Sepang, 24 October 2015: 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, according to a Bridgestone release.
Mapfre Mahindra Moto3 team adds:
Moto3 lap times edged towards record pace at Sepang this morning and the only question mark was whether or not the pace would be maintained as the temperatures rose for qualifying in the afternoon. Miguel Oliveira answered any doubts as he broke the 2’13 barrier on just the third lap and the Portuguese rider looked likely to stay there as qualifying ticked by with a whole host of riders tripping each other up as they looked for a tow, with slipstreams so crucial at Sepang. The traffic was so bad that it is hard to imagine Race Direction will not be handing out more penalties this evening, which could see changes to the grid before tomorrow’s race. On the final lap, Oliveira was edged out to third position by Niccolo Antonelli and Jorge Navarro.
MAPFRE Team Mahindra riders Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martín are hopeful of joining the battle at the front in tomorrow’s race after making constant progress throughout the weekend. After lapping ninth and eleventh fastest in final free practice this morning the pair went in search of strong grid positions from the start this afternoon, with Bagnaia moving up to third position on his third lap. It was only during the final few minutes, when he was held up by traffic, that he dropped a few spots to eighth, half a second off pole, but with the likelihood of moving up a position or two once Race Direction have intervened. Martín may also move forward from thirteenth place, the Spaniard feeling confident that he can meet his objective of a top ten finish tomorrow. The team’s third member Juanfran Guevara is hoping to find some set-up solutions tonight after struggling this weekend and qualifying back in 22nd.
8th Pecco Bagnaia 2.13.167 (13 laps): “I was able to set fast laps on my own in free practice this morning and in qualifying this afternoon. My race pace is strong and I was able to set a quick lap in qualifying, it was just a shame that when I was on course to go even faster I ran into a bunch of riders in the middle of the track. It has been happening a lot this season and Race Direction have had to get serious about it already. Anyway, I think when the lights go out tomorrow we will be able to make up a couple of positions. I am satisfied with the job we have done, the bike is working perfectly. The forecast is looking like it might rain but I would prefer a dry race. It will be difficult and I don’t think the pace will be so high because the tyres drop off dramatically here. The objective is to get into the lead group at the start and then be fighting at the end for the best possible result.”
13th Jorge Martín 2.13.573 (12 laps): “In general it has been a very positive day. I felt comfortable in final free practice and I was able to set a really fast lap. My pace is strong on used tyres and that is very positive for the race tomorrow. Qualifying didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I had a problem with my drinks pack at the start and then when we put the softest tyre in I ran wide in one corner but still set my fastest lap. Overall, even though I was hoping for more I am happy with our performance and the result today. I think we have good pace and I am hopeful of running in the front group tomorrow, fighting until the end. I think it will be a big group at the start and then not so big at the end. Our goal is to be there and at least finish in the top ten.”
eom/Bridgestone and Aspar team releases