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Pedrosa takes pole at Malaysian Grand Prix

Latest update : 2008-10-18

Dani Pedrosa will lead the Malaysian MotoGP, forcing 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi into second position. The Spaniard beat Rossi on a wet track Saturday to earn pole position.

Dani Pedrosa seized pole position ahead of Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP after a fierce duel with newly crowned world champion Valentino Rossi in wet track conditions.

The Spaniard rocketed his Honda around the 5.5 kilometre (3.4 mile) Sepang track in two minutes 1.548 seconds Saturday to finish 0.409 seconds ahead of his Italian rival Rossi on a Yamaha.

Spain's Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha finished third in 2:02.171 while Australian Ducati rider Casey Stoner could only manage seventh in 2:02.953.

Pedrosa, who will take the pole inside the front row of the grid, snatched pole in Sepang last year and went on to secure third place.

Rossi tops the standings after 16 races with 332 points while Stoner stands at 245.

"We were lucky ... to go out (in wet track conditions) with the right tyre. It is great to start in the first row tomorrow," Rossi said after the qualifying practice.

Rossi is the most successful rider at Sepang with four victories and is favourite to win again in Sunday's penultimate race of the season.

The Italian has been in top form since his victory at the US Grand Prix in Laguna Seca in July.

With 50 points still up for grabs, Rossi is 35 points short of his record 2005 MotoGP season tally of 367 from 17 races, matched by Stoner last year from 16 races.

Stoner, who will undergo an operation on an old wrist injury when the season finishes, has won in Sepang in all three world championship classes and is confident of another podium place.

Date created : 2008-10-18

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