Dani Pedrosa claimed his first pole position of the year and afterwards the Spaniard said that it was a "a great lap" that was a step forward from the rest of the weekend. Given that Pedrosa has been competitive all weekend that's making a big statement. It's rare that Marc Marquez is left searching for four tenths of a second to any rider, never mind someone on equal equipment, and the difference between the Honda riders illustrates how strong Pedrosa was in qualifying.
"This is a lap time that would be great even in February, when the track is in better condition, so I'm very happy," said Pedrosa. "I had a good feeling with the bike and the team. We have prepared well and in testing here in the winter almost every time you go on track is like a "qualifier" in the morning because of the conditions."
Pedrosa ran a contrian strategy to his rivals in qualifying and elected only for two runs during the 15 minute session compared to the majority of the field who had three flying laps.
“I saw that everybody started very early in qualifying because the strategy was for three tyres, so I decide to only go for two tyres. So I started later than the others, I had no traffic and I can go out and focus on the lap. Normally I struggle a lot in qualifying, but today I had a good feeling and I could do a very strong lap."
Pedrosa's pace in race runs has also been strong and having won four times in all classes at Sepang it shouldn't come as any surprise that he's confident for tomorrow's race.
“Until now we did a good job in practice and went very fast all the time, so this is a track where you need a good set-up and confidence. Right now this is there and, yeah, why can't I win? But in any case we have to keep very, very focussed. It is very important to start well, have a good feeling with the track after the morning practice the track gets much hotter.
“So you have to feel well the track, but at the same time there will be another battle also in the race with Valentino, Jorge and sure they are going to try very, very strong. But we have to keep focussed because it’s a long race with many overtaking points and it is important to finish because last year for example I crashed in the early laps.”