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Dani Pedrosa qualified in an amazing style yesterday to go ahead of Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso during the qualifying session for the 2017 Malaysian MotoGP race at Sepang. It was an impressive display of speed and tyre wear by the Spanish rider who loves to ride at the hot and steamy circuit. Friday was mixed conditions, Saturday was extremely hot and Sunday is already shaping up to feature many weather patterns from cloud to sun to what is more than likely…. rain! 

The race is bound to feature action packed decisions and manoeuvres as Marquez starts from seventh position on the grid. Jorge Lorenzo is directly in front of him and we know how hard these two have raced in the past, so no doubt the run down to turn one is going to be exhilarating. 

Jorge Lorenzo: “I think Dovizioso is very strong here and has good pace. Pedrosa’s lightweight can be an advantage. Rossi, Zarco, Vinales, Dovi and myself have a similar pace. There are four to six riders who have this. It is better to be in front of Marquez but not because it is Marquez but because it is another rider and we need to start very well. Lets see how much he can improve positions and how is his pace. Dovi and I want to finish in front of him. Still we have some minor improving on braking though I think we find a good balance on the bike in the sectors. I am quite satisfied. We will try to make improvement tomorrow. It is much better to understand new things. Balance. The grip of the rear, the front stability and the bike is improved a little bit. More confidence for myself. The straight is clearly faster. There is a lot of humidity and heat, it is very hot inside your leathers and helmet. In terms of this it is the hardest.”

Marc Marquez: “On Saturday, everything was wrong. We go right, it was not the correct direction and then we go left but it was too late. Everything was difficult going the opposite way but ok then in FP4 I got the feeling with the bike but when I go out in QP, I go out with that bike, crash, take the other bike and the feeling was not the same. I did a not so good lap. Honestly speaking, we do not have the rhythm to win the race at the moment but we have the rhythm to fight for the podium. What makes it so difficult is maybe the hot conditions, to ride very smooth and I am an aggressive rider, I try to concentrate to be a smooth rider but it is difficult. The speed of our bike in the straight is not the best one and you want to be smooth but you loose too much on the straights. Dani has the same bike. Dani has some issues at circuits. At some circuits he struggle much more than me but for example at this circuit his riding style, weight on the straights, he is able to be very fast every year. I try to learn from him because he is riding very well. The race strategy depends on the weather, the feeling, we need to choose well the rear tyre as Ducati going to soft and others hard. The medium feeling was not so bad. We need to evaluate the drop. Looks like Dani and Dovi have the best rhythm.”

In terms of getting in to that rhythm, Marquez is aware of what is required to compete at the top for the Sepang Grand Prix. This race is very important. “Honestly don’t change anything, just concentrate on my riding style. I mean sometimes ok when you arrive you can change many things, of course the team is helping me to improve, you need to understand the situation and with the pace and I just want to concentrate on my way, do my 100% and of course every weekend is different. Some weekends you can attack like Australia and other weekends you feel like you need to defend and it looks like at this moment this is what is happening. As I say, Sunday we will see during the warm up where we are.”

Somehow, there could be mind games in play to throw Dovi off his track. Marc was smiling yesterday about qualifying seventh. “In qualifying it was a consequence of many things. We are there.” 

In comparing to Dovizioso, he is happy with the pace and feels as though the wet and dry set ups are competitive. DesmoDovi felt as though he could push and it was easier than Phillip Island where he struggled quite considerably and made a mistake that was very costly early in the race. He is smiling, calm and is ready to attack with full force. The feeling with the bike is that of positives. Andrea Dovizioso: “Pole position is always nice, I was so happy to see a 59’2. I did a perfect lap. We did it. So happy about that, we work very well and dry and wet we are competitive.”

Credit: Deborah Wedes, Myanna Wedes & Sienna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes, Myanna Wedes & Sienna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes, Myanna Wedes & Sienna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes, Myanna Wedes & Sienna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes, Myanna Wedes & Sienna Wedes

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.