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October 25, 2009

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Rossi breaks pole record at Sepang

Valentino Rossi edged closer to winning his seventh premier class championship yesterday by breaking his own pole record in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Italian, who leads the MotoGP standings by 38 points from Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, needs only to finish in the top four in today's race to defend his championship.

Yamaha rider Rossi's lap of 2:00.518 seconds beat his previous mark set in 2006 at the Sepang circuit by 0.087 seconds and was more than half a second faster than teammate Lorenzo, who clocked 2:01.087.

"My target was go under 01.0 (2.01.00) but on the last lap I was able to go faster," a beaming Rossi told reporters.

"I see on the board 00.5 and I say 'agh!' -- somebody beat me. But it was mine. So it's great to start from pole position tomorrow."

Honda rider Dani Pedrosa of Spain secured a front-row spot with the third fastest time, relegating Australian Casey Stoner of Ducati, who won in Australia, to the second row in fourth position.

Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi of Italy qualified fifth and Spaniard Toni Elias sixth on a Honda.

Lorenzo, whose championship hopes were all but dashed after he crashed out at the Australian Grand Prix last week, was disappointed with second place on the grid after setting the pace during free practice on Friday.

"For sure this day is not the happiest day of my life, but tomorrow is the race and we try to do the best we can," he said.


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