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Valentino Rossi secures a critical front row start for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, pushing his rival to the second row.
After a drama filled opening day at the Malaysian GP, Valentino Rossi had a point to prove on Saturday and didn’t waste a second in any session. Q2 was an especially hectic session for the Movistar Yamaha rider, immediately heading onto track and setting a 2’00.310 to end his first run in fourth. A second run on a new tyre produced fourth yet again, only one tyre left to get onto the critical front row. In the dying minutes Rossi produced a 1’59.726 to steal third from teammate Jorge Lorenzo as they prepare to battle once more for the MotoGP™ World Championship.
A front row start should also allow Rossi to avoid any first turn incidents, riders often overly ambitious into the tight right-hander. No matter where a rider starts on the grid, the Malaysian GP is always an incredibly difficult race with the extreme heat and humidity. If Rossi takes to the podium and Lorenzo fails to secure a solid result, the Italian could lift his tenth world title on Sunday.
Valentino Rossi: “It‘s just the practice, so nothing is done, but it‘s a very important first row. On the last lap I was able to improve my lap time a little bit and overtake Jorge. Starting from the first row will be very important, but winning the race is always difficult. Here with the heat and the tyres the race is even tougher. Anything can happen, but we are on the front row and this is important. Sepang is one of the toughest Grand Prix because it‘s very hot, but a lot of qualifying sessions have been more difficult than today‘s has been for me, because today I was competitive and I enjoyed it.”
“I arrived at the qualifying ready with a good setting and pace, so I was able to push and already on the second tyre I was able to put in a 1‘59s. I knew that I was able to do this, it was the target, but I was hoping for something a little bit more and on the last lap I was able to deliver thanks to good concentration and good grip from the bike, so I‘m happy. Starting from the front row is always important, but here it‘s a bit more important because I beat Jorge, but the race happens tomorrow and it will be difficult for everybody. We will try to be ready.”
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