Italian Loris Capirossi took his second pole position of the year, racing comfortably in the afternoon heat yesterday to start at the front of the pack for today's Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Capriossi, who had taken pole to finish at the top of the podium at the Japan GP in Motegi last week, had a last lap effort to thank for when he raced ahead of Sete Gibernau at the Sepang International Circuit to clock in 2 minutes, 1.731 seconds.
"It is good that we can build from the victory in Motegi even though the situation is a little different," said Capirossi. "But I'm confident that we can do something tomorrow after winning our second pole of the year."
Gibernau had been in commanding position Friday and yesterday but had to give up the top spot on the grid after coming in second with a time of 2:01.867, while American John Hopkins settled for third with 2:02.017.
Defending champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, who needs only to finish among the top four riders at Sepang this week to wrap up his fifth world MotoGP crown, slipped from fourth yesterday to seventh, coming in with 2:02.412.
In the 250cc, Hiroshi Aoyama followed up on his win in the Japan GP last week to take pole as he raced ahead of Alex De Angelis who has been dominating all day in the final few laps of qualifying.
The Japanese rider astride a Honda came in with an impressive time of 2:07.860 ahead of reigning world champion Daniel Pedrosa, who staged a late surge of his own to start on second for tomorrow's race.
In the 125cc class, world championship leader Thomas Luthi took pole when he rode his Honda to a time of 2:14.546 as nearest challenger Mika Kallio ended the afternoon on fourth with 2:14.964.
Luthi, riding for the Elit Grand Prix stable, will start in the front grid alongside Mattia Pasini who was second on the day on board an Aprilia with 2:14.837 and Gabor Talmasci of Hungary third clocking in 2:14.903.
Ferrari confirmed it wants to give world motorcycling champion Valentino Rossi his Formula One debut in 2007 but denied reports that an agreement has been already reached.
Italian media speculated that Ferrari was prepared to give the Italian rider -- Italy's most popular sportsman -- a three-year contract worth 60 million euros (US$72 million).
Rossi has already had two tests with Ferrari -- one last year and another in August.