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Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa took pole position for the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in one of the finest qualifying sessions of the season, snatching the top spot from 2008 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi with the clock already run down to zero.

The 2007 Sepang poleman had been racing against time to get out for a final attempt, pulling out of the Repsol Honda Garage and warming up for a fearsome 2´01.548 lap of the Asian circuit. Rossi looked to have secured what would have been his third pole of the season with two flying laps, with his reaction suggesting that enough had been done, but Pedrosa fired back to cut the Italian´s time by 0.409.

A frenetic final five minutes saw numerous changes in the leadership of the session, as the riders brought their qualifying tyres to the game in search of pole position. Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Rossi had all seen their names at the head of the timesheet, although only the latter could keep a spot on the front row for the Malaysian showdown. Nearly the gamut of weather conditions were experienced on track after some heavy rainfall and intense humidity, with the track still not completely dry by the time Pedrosa earned his first pole position with Bridgestone tyres.


Rossi will start from second on the grid, with Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo on the front row for the fifth consecutive race. The positions will be an important boost for all three, with the knowledge that every premier class winner in Malaysia since 1999 has come from the first line.

Second Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden will take off from the head of the second row, joined by Friday´s fastest man, Tech 3 Yamaha´s Colin Edwards. JiR Team Scot man Dovizioso completes the line, with 2007 victor Stoner relegated to row three alongside Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet.

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