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Sunday October 21, 2012

Jorge breaks Sepang lap record to take pole

Powering on: Jorge Lorenzo in action during the qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit
Saturday. Powering on: Jorge Lorenzo in action during the qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit Saturday.

SPANIARD Jorge Lorenzo gave his quest for a second MotoGP world crown a much needed boost by taking pole position in fantastic fashion in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang ahead of championship contender Dani Pedrosa.

Lorenzo, currently holding a 28-point advantage at the top of the MotoGP standings, blazed to a new Sepang lap record of 2:00.334 on his Yamaha, edging his Repsol Honda Team title rival and compatriot Pedrosa to second spot.

Lorenzo snatched his seventh pole of the season on his final lap as the seconds ticked away to erase Valentino Rossi’s old record of 2:00.518 set in 2009.

Pedrosa was fastest in the three practice sessions but could only respond with 2:00.528 while the last place on the front row went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3s Andrea Dovizioso of Italy, who was on blistering pace all session to time at 2:00.567.

Heading row two in fourth is Pedrosa’s team-mate and two-time world champion Casey Stoner of Australia with 2:00.811 while Tech 3s Cal Crutchlow of Great Britain put in a solid performance for fifth with 2:01.178.

Alongside the Briton in sixth place is Yamaha’s American rider Ben Spies, who recovered from a fall in the morning session, to clock 2:01.185.

Sepang crowd favourite Rossi finished 11th on his Ducati on 2:01.783.

Rossi will be returning to Yamaha next season where he is expected to renew his rivalry with Lorenzo.

But, in the meantime, it is very much looking like a showdown between the two Spaniards.

A full capacity grandstand crowd at Sepang are expected today and they can even witness Lorenzo’s being crowned the new world champion as he can mathematically seal his second title here if his rival fails to finish higher than 13th today. There are 75 points left to fight for with three races remaining.

And he was pleased as punch to be in a position in what he expects to be a very demanding race today.

“We made a very good lap at the end of the session with the new qualifying tyre. In the middle of the session we struggled because we had a bit of chattering and the rear tyre was not working as well as it had been in the morning session.

“We still need to work a little on our pace as its not extremely good yet but we have some options for tomorrow. Lets see what happens. It is going to be a long race in difficult conditions,” said Lorenzo, who won his first MotoGP world title in 2010.

Pedrosa, is not, giving up and is determined to take the title fight down to the wire.

“We had a lot of chattering problem today. It is difficult to ride like this but we hope to resolve it tomorrow,” said Pedrosa, who won in the Japanese Grand Prix last week to make it four wins from the last five races.

Qualifying times

MotoGP: 1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 2:00.334, 2. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 2:00.528, 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Yamaha 2:00.567, 4. Casey Stoner (Aus) Honda 2:00.811, 5. Cal Crutchlow (Gbr) Yamaha 2:01.178, 6. Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 2:01.185, 7. Hector Barbera (Spa) Ducati 2:01.294, 8. Stefan Bradl (Ger) Honda 2:01.491, 9. Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 2:01.526, 10. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda 2:01.640, 11. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 2:01.783, 12. Aleix Espargaro (Spa) ART 2:02.842, 13. Randy de Puniet (Fra) ART 2:03.389, 14. Karel Abraham (Cze) Ducati 2:03.774, 15. Michele Pirro (Ita) FTR 2:04.152, 16. James Ellison (Gbr) ART 2:04.515, 17. Danilo Petrucci (Ita) Suter 2:04.726, 18. Colin Edwards (US) Suter 2:04.941, 19. Roberto Rolfo (Itaz) ART 2:05.100, 20. Ivan Silva (Spa) BQR 2:05.921.

Moto2: 1. Pol Espargaro (Spa) Kalex 2:06.962, 2. Scott Redding (Gbr) 2:07.399 Kalex, 3. Marc Marquez (Spa) Suter 2:07.566, 4. Takaaki Nakagami (Jpn) Kalex 2:07.617, 5. Johann Zarco (Fra) Motobi 2:07.672, 6. Bradley Smith (Gbr) Tech 3 2:07.721, 7. Esteve Rabat (Spa) Kalex 2:07.774, 8. Thomas Luthi (Swi) Suter 2:07.832, 9. Alex de Angelis (Rsm) FTR 2:07.849, 10. Dominique Aegerter (Swi) Suter 2:07.872.

Moto3: 1. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Mas) KTM 2:13.885, 2. Jonas Folger (Ger) Kalex KTM 2:14.151, 3. Sandro Cortese (Ger) KTM 2:14.599, 4. Louis Rossi (Fra) FTR Honda 2:14.681, 5. Luis Salom (Spa) Kalex KTM 2:14.817, 6. Miguel Oliveira (Por) Suter Honda 2:15.316, 7. Efren Vazquez (Spa) FTR Honda 2:15.366, 8. Brad Binder (Rsa) Kalex KTM 2:15.469, 9. Alex Rins (Spa) Suter Honda 2:15.814, 10. Adrian Martin (Spa) FTR Honda 2:15.858.

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