Valentino Rossi was on top form today as he surged to the pole spot at Sepang on his Fiat Yamaha.

Smashing the lap record on the way, Rossi put in the perfect lap in the closing stages of the session to set an unbeatable time of 2:00.518.

“I am so happy about that final lap!” said the excitable Italian, “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it on my dashboard, I thought it was possible to go faster but not by that much!”

Having set the pace early on Rossi worked with his engineers throughout the session to find the perfect setup as Casey Stoner briefly took the lead.

“My team and I have worked very well here and we’ve had a good strategy with Bridgestone, which left us with plenty of time at the end to try for the pole.” With 25 minutes to go Rossi resumed his dominance taking the top spot and never looking back, breaking the lap record that has stood since 2006.

“It’s very important to be on the front row here so we have done our job well, plus I am confident about our setting and our race pace. We’re in good shape. It’s incredibly hot and tomorrow will be hard for everyone, as it always is here, but we have a good advantage and I am really looking forward to the battle. Let’s see where we are at this time tomorrow!”

Team manager Davide Brivio was understandably delighted with Rossi, “What a lap!” he enthused, “We broke the best lap record with an incredible time from Valentino, who really wanted that pole position today.”

Rossi heads in to the race tomorrow 38 points ahead of team-mate Lorenzo, needing only to secure fourth place he looks set to take the title for a seventh time.