Valentino Rossi will start the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in pole position, as he bids to secure the 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship at Sepang on Sunday.
A best lap of 2’00.518 in qualifying secured the reigning champion pole position for the seventh time this season, with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa completing the front row.
The Italian broke his own previous pole record at the circuit, which he recorded on a 990cc machine in 2006, by 0.087s – and he lapped 0.569s faster than his Fiat Yamaha team-mate in this session. Rossi knows that by finishing in the top four tomorrow, he is assured of a seventh MotoGP world title and ninth career world crown.
Lorenzo, who crashed on his MotoGP race debut at the track last season, was followed onto the front row of the grid by Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man had been the fastest in free practice, but was unable to match the blistering pace set by Rossi, finishing a further 0.167s behind Lorenzo.
Casey Stoner, who won the race at Sepang in 2007, will head up the second row after lapping at almost a full second slower than Rossi, while Loris Capirossi secured fifth spot on the grid on his Suzuki GSV-R.
Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all came through inside the top ten as well.
Andrea Dovizioso was pushed outside the top ten on the second factory Honda and will start 11th, between Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and Gresini’s Alex de Angelis, while Aleix Espargaro did a fine job on his return to Pramac Ducati to line up right behind his team-mate Mika Kallio in 13th – though sadly it was a lowly 16th position on the grid for Brit James Toseland in his penultimate MotoGP race.
Pos Rider Bike Time Gap
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2m00.518s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2m01.087s + 0.569s
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2m01.254s + 0.736s
4. Casey Stoner Ducati 2m01.455s + 0.937s
5. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 2m01.716s + 1.198s
6. Toni Elias Gresini Honda 2m01.918s + 1.400s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2m01.980s + 1.462s
8. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 2m02.098s + 1.580s
9. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 2m02.195s + 1.677s
10. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda 2m02.274s + 1.756s
11. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2m02.362s + 1.844s
12. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 2m02.435s + 1.917s
13. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 2m02.859s + 2.341s
14. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 2m03.032s + 2.514s
15. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki 2m03.088s + 2.570s
16. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 2m03.528s + 3.100s
17. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda 2m03.874s + 3.356s
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