Jorge Lorenzo will start the biggest race of his career from pole position tomorrow after he denied Nicky Hayden a shock Malaysian MotoGP pole in baking hot conditions.
Lorenzo could not have wished for the build-up to tomorrow’s crunch race to go any smoother as a brilliant late lap of 2.01.537 secured him his sixth pole position of 2010.
The 23-year-old only needs to score six-points to be crowned 2010 MotoGP world champion tomorrow and his best time today secured him pole position for the first time since Laguna Seca in late July.
The Fiat Yamaha rider’s late surge also prevented factory Ducati rider Hayden from claiming a shock pole position.
The American was way out of contention in practice yesterday when he slumped to 15th but a lap of 2.01.637 with four minutes put him on top of the timesheets for a brief period.
He led Lorenzo by just 0.065s but the Spaniard’s impressive ending denied the 2006 world champion his first pole position since the Estoril race in 2007.
He eventually finished 0.100s behind Lorenzo to claim only his second front row start of the season to follow up his third in Indianapolis in late August.
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso completes the front row after a best lap of 2.01.829 left him a further 0.192s adrift in searing hot temperatures that nudged 35 degrees
The Italian claimed his first back-to-back front row starts in MotoGP to follow up his brilliant maiden pole position in Japan last weekend.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies will start from fourth, the Texan missing out on a front row start by just 0.164s.
The 26-year-old led the session with 15 minutes remaining when he became the first rider to duck under the 2.02 barrier with a 2.01.993. He was unable to go any faster but he’ll start from the second row of the grid for the seventh successive race.
Casey Stoner will start his bid for a third successive victory from fifth on the grid. The Australian, who has won the Motorland Aragon and Twin Ring Motegi races, set a best time of 2.02.023 to finish 0.486s off Lorenzo’s pace.
Valentino Rossi’s hopes of gatecrashing Lorenzo’s party were dented somewhat when he could only qualify in sixth place.
The Italian, who had been fastest in yesterday’s opening practice session, was 0.007s behind Stoner with a best lap of 2.02.030.
Loris Capirossi bounced back from a heavy crash this morning to finish ninth quickest as just 1.391s covered the top 15.
Hector Barbera escaped injury in a late crash and he will start from 15th on the grid.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha
2 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda
4 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
5 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Team Ducati
6 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha
7 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki
9 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki
10 Marco MELANDRI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda
11 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati
13 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda
14 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda
15 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati
16 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing Team Ducati