pedrosa says. “We will have to see how the track is tomorrow, because with so much heat we might not have as much grip as now; we will have to feel it out on the first few laps.”

Marquez’s second-place start is his 15th front-row start of the season, and creates a Repsol Honda 1-2 in qualifying. He was frustrated due to nearly crashing during the second run on his two-stop strategy; this slowed him tremendously.

Yamaha Valentino Rossi Sepang MotoGP Qualifying
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

With an 11-point lead over Lorenzo heading into the penultimate round, Rossi’s third-place start gives him a slight advantage over his teammate Lorenzo. Rossi was fourth in qualifying until putting in a hot last lap that secured him third from Lorenzo, who qualified in fourth 0.011 of a second back. This was Rossi’s fifth front-row for 2015 MotoGP.

“It‘s just the practice, so nothing is done, but it‘s a very important first row. On the last lap I was able to improve my lap time a little bit and overtake Jorge. Starting from the first row will be very important, but winning the race is always difficult. Here with the heat and the tires the race is even tougher. Anything can happen, but we are on the front row and this is important,” Rossi said.

“Sepang is one of the toughest Grand Prix because it‘s very hot, but a lot of qualifying sessions have been more difficult than today‘s has been for me, because today I was competitive and I enjoyed it. I arrived at the qualifying ready with a good setting and pace, so I was able to push and already on the second tyre I was able to put in a 1‘59s. I knew that I was able to do this, it was the target, but I was hoping for something a little bit more and on the last lap I was able to deliver thanks to good concentration and good grip from the bike, so I‘m happy. Starting from the front row is always important, but here it‘s a bit more important because I beat Jorge, but the race happens tomorrow and it will be difficult for everybody. We will try to be ready.”

Fourth was Lorenzo’s worst qualifying performance since Assen. Lorenzo’s best hopes for a third MotoGP title means he needs to win this weekend and put some space between him and Rossi. Lorenzo suffered a crash at turn 15 during FP4, and had to use his back-up bike for qualifying. Lorenzo’s primary bike will be fixed for Sunday’s 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix.

Lorenzo was the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa. Joining Lorenzo on the second row are LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, the top satellite rider finishing 1.146 seconds back, and Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, who was 1.171 seconds off the pace.

The third row consists of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, and the two men who made it through to Q1 from Q2 – Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera completes the top 10 after the Spaniard made it through to Q2 automatically for just the second time this season after Brno. He will start from the head of the fourth row as the leading Open class rider after his best qualifying performance of the year, ahead of the Espargaro brothers, with Aleix (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in 11th after crashing late on and Pol (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in 12th.

The only American in MotoGP – Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden who joins Ten Kate Honda in 2016 World Superbike – qualified 19th.

The 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 a.m. ET Sunday, October 25.

2015 Sepang MotoGP Qualifying Results

FRONT ROW

1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’59.053
2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’59.462
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’59.726

SECOND ROW

4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’59.737
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda 2’00.199
6. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 2’00.224

THIRD ROW

7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 2’00.423
8. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 2’00.478
9. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’00.652

FOURTH ROW

10. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 2’00.724
11. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 2’00.724
12. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 2’00.794

FIFTH ROW

13. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing 2’01.223
14. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’01.346
15. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 2’01.367

SIXTH ROW

16. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda 2’01.725
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’01.727
18. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing 2’01.748

SEVENTH ROW

19. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team 2’01.829
20. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing 2’01.862
21. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing 2’02.415

EIGHTH ROW

22. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team 2’02.460
23. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 2’02.964
24. Anthony West (AUS) AB Motoracing 2’03.855

NINTH ROW

25. Damian Cudlin (AUS) E-Motion IodaRacing Team 2’06.051