MotoGP: Pedrosa on pole after frantic qualifying at Sepang

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Dani Pedrosa will start tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position, after coming out on top of a frantic qualifying session that saw the lead change a number of times in the final seconds of the session, with the Repsol Honda rider eventually on top from Johann Zarco by a mere 0.017 seconds.

The final minutes of Saturday’s session saw escalating lap times from Jorge Lorenzo, Maverick Viñales, Andrea Dovizioso, Zarco and finally Pedrosa, leaving it to the final seconds to take the top spot.

“I’m very happy with this pole, which is our third this year. It’s a nice feeling because I usually struggle in qualifying, but the track improved a lot with today’s sunny conditions, offering good grip. Both tyres worked very well in qualifying, so I was able to find the rhythm on my first flying lap and set a good time, and then I pushed harder and improved on my second run.

“I made a couple of little mistakes but it was enough for the pole, which is fantastic. I’m happy for the team, as this pole is for them. We’ll have to see what the conditions are like for the race as we’re still struggling in the wet, so we’re really hoping for the sun tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi was an impressive fourth, leading the second row of teammate Viñales and former teammate Lorenzo. Marc Marquez was seventh, denting his hopes of lifting the 2017 championship tomorrow after crashing out of the session, leading the third row from the Suzuki pair of Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone.

Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top ten after crashing out of qualifying while on a pole-challenging time of his own, leading fellow Honda rider Jack Miller and the first of the KTMs of Pol Espargaró.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer