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Oct 24, 2015

Pedrosa Smashes Lap Record, Earns MotoGP Pole Position At Sepang

Dani Pedrosa (26).

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

October 24, 2015

Qualifying Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

From Qualifying Two:

1. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:59.053

2. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:59.462

3. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:59.726

4. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:59.737

5. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (HONDA), 2:00.199

6. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 2:00.224

7. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 2:00.423

8. Maverick VIÑALES, Spain (SUZUKI), 2:00.478

9. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 2:00.652

10. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 2:00.724

11. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (SUZUKI), 2:00.724

12. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:00.794

From Qualifying One:

13. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (DUCATI), 2:01.223

14. Stefan BRADL, Germany (APRILIA), 2:01.346

15. Scott REDDING, UK (HONDA), 2:01.367

16. Jack MILLER, Australia (HONDA), 2:01.725

17. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (APRILIA), 2:01.727

18. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (DUCATI), 2:01.748

19. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (HONDA), 2:01.829

20. Loris BAZ, France (YAMAHA), 2:01.862

21. Toni ELIAS, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:02.415

22. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (HONDA), 2:02.460

23. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (DUCATI), 2:02.964

24. Anthony WEST, Australia (HONDA), 2:03.855

25. Damian CUDLIN, Australia (ART-APRILIA), 2:06.051



More, from a press release issued by Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS:

Redding forced to settle for fifth row at Sepang

Sepang, Malaysia - 24 October 2015: Scott Redding had to settle for 15th on the grid for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, after being outgunned in qualifying at Sepang. As one of only two riders unable to use the softer tyre available only to his open class rivals, Redding was always on the back foot in his attempts to make it through to Q2.

At times during the session it looked as though the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider had the pace to go faster and challenge for a top two spot. However, having lost out so much time in the second half of the lap with the two long straights, the Briton was unable to get among the frontrunners and the fifth row was the best that he could achieve.

The 22-year-old's pace in FP4, when the majority of the field run race simulations, indicated that progress has been made for tomorrow's 20-lap race but starting from the fifth row will make it exceptionally difficult for Redding.

Scott Redding: 15th – 2’01.367

"I'm just struggling and I feel that we're limited a little bit by the lap time. When I hit that time I can't go any faster and with the last sector having two straights back to back it's hard for me because we tend to lose a little bit there for some reason. I gave it my best and today it just wasn't good enough. It's not the first time this year that we've had to start from the fifth row and the main thing tomorrow is that we finish, because it's going to be a long, tough race in these conditions. If you're strong mentally and physically at the end of the race you can gain some places."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"It was disappointing to be 15th because on Friday we was looking quite promising with a top ten time in conditions that weren't so favourable to Scott. To come only 15th isn't what I was expecting and it looks like the people with the softer tyre have an advantage. It's a shame, but we knew that this was the case because it's been the same all season and, in reality, we shouldn’t really be in Q1 in the first place. It'll be a tough race tomorrow because we're coming from quite far down the grid, so now we have to be realistic and aim for between 10th and 12th."



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Pedrosa smashes lap record with Marquez completing 1-2 for Repsol Honda Team

Dani Pedrosa has taken an incredible pole position for tomorrow’s Malaysian GP – his first since Catalunya 2014 – and with it broken the current lap record by over seven tenths of a second. His teammate, Marc Marquez, secured second place on the grid, celebrating the team’s third 1-2 start of 2015 (also in Sachsenring, Indianapolis).

With most riders aiming aiming to complete three exits in qualifying, Dani decided on only two and waited before exiting the garage in order to have more space on track without traffic. He executed his plan perfectly, and on his first flying lap he broke the lap record with his time of 1’59.053 – beating the 2014 record by 0.738 seconds (1’59.791 – Marquez) – and six tenths faster than second place Marc.

Marc made a small mistake on his second run – lucky not to crash – and returned immediately to the garage. On his final run, he confirmed his second place on the grid bettering his time with 1’59.462 on his final lap. Dani was unable to top his first time, but still managed an impressive 1’59.431 on his second run.

Tomorrow’s race will begin at 15h00 local time.

Dani Pedrosa

1ST 1'59.053

"The team did a great job! We will have to concentrate a lot in the race, because the tyres are suffering at this track so there is the possibility of making mistakes, and we must be attentive on every lap. I will try to ride as best I can, but I’m sure that the bike and tyres will have a tough time. We will have to see how the track is tomorrow, because with so much heat we might not have as much grip as now; we will have to feel it out on the first few laps."

Marc Marquez

2ND 1'59.462

"Dani did a great lap, which was difficult to beat! We will try to give 100% from the start of the race, which I think will be tough physically, but I think we are good in terms of our race pace. I am finding things harder with fresh tyres here - compared to other circuits - especially the front and that was seen when I came close to crashing! We have been doing quite well during the weekend; we’re not totally comfortable but we’re handling the situation well and finding our race pace."



More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

GOOD QUALIFIERS FOR BRADL WHO FINISHES AMONG THE BEST IN Q1 AND TAKES HIS APRILIA RS-GP TO THE FIFTH ROW

BAUTISTA ALSO DOES WELL (SIXTH ROW FOR HIM) IMPROVING HIS RACE PACE SIGNIFICANTLY

Sepang (Malaysia), 24 October 2015 - Stefan Bradl is back at the same levels as the Japanese weekend (when he missed out on qualifying for Q2 by just a few thousandths of a second) and in the Sepang qualifiers he once again rode his Aprilia to the fifth row. In fact, he finished with the fourth best time in Q1 (2’01,346) which earns him the fourteenth spot on the starting grid. The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini German rider also has a good race pace which makes him confident that in the race he will be able to confirm the progress shown in practice and qualifying.

The Sepang Saturday was positive for Alvaro Bautista as well as he qualified just behind his team mate - seventh place in Q1 for him with 2’01,727 and therefore the seventeenth spot on the grid - but he demonstrated significant progress in terms of race pace compared to yesterday.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)

“We are rather satisfied. Our performance has improved a lot and in a stable way. We have good race pace both with Bautista, who improved significantly from yesterday, and with Bradl. In particular Stefan has confirmed the good level he has reached in qualifying after the hiccough at Phillip Island. Now I hope that he can finally confirm his performance in the race. Judging from the way he was lapping on used tyres I'd say that his chances are good. Tomorrow morning we still need to try some changes to improve grip, especially with Alvaro.”

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)

“These were good qualifiers. We are confirming the improvements made in the last two races which brought us very close to the group and that means that we are working well. Stefan has always done well in qualifying and here he proved that once again, getting close to the group of ten and also demonstrating a good race pace. Alvaro also has a good pace and he has made clear improvements from yesterday. A good start will be important tomorrow and then the race, as is always the case here, will be very difficult - an excellent test bench for the riders and bikes alike.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA

“On my flying lap I'm struggling because of a lack of grip but we are definitely doing better on pace. In the free practice this morning we improved our race pace by more than half a second. Then in FP4 we tested a few things but without any great improvements. The race will be difficult here, even physically, and we need to be focused to manage the power and the tyres. As always our goal is to finish in the points. I'll need to get off the line well at the start and manage the race well.”

STEFAN BRADL

“I'm very happy with the qualifiers. At the end of Q1 I was able to put in a really good lap. It was a shame that I made just a small mistake in the last turn, but we are pleased with the result anyway. The bike's performance has also improved in terms of race pace and tomorrow during warm up we are confident that we can take another step forward. In fact, we already have a few ideas that we'll try in order to improve grip at the rear even more going into turns. I'm very confident for the race tomorrow. We feel like we are ready.”



More, from a press release issued by OCTO Pramac Racing:

Petrux and Yonny will start respectively from 5th and 6th row in Shell Malaysian Gp

A crash during FP3 time attack has ruined the plans of Danilo Petrucci who was lapping fast confirming the good sensations on Friday. For Yonny Hernandez a difficult saturday and a feeling to find in sight of the the race.

The two bishops of OCTO Pramac Racing Team will start respectively from fifth and sixth row in the Shell Malaysian GP which will be held tomorrow at 3 pm (local time) at Sepang Circuit.

After the tenth place in friday's free practice, Petrux managed to lap fast in FP3 confirming the good feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici GP 14.2. In the time attack, however, following a very good T1 and his best time in T2, at turn 7 Danilo has lost the front slipping off the track and precluding the possibility of fighting for an easy direct qualification to Q2. In the afternoon, then, due the worse track conditions, Danilo could not be competitive as he did in the morning ending the Q1 in 3rd position 4 thents of a second from the Q2. Petrux will start tomorrow from 13th position.

Bad day for Yonny Hernandez, who failed to make significant progress. The rider from Medellin finished FP3 in seventeenth place and in Q1 he was unable to go beyond the eighth place that will force him to start from 18th position on the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Petrux and Yonny will start respectively from 5th and 6th row in Shell Malaysian Gp

13° - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #9

Unfortunately the fall in FP3 put me out of the game. I must say that the feeling from yesterday is a little changed. The race pace is good though (11th time in FP4 with an ideal time that projects in 9th position). The problem is that I can not have a stable braking and this should be our strength point. Tomorrow it will be a tough race for everyone due to extreme weather conditions. I believe that physical condition and stamina from mid-race onwards will have the same value of a good set up.

18° - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #68

The feeling is not improved. I could not take a step forward compared to Friday both in the single lap and in race pace. I experienced problems in any run and I made a few mistakes. I hope tomorrow we can improve the race pace to be able to be more competitive in the race.



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Row 2 for Andrea Iannone, sixth in qualifying at Sepang. Dovizioso sets seventh time and starts from row 3 for Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix

At the end of qualifying for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix, the two Ducati Team riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso placed sixth and seventh respectively and will start Sunday’s penultimate round of the season at Sepang from rows 2 and 3.

FP3 in the morning finished with Dovizioso in eighth and Iannone, halted during the session by a technical issue on his GP15, in eleventh but the combined standings of the three free practice sessions saw both Ducati Team men inside the top 10 and as a result qualifying for Q2.

After the thirty-minute FP4 session in the early afternoon, which saw Iannone third and Dovizioso sixth and both lapping with a good pace, the two Italian riders then went out for their decisive qualifying run. Iannone, opting for a three-exit strategy like Phillip Island, and Dovizioso (two exits) always used a soft rear and they set their best times on their first run.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’00.224 (6th)

“I think that today it was difficult for me to do anything more. I tried to give my maximum, but I’m struggling to get the bike through the turns and so was not able to go any quicker. Obviously we are not happy, but now we must stay focussed and continue working to understand the right direction to take in order to reduce our problems to a minimum or at least manage to quick-fix them. I don’t expect any big changes for tomorrow’s race, but all things considered I’m not in such a bad position. As for our race pace in FP4, after Dani and Marc there are Jorge and me, and then Vale, but we will have to see if and how much the situation will change with the race tyre.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’00.423 (7th)

“In FP4 we didn’t go too bad with our race pace: even though we aren’t at the same level as the top four, we’re not far off. Instead in qualifying we didn’t go as well as we could have done, because I reckon I could have got under the two-minute mark. Unfortunately everything becomes more complicated when you can’t do what you want on the bike, and so it’s a real struggle to pull out 100%.”



More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

VIÑALES ON THIRD ROW FOR MALAYSIAN GP

It was a case of another step forward by Team SUZUKI ECSTAR in Malaysia and the second day of practice at Sepang that gave positive results to both Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro in eighth and 11th.

Most importantly, both of them made huge improvements from their early sessions at a track that was supposed to be very hard for the GSX-RR’s configuration and the race pace they showed today gives the two crews hope for tomorrow’s race.

After the lack of feeling he suffered yesterday, Viñales found effective solutions on his MotoGP machine and was more competitive in FP3. This was not enough to get direct access to Q2, but at the end of the day the Q1 session proved to be very useful for him to finalise an even better set-up and led him to the first qualifying session to go in the fight for the top 12. This also allowed him to be more competitive in qualifying and his best lap of 2’00.478 gave him the eighth place on tomorrow’s grid.

Positive improvements were also made for Espargaro as well, who was immediately fast in FP3 and developed a solid and fast pace in FP4. His first attempt with the fast time attack lap in Q2 granted him a 2’00.724s lap that sets him in the 11th place on the grid, while unfortunately his second attempt with a softer tyre led to a crash, therefore preventing him improving his position.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“In qualifying the things between our riders got upside down: Aleix had a very good pace for the race, he is fast, but unfortunately he crashed in Q2 while he was trying to make his second attempt on the one-lap time attack, classifying him only in 11th. He has a good pace for the race but he will have to struggle a little more in the race. Maverick has instead had some troubles over these two days but in the end, he could recover very positively, classifying in eighth position, which is a good place. He still has some room for improvements, if we manage to make further improvements also to his machine I think he will be in a good condition to make a good race.”

Maverick Viñales:

Qualifying position: 8th

Best lap: 2’00.478s

“Finally today was better that yesterday, we have worked hard to find some solutions to fix the problems I had yesterday with the grip, we are not yet performing at our 100% but we could improve and this is important. For some reason I could not get the direct access to Q2, but strangely this turned to my advantage because during Q1 we could try some improvements in the machine’s configuration and we found positive solutions. Maybe I’m not totally satisfied for the FP4 where we tried our race pace, but we already have some ideas about what to do and we still have the warm up to improve further. This will not be easy, the heat is killing all of us, therefore I will try to do my best for a good race. Probably the best strategy will be the same I had in Australia; try to take advantage of the position in grid and be as fastest as possible in the very early laps, in order to keep in touch with the leading group. We still need to work more, but I feel we have some directions and I’m confident we can improve.”

Aleix Espargaro:

Qualifying position: 11th

Best lap: 2’00.724s

“I am disappointed with qualifying. Unfortunately I made a mistake and hit a bump entering in a corner and this made me crash. It’s a pity because my feeling today has improved a lot, the Team did a good job and both in FP3 and FP4 I could improve my lap times. My pace is good and I think that if it wasn’t for this crash I could have fought for the second or third row on the grid. However let’s think about the race, today as well I‘m happy to see that we are not suffering as we expected, my race pace is faster and more consistent than what the grid position says, I’ll try to have a good start and to recover positions immediately.”



More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

 Rossi Secures Front Row Start in Sepang

Sepang (Malaysia), 24th October 2015

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi left it to the final session to secure a front row start for tomorrow‘s race at the Sepang International Circuit. Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo had a challenging outing and will start the race from second row.

Rossi was a man on a mission this afternoon at the Malaysian circuit and didn‘t waste a second of the tense 15-minute qualifying two session. His first flying lap of 2‘00.310 put him in fourth position before being pushed back to fifth. He quickly returned to the pits with nine minutes to go for a quick stop and came back to the track a minute later, fully focused on the task ahead.

The Doctor was putting in the maximum effort to secure a good place on the grid and he dropped a 1‘59.810 for fourth place, before coming in for another quick stop.

After his second visit to the box, Rossi was back on his way with more than two minutes remaining and timed his final stint to perfection. The Italian crossed the finish line in the final second before the flag came out to commence his final hot lap. Still holding fourth for a second row start, he put his head down once more to ride a superb third and fourth sector and clock a 1‘59.726s which earned him third place.

It was a day with highs and lows for team-mate Lorenzo. The championship title chaser started the day by dipping under the 2‘00 mark in the morning‘s free practice with a time of 1'59.544s, but he had a minor slide down the track in the afternoon practice session.

Thankfully unhurt Lorenzo arrived at the Sepang qualifying session, opting for his usual three-stint qualifying strategy. He made sure he was one of the first riders for the 15-minute qualifying heat to be ensured of some clear space. He posted a 1‘59.737s lap to take provisional second place and immediately returned to the pits with more than nine and a half minutes to go.

He returned to the track less than a minute later and, having been pushed back to third, felt fired up to set another hot lap. However, he was unable to improve on his time and came back into the box to switch bike.

With two minutes of the session remaining he put the hammer down for a final time, but again came just a bit short to further improve on his time and finished the day in fourth place.

VALENTINO ROSSI

It‘s just the practice, so nothing is done, but it‘s a very important first row. On the last lap I was able to improve my lap time a little bit and overtake Jorge. Starting from the first row will be very important, but winning the race is always difficult. Here with the heat and the tyres the race is even tougher. Anything can happen, but we are on the front row and this is important. Sepang is one of the toughest Grand Prix because it‘s very hot, but a lot of qualifying sessions have been more difficult than today‘s has been for me, because today I was competitive and I enjoyed it. I arrived at the qualifying ready with a good setting and pace, so I was able to push and already on the second tyre I was able to put in a 1‘59s. I knew that I was able to do this, it was the target, but I was hoping for something a little bit more and on the last lap I was able to deliver thanks to good concentration and good grip from the bike, so I‘m happy. Starting from the front row is always important, but here it‘s a bit more important because I beat Jorge, but the race happens tomorrow and it will be difficult for everybody. We will try to be ready.

JORGE LORENZO

In free practice four and qualifying we had big problems with the brakes, when I arrived at turn four I couldn‘t brake, the power of the brake arrived suddenly in the middle, but I wasn‘t able to brake on the first part and couldn‘t stop unless it was a very aggressive stop, that was the main problem this afternoon. In every braking section I‘m losing too much and I was unable to recover in acceleration what I lost on braking. It was a pity to lose the front row, but I think that if we solve this problem, we can be competitive for the race.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

It was an exciting qualifying session today. Valentino did a great job to secure a front row for tomorrow. He has been working hard today to find the right setting and he dug deep in the final stages of the session. We are satisfied with his third position, which is a good place to start the race from. Jorge showed a strong pace throughout all the sessions. It‘s a shame that he struggled with the braking and missed out on the front row, but we‘ll continue to work tonight to sort out the final issues for the warm up and then we will be ready for the race tomorrow morning.



More, from a press release issued by Avintia Racing:

Top Ten for Barbera and Avintia Racing at Sepang

24/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Malaysia - QP

Hector Barbera and Avintia Racing were once again fastest Open Class entry on Saturday, and after going straight to Q2 with a fantastic 2’00.332 lap in FP3, the Spaniard will start tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix from tenth position in the fourth row of the grid. But it wasn’t just one fast lap. Hector has been working hard during the FP4 to find the best set up for his Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1, and after doing a 15 laps race simulation, he is ready to race tomorrow. The target is the Top Ten, because even though he has a good pace for the first laps, the race will get more difficult for him later on when the rear tyre starts to drop, since the Open Class electronics are not as good as the factory ones. Nevertheless, this is an excellent result and it will be crucial tomorrow to win the Open Class and score some valuable Championship points.

For Mike Di Meglio, the day was more difficult, because all the changes he tested in the morning did not work out in the afternoon during qualifying. The Avintia Racing French rider will start from the eighth row on the grid, but his aim is to fight with the other Open Class riders.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 10th (P1 Open) 2'00.724 @HectorBarbera

Today was a great day and I’m really happy. This morning we did fifth and it was incredible. In the afternoon we have been working during the FP4 ahead the race and then in qualifying I was not able to give my best, but anyway we are tenth and we have to be happy. We are in good shape, the bike is ready and I’m confident for tomorrow’s race. I need to get a good start and try to go with the leading pack to get some advantage before tyre performance starts to drop. Our target remains to win in the Open Class, but it’s obvious that when you see yourself with more options, you always want more. The race will be long and physically hard, but my team did a great job and I’m ready to fight.

MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 23rd (P7 Open) 2'02.964 @Mikejpp63

Everything went bad for us today. We have been testing many things in the morning and it seemed to work better, but then in the afternoon, with higher temperatures, I was not able to improve. I can’t push because I have no feedback from the front tyre and it’s impossible for me to ride more aggressively. We need to change many things and then we’ll see how the race goes. Except from Hector, who was really fast today, the rest of the Open Class riders have a similar pace. If we can improve during the warm up, I think it will be possible to have a good battle in the race.



More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Perfect lap puts Pedrosa on pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix

Round 17: Malaysian MotoGP™ - Qualifying

Sepang, Saturday 24 October 2015

Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)

Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 29-30°C; Track 35-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 32-33°C; Track 43-46°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa produced one of his best ever qualifying performances to smash the Sepang Circuit Best Lap record and claim pole position for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit.

On just his second lap in Qualifying Practice 2, Pedrosa set a scorching time 1'59.053 to lop over half a second off the previous Sepang Circuit Best Lap record and ultimately end the session 0.409 seconds ahead of his teammate Marc Marquez who claimed second place on the grid. The final front row slot went to Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who clocked a 1'59.726 on his final lap of the session to out-qualify his teammate Jorge Lorenzo by mere 0.011 seconds. All of the riders that qualified on the front row used the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear for their time attack in qualifying.

It was another typically hot and humid day at Sepang, although the smoke haze lingering over the circuit was thicker than yesterday which resulted in slightly lower track temperatures. Today’s maximum track temperature of 46°C was recorded at the end of Free Practice 4 and was 4°C below yesterday’s high. The combination of poor grip from the tarmac and heavy undulations in the braking zone at the Sepang circuit has steered tyre choice towards options that provide good bump absorption and cornering performance. Therefore, in race simulations during FP4 the medium compound front and rear slicks emerged as the favourite options amongst the riders today and are likely to be used by the majority of riders for the race. The soft compound rear slick is also likely be used by some open class riders for the race as it provides extra performance without a big penalty to durability, but the hard compound rear slick is unlikely to be used by the factory Honda and Yamaha riders unless track temperatures tomorrow are considerably higher.

Tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix will start at 1500 local time (GMT +8) with local weather forecasts predicting a moderate possibility of rain at this time. Before then, the MotoGP™ riders will next be on track for the twenty-minute Warm Up session at 1040 local time.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

“Thankfully both sessions were dry today which allowed the teams and riders to work on getting maximum potential out of our tyre allocation at Sepang. The condition of this circuit has degraded year-on-year and so it is important to find a setup which can deal with the bumps in the braking zones, while also limiting spinning of the rear tyre on corner exit. Today’s dry sessions provided the opportunity for the teams to find optimal bike settings for our slick tyres and the result was some very quick lap times during both the time attacks in qualifying as well as during race simulations in FP4. The vast reduction in lap times we have seen this weekend is a good indication that our 2015 specification slick tyres are working well here at Sepang and I am confident our tyres can help produce another thrilling race tomorrow.”



More, from a press release issued by Aspar Team:

POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair rely on race pace at Sepang

Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty have ground to make up from 19th and 22nd on the grid but both are confident in their race day package

The start of this afternoon's MotoGP qualifying practice looked more like Moto3, with a whole bunch of riders heading out onto the track together looking to benefit from a tow. A weekend that started with a controversial press conference and some strong words between Rossi, Márquez and Lorenzo has seen the battle continue on track although none of the trio were able to take pole position today. That honour went to the quiet man Dani Pedrosa, who edged closer to the 1'58s here with an incredible lap of 1'59.053 - the fastest ever by a motorcycle at Sepang. Márquez was closest to him, six tenths adrift in second place, with Rossi completing the front row.

Once again it wasn't the qualifying session that the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar team had hoped for. After a positive weekend so far neither Nicky Hayden or Eugene Laverty were able to produce a perfect lap to move them higher up the grid than 19th and 22nd. However, both the American and the Irishman are confident with the pace they have shown throughout practice here at the Malaysian GP and are hoping that it can serve them well in tomorrow's penultimate race of the season.

19º Nicky Hayden 2.01.829: “The qualifying position looks really bad but honestly we have got the bike working pretty good here. In qualifying I went with the first tyre, rode alone and did a decent lap time but not really great. On the second run I tried to get a tow off somebody but it didn't really help and I didn't have the same grip, so I wasn't able to improve the lap time there. Anyway, the race pace is not so bad so I am looking forward to tomorrow. We know it will be a tough race, it's not really that hot but the humidity is very high so that makes it hard. The slow corners are where we still need to work, the bike is fast through T2, but overall it is not too bad so hopefully tomorrow I can do a good job for the team and get a good result.”

22º Eugene Laverty 2.02.460: “I didn't seem to have the grip in qualifying that the other guys had over one lap but in terms of our pace in race set-up we seem to be quite strong. So I am positive for the race but I don't want to be starting from 22nd on the grid. When it is hot and the other riders have less grip, my grip stays the same. In the cooler conditions we have a disadvantage but when it is hot my pace is strong so that's also good for the race. At Phillip Island we started the race with too much tyre pressure and after three laps my race was over, so tomorrow it is critical to make sure everything is right so that I can maintain my rhythm to the end. We've also learned something here about the balance of the bike with a full tank and an empty tank so we have some small changes planned in that respect too.”



More, from a press release issued by Forward Racing:

Seventh row for Baz and Elias at Sepang

The qualifying session ended with both riders in the seventh row for the Forward Racing team at Sepang circuit that tomorrow will host the Grand Prix of Malaysia. Loris Baz and Toni Elias, in fact, will start respectively from the 20th and 21st place on the grid.

After having struggled to find the right feeling with his Yamaha Forward in the first day of free practice, Baz significantly improved today his lap time in the first session closing the gap with the other Open guys. In qualifying, he did not find the right grip on the rear and with a best of 2.01.862, he will start from the 20th place.

Positive step forward also for Toni Elias who improved by more than a second his best in the morning session. The Spaniard, who will start alongside his team-mate in 7th row, with a time of 2.02.415, is the fifth Open on the grid.

Loris Baz:

"In qualifying I struggled a lot to find the right grip with the new tyres and I could not push as I wanted. Compared to yesterday I tried some new positive solutions and I’m positive for the race. I will start far from my direct opponent, but I can do a great recovery".

Toni Elias:

"I expected more from this qualifying, but I suffered to find the right feeling with the tyres. I had no grip, especially in the first laps when the tyre was new. The pace is good for the race and my goal is to do a good start and then fight with the other Open bikes. We made a good step forward and I’m confident for the race”.



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow produced another impressive display as he qualified in fifth position for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The Briton maintained his excellent recent form and will now start from the second row at the penultimate round of the MotoGP world championship on Sunday.

Crutchlow held off the challenge of Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone to finish just behind Jorge Lorenzo on the timesheets. He still believes there is room for improvement ahead of Sunday’s race, but is understandably pleased with the team’s efforts so far this weekend.

Cal Crutchlow #35 (5th - 2’00.199)

"We are happy with our position for tomorrow’s race. I still believe I could have done a better lap-time as I went quicker here during the tests at the start of the year, but we know the conditions are very different now so overall, to be on the second row, we are pleased.

“We now have to work hard ahead of tomorrow’s race and look at the areas we can improve. We need to work on rear grip during corner entry and corner exit, but I feel positive ahead of the race.”



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Untouchable Pedrosa puts it on pole in Sepang as title fight hangs in the balance

A simply sensational lap from Dani Pedrosa sees him claim his first pole of 2015 ahead of Marquez and Rossi, with Lorenzo in fourth.

Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa produced an incredible lap in Q2 to secure his first pole position since the Catalan GP in 2014 and 28th in MotoGP™. The Spaniard has almost been the forgotten man at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix after all of the attention that has been placed on the comments between Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo. He responded by blowing all of his rivals away by over four-tenths of a second to set a 1'59.053 in the hot and humid conditions (Track temp. 44°C), the fastest ever lap by a MotoGP™ bike at the Sepang International Circuit.

Pedrosa had earlier topped FP4 and carried that form into Q2, setting the time on his very first run. Despite most riders trying a two-stop strategy to try and beat him, it was good enough for pole and was incredibly over seven-tenths under Marquez’s 2014 Pole Record (1’59.791).

His teammate Marquez made it a Repsol Honda 1-2 in the grid for tomorrow’s race but found himself 0.409s off the pace of Pedrosa. It is Marquez’s 15th front row start of the season, although he was left frustrated after a huge moment during his second stint prevented him from making the most of his two-stop strategy.

The man who leads the championship by a slender 11-point margin, Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (+0.673s), left it late to secure the final front row spot at the expense of his teammate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi had been in fourth as the checkered flag was waved, but managed to put in his best time on his last lap to leapfrog Lorenzo on the timing screens and relegate him to fourth. There had been some fun and games between Rossi and Marquez in FP3 & FP4 as Marquez appeared to be following the Italian, much to Rossi’s chagrin, but it didn’t stop the ‘Doctor’ from going on to secure only his fifth front row start of the season by just 0.011s from his teammate.

Lorenzo (+0.684s) therefore will have to start from the front of the second row in what is his worst qualifying performance since Assen. The two-time MotoGP™ World Champion trails Rossi by 11 points in the standings and knows he ideally needs to win in Sepang and put as many riders in between he and his teammate as possible if he hopes to lift the title. Lorenzo had earlier crashed for only the third time in 2015 at turn 15 during FP4, but luckily for his title hopes he was unhurt. He did though end up having to use his second bike for his first two runs in Q2, before his first bike was repaired in time for his third stint.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+1.146s) qualified as the leading Satellite rider in fifth. The Brit set his best time on his final flying lap to claim his seventh second row start of the year. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+1.171s) completes the second row for Sunday’s race as he once again showed good pace on the Ducati GP15. The Italian had been down in eighth on the combined times after FP3, but improved to finish just 0.025s behind Crutchlow.

His teammate Andrea Dovizioso will start from the head of the third row, ahead of the two men who made it through from Q1, Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in eighth and ninth respectively.

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera completes the top ten after the Spaniard made it through to Q2 automatically for just the second time this season after Brno. He will start from the head of the fourth row as the leading Open class rider after his best qualifying performance of the year, ahead of the Espargaro brothers, with Aleix (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in eleventh after crashing late on and Pol (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in twelfth.

EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Brit rider Scott Redding will start from 15th, while Australian Jack Miller is the leading Open class Honda in 16th. American Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) will start from 19th as he out-qualified his Irish teammate Eugene Laverty in 22nd.

Luthi takes first Moto2™ pole of 2015

Thomas Luthi secures his first pole position since Qatar in 2012 in a rain affected Qualifying ahead of Johann Zarco and Alex Rins.

Derendinger Racing Interwetten’s Luthi set a 2’06.383 on just his third lap of the session to record his eighth career GP pole position, smashing Pol Espargaro’s 2012 Pole Record (2’06.962) by over half a second in the process. The thunder and rain came with 15 minutes left in the session, effectively ending anyone’s chances of beating this time and bringing Qualifying to a rather subdued end. It is only the third time that Luthi will start from the front row in 2015 as the Swiss rider topped a session that saw over a second separate the top 7 riders.

Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco will start from the front row for the 13th time this season as he set a time good enough for second, just 0.127s off the pace of Luthi. The French rider is aiming for the eighth win of his championship-winning season come Sunday.

Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Moto2™ rookie of the year, Alex Rins (+0.454s), will start from third with the Spaniard claiming his ninth front row start of the season. AGR Team’s Jonas Folger (+0.687s) finds himself on the second row for the fifth time this season as he starts from 4th.

Forward Racing’s Lorenzo Baldassari (+0.816s) improved dramatically from 11th on the combined timesheets after FP3 to qualify in fifth. It was the 18-year-olds best ever Moto2™ qualifying result and follows on from his career-first Moto2™ podium at Phillip Island.

Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese (+0.841s) will start the race from sixth in his best qualifying result since he started from fourth at Brno. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing), Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completed the top ten.

EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Tito Rabat is missing the Malaysian GP to allow him to focus on recovering from the broken radius in his left arm.

Antonelli takes second pole of the season in Moto3™

Niccolo Antonelli his third career pole position ahead of Jorge Navarro and Miguel Oliveira, with Danny Kent in ninth.

Ongetta-Rivacold’s Antonelli left it late to set a 2’12.653 to claim pole at the Sepang International Circuit in an incredibly tight session that saw less than a second separate the top 14 riders. The 19-year-old Italian kept a cool head in a session that once again saw a number of riders riding slowly on the racing line, with a number of penalties given out once more. It is Antonelli’s first pole since Brno and he finished 0.047s ahead of Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Jorge Navarro in second.

Navarro had been down in eighth after FP3 on combined times, but improved by over seven-tenths in the hotter conditions (Track temp. 43°C) during Qualifying to claim his fifth front row start of 2015. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira (0.240s) completed the front row, as the Portuguese rider aims to prevent Kent winning the title at Sepang. It was Oliveira’s 7th front row start of the year.

Drive M7 SIC’s Jakub Kornfeil (+0.334s) will start from fourth at his team’s home grand prix in his best qualifying performance since eh qualified in the same position at Le Mans. The Czech rider clearly making use of the fact his team gets to test a lot at the circuit in the offseason.

Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati (+0.616s) will start from the middle of the second row for the second race in a row, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (+0.888s) on the Mapfre Team Mahindra in sixth. It was Bagnaia’s best qualifying performance since he qualified in third at Le Mans. Leopard Racing’s Efren Vazquez (+0.303s) will start from the head of the third row after originally qualifying in fourth. The Spaniard being one of the riders to receive a three-place gird penalty for riding slowly on the racing line.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3) is eighth, ahead of Championship leader Kent (+0.341s) who will start from the back of the third row. Kent was another of the riders to receive a penalty after originally qualifying in sixth. The Brit being penalized three places for riding slowly on the racing line after getting frustrated at riders trying to get a tow from him during the session. Kent even went through pit-lane at one point to try to lose the line of riders behind him in the last few minutes. Eventually he shook most of them off and managed to set a flying lap that was good enough for sixth, before he was relegated to ninth.

Local hero Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Drive M7 SIC) completed the top ten in what is his best qualifying performance since he started from the front row at Indianapolis. Scotsman John McPhee recovered from a huge crash in FP3 to qualify in 12th. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (23rd) and Gabriel Rodrigo (20th) were caught up in an incident at turn 15 that saw both men crash out, while Ana Carrasco will be forced to start from 29th on the grid after a big crash at turn 5 halfway through the session.

Andrea Migno (27th), Isaac Viñales (18th), Manuel Pagliani (30th) and Remy Gardner (31st) were the other riders to be hit with a three-place grid penalty by Race Direction.

Alessandro Tonucci was declared unfit after a crash in FP2, while Andrea Locatelli withdrew from the weekend after FP1 due to pain from his injured coccyx.



More, from another press release issued by LCR Honda:

MILLER ON THE SIXTH ROW AT SEPANG

LCR Honda rider Jack Miller will start from the sixth row of the grid at tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix after an encouraging performance on Saturday. The Australian eventually finished in 16th position on the MotoGP timesheets despite a setback at the end of qualifying.

Having been 20th quickest after the morning session, Miller found additional pace during qualifying and managed to gain some extra places ahead of Sunday’s race. He did suffer a minor fall towards the end of Q1, but remains positive that he can build on last week’s excellent result at Phillip Island.

Jack Miller #43 (16th – 2’01.725)

"I’m reasonably happy with today. Obviously I’m not happy with the crash, but after that I’m pretty happy with how everything else went. We found a little bit more speed today and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow and then improve for the race.”