Pedrosa Leads Honda 1-2 in Sepang Qualifying

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Dani Pedrosa claimed his first pole position in sixteen months with a new circuit record in qualifying at Sepang. The Spaniard led a Repsol Honda 1-2 with Marc Marquez qualifying second while Valentino Rossi struck an important blow in the title battle by beating Jorge Lorenzo to third spot.

All eyes were focused on the Spaniards at the start of Q2 with Marquez leading the pack around with Lorenzo locked into his slipstream. The world champion clocked a 1:59.682 to get the ball rolling while his compatriot followed him over the finish line with a 1:59.737, slotting him into second. Further back, another Spanish rider was lighting up the timing screens, this time on his own, and with no traffic to worry about, Pedrosa put six tenths into his rivals with a 1:59.053.

Although the leading contenders opted for three runs, improvements were few and far between in the remaining minutes with Marquez lucky to avoid a high speed crash at turn twelve, saving the situation on his elbow in extraordinary fashion. The last change on the leaderboard was the biggest of all though with Rossi, lying fourth, producing a crucial personal-best in the final sector to snatch third from his teammate.

Lorenzo was relegated to fourth, much to his surprise and annoyance when he arrived at parc ferme at the end of the session, while Cal Crutchlow knocked Andrea Iannone down to sixth after the Ducatis failed to improve late on. Andrea Dovizioso will start seventh with Q1 qualifiers Maverick Vinales and Bradley Smith for company on row three while Hector Barbera qualified a superb tenth, comfortably the top open class rider.



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