MotoGP leader Jorge Lorenzo seized pole position for today’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, with the Yamaha rider putting in a record lap in qualifying.
The Spaniard clocked a lap of 2 minutes 00.334 seconds at the end of the one-hour qualifying session yesterday, breaking the circuit record of 2:00.518 set by Italian rider Valentino Rossi in qualifying in 2009.
Lorenzo’s closest rival, fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, was in menacing form and posted the second fastest time on his Honda while his Australian teammate Casey Stoner posted the fourth fastest time.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso was third quickest with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, also on a Yamaha, taking fifth. American Ben Spies, on a Yamaha, will start sixth on the grid.
Pedrosa clocked 2:00.528, 0.194 seconds slower than Lorenzo in a close-fought battle, while Dovizioso posted 2:00.567.
It will be Lorenzo’s seventh pole start of the season.
“I managed to set a new lap time in the last lap with new tires. Pole position is a very good position but we need to set-up the bike [for Sunday],” he said.
Lorenzo missed last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where 24-year-old Marco Simoncelli was killed in a second lap crash, due to injury. The race was subsequently canceled.
Nine-time world champion Rossi’s bad season for Ducati continued after he crashed during the first few minutes of the third practice. He qualified eleventh on the grid.