MotoGP: Pedrosa On Pole At Sepang

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa is untouchable as he claims his first pole of 2015 ahead of Marquez and Rossi, with Lorenzo in fourth.

Dani Pedrosa©Motorcyclist

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa produced an incredible lap in Q2 to secure his first pole position since the Catalan GP in 2014 and 28th in MotoGP. The Spaniard has almost been the forgotten man at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix after all of the attention that has been placed on Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez. He responded by blowing all of his rivals away by over four-tenths of a second to set a 1'59.053 in the hot and humid conditions, the fastest ever lap by a MotoGP bike at the Sepang International Circuit.

Dani Pedrosa©Motorcyclist

Pedrosa had earlier topped FP4 and carried that form into Q2, setting the time on his very first run. Despite most riders trying a two-stop strategy to try and beat him, it was good enough for pole and was incredibly over seven-tenths under Marquez’s 2014 pole record (1’59.791).

His teammate Marquez made it a Repsol Honda 1-2 on the grid for tomorrow’s race but found himself 0.409s off the pace of Pedrosa. It is Marquez’s 15th front row start of the season, although he was left frustrated after a huge moment during his second stint prevented him from making the most of his two-stop strategy.

Marc Marquez©Motorcyclist

The man who leads the championship by a slender 11-point margin, Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi (+0.673s), left it late to secure the final front row spot at the expense of his teammate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi had been in fourth as the checkered flag was waved, but managed to put in his best time on his last lap to leapfrog Lorenzo on the timing screens and relegate him to fourth. There had been some fun and games between Rossi and Marquez in FP3 & FP4 as Marquez appeared to be following the Italian, much to Rossi's chagrin, but it didn't stop the Doctor from going on to secure only his fifth front row start of the season by just 0.011s from his teammate.

Valentino Rossi©Motorcyclist
Jorge Lorenzo©Motorcyclist

Lorenzo (+0.684s) therefore will have to start from the front of the second row in what is his worst qualifying performance since Assen. The two-time MotoGP World Champion trails Rossi by 11 points in the standings and knows he ideally needs to win in Sepang and put as many riders in between he and his teammate as possible if he hopes to lift the title. Lorenzo had earlier crashed for only the third time in 2015 at turn 15 during FP4, but luckily for his title hopes he was unhurt. He ended up having to use his second bike for his first two runs in Q2 while his first bike was being repaired.

Cal Cructhlow©Motorcyclist

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+1.146s) qualified as the leading Satellite rider in fifth. The Brit set his best time on his final flying lap to claim his seventh second row start of the year. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+1.171s) completes the second row forSunday’s race as he once again showed good pace on the Ducati GP15. The Italian had been down in eighth on the combined times after FP3, but improved to finish just 0.025s behind Crutchlow.

Andrea Iannone©Motorcyclist

His teammate Andrea Dovizioso will start from the head of the third row, ahead of the two men who made it through from Q1, Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in eighth and ninth respectively.

Andrea Dovisioso©Motorcyclist

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera completes the top ten 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 eleventh after crashing late on and Pol (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in twelfth.

Hector Barbera©Motorcyclist

EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Brit rider Scott Redding will start from 15th, while Australian Jack Miller is the leading Open class Honda in 16th. American Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) will start from 19th as he out-qualified his Irish teammate Eugene Laverty in 22nd.

Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

  1. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
  2. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
  3. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  4. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  6. Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
  7. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
  8. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  9. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  10. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  11. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  12. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  13. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) Pramac Racing DUCATI
  14. Stefan BRADL (6) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  15. Scott REDDING (45) EG 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
  16. Jack MILLER (43) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
  17. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  18. Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Pramac Racing DUCATI
  19. Nicky HAYDEN (69) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  20. Loris BAZ (76) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  21. Toni ELIAS (24) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  22. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  23. Mike DI MEGLIO (63) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  24. Anthony WEST (13) AB Motoracing HONDA
  25. Damian CUDLIN (55) E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART
2015 Sepang Starting Grid©Motorcyclist