MotoGP – Pedrosa Storms To Pole In Malaysia

October 23, 2011

125cc, Moto2, MotoGP

By MotoGP.com

Dani Pedrosa topped a Repsol Honda shoot out and continued his domination of the MotoGP field during a searing qualifying session for the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix, with Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso taking second and third.

Following a crash on just his fifth lap, Dani Pedrosa, who missed the Malaysian GP last year while recovering from a collarbone injury, clawed his way back to the top of the timings after fighting off both his Repsol Honda team-mates to take pole position with a time of 2’01.462.

Pedrosa’s time was still two-tenths behind the scorching lap he set in FP2, but a margin of 0.029s put him ahead of Casey Stoner, denying the new World Champion his 12th pole of the season. Andrea Dovizioso landed a further 0.175s back to claim the final spot on the front row for the Italian’s seventh front row start of 2011.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) put in a lap of 2’02.010 to put him at the head of row two for Sunday’s race. The American sits in fourth by a margin of 0.095s over Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) in fifth and just over a tenth ahead of the top Ducati qualifier, compatriot Nicky Hayden.

Hiroshi Aoyama heads up the third row, with Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista beside the Japanese rider and Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) completing the row after crashing during the session. The Italian quickly made it back out on track to post a lap of 2’02.395 on his final of 22 laps.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) made it into the top ten for the first time this weekend, while a recovering Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar), after a bit of fairing contact with Hayden in the session, completed 17 laps to land 14th on the grid.

An already sore Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), who is still recovering from a highside crash in Australia last week, suffered a second fall of the day after retiring early from FP3 in the morning following a crash in that session. The Texan closed the session in 16th.

Moto2:

Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) clinched his first pole position in the Moto2 class, beating Stefan Bradl and Michele Pirro, whilst Marc Márquez completed just two laps to ensure himself a spot on the grid.

Leading the field for the second time this weekend, 2005 125cc World Champion Lüthi took over the top spot from Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) with a lap of 2’07.512, a two-tenths margin over the Championship leader. Gresini Racing Moto2’s Pirro followed Bradl by two-tenths to clinch his best starting position of the season with third just before crashing out of the qualifying outing.

Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) posted a lap of 2’08.069 to land at the head of row two, with both Espargaró brothers following the Japanese rider, with junior Pol (HP Tuenti Speed Up) ahead of senior Aleix (Pons HP 40) by four-hundredths.

Completing the session in seventh with a best effort of 2’08.240 was Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing), with Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) joining the Finn on row three. Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) rounded out the top ten with a time nine-tenths off the pole time set by Lüthi.

Márquez, who had sat out both Friday afternoon’s second practice and Saturday morning’s third session as he continued to recover from his huge crash in FP1, did enough to qualify in 36th position. Just three points separate the Spaniard and Championship leader Bradl going into Sunday’s penultimate race of the season.

125cc:

Nicolás Terol will start the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Faubel and Cortese after an eventful 125cc qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit saw title contender Zarco crash.

Championship leader Terol (Bankia Aspar) edged team mate Héctor Faubel out of pole position by 0.015s in the final moments of qualifying for Sunday’s race with a lap of 2’13.579. Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), who held provisional pole early in qualifying, finished 0.375s off Terol to take third on the starting grid.

With Sunday’s race potentially deciding the last ever World 125cc title, disaster struck contender Johann Zarco as he crashed eight minutes into the session. The Frenchman rushed to the pits to get his bike fixed, re-emerging with 15 minutes remaining but immediately pulled off track with an apparent mechanical issue. The Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider managed to return to the track again, only to run off in a push for a grid position higher than the last row. Zarco completed the session in 15th, putting him on row five for tomorrow’s race.

Row two is comprised of Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) whose lap of 2’14.581 put him ahead of Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), the two both bouncing back after the pair crashed in separate incidents in FP3 in the morning.

Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) starts from the head of row three with Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Adrián Martín (Bankia Aspar) joining the young rookie. Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), who highsided in FP3 and was taken to the medical centre for evaluation, recovered enough to land tenth in qualifying and will start from the head of row four.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-SIC-Ajo) did his home fans proud by finishing 13th in the field of 32 riders, while Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing), Harry Stafford (Ongetta-Centro Seta) and Giulian Pedone (Phonica Racing) all had falls in the session, the three will start from 22nd, 19th and 18th respectively.

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