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Sunday, October 30, 2016
Dovizioso claims pole for Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix
Dovizioso claims his second MotoGP pole for the season at the Sepang International Circuit. - GLENN GUAN / The Star
SEPANG: Italian Andrea Dovizioso revelled in the wet to claim pole position in the MotoGP qualifying for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The Ducati rider hit the top early in the session before switching to wet tyres to confirm pole by improving on his last lap at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday.
Dovizioso posted 2:11.485 to grab his second pole position of the season. He did the same at Assen Circuit in Holland in June.
Fellow Italian Valentino Rossi of Yamaha had to dig deep to be second fastest – and a place on the front row – with a final lap of 2:11.731.
Rossi edged out his Spaniard team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (2:11.787).
Reigning world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda heads the second row despite struggling with a stomach ailment.
The Spaniard, who is still not 100% fit and fastest in Friday’s free practice, clocked 2:11.874.
Briton Cal Crutchlow, who won the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Phillip Island last Sunday, recovered from a crash to complete the top five by posting 2:12.558 on his Honda.
Dovizoso, who has three runner-up finishes this season – in Qatar, Austria and Japan – was happy to beat the Yamaha duo.
“The grip is pretty good, but it’s not dry like normally it would,” he said.
“It wasn’t so easy riding here today ... and when it rains, it is really heavy.
“But we did a great job and I’m happy with our strategy in qualifying.
“I was able to use soft and hard tyres for qualifying.
“As for tomorrow, nobody wants to race in the wet ... but if it happens, we are competitive.”
Rossi, who finished second in Phillip Island despite starting from 15th, was delighted to be in the front row.
“It’s a great position to be in on a demanding track like this,” said Rossi.
“Today was a difficult session and completely different from normal, so second place is very good.
“In qualifying, you usually have two laps and after that another new tyre and another two laps.
“Today we had to start, try to not make any mistakes, put temperature into the tyres, but at the same time you have to push.
“I feel comfortable, especially because we improved both the setting and the braking compared to yesterday. We are ready for any possibility tomorrow.”