Andrea Dovizioso mastered the wet conditions at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday to take pole position for the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix.
Dovizioso claimed the fourth pole position of his MotoGP career in style by seeing off the Yamaha pair of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who were forced to settle for P2 and P3 respectively.
Rain washed out both stages of qualifying, but Ducati rider Dovizioso looked unfazed through Q2 as he posted two lap times good enough for pole.
His effort of 2:11.485 was ultimately the benchmark for the rest of the field, with Rossi getting closest, albeit 0.246 seconds away.
Lorenzo qualified third ahead of champion Marc Marquez, who was satisfied with fourth given he is battling illness and not fully fit in Malaysia.
Another rider pushing past the pain barrier was Cal Crutchlow, who stormed to P5 despite breaking his hand in the final free practice session.
Andrea Iannone finished sixth, over one second off Ducati teammate Dovizioso on pole, while Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales were seventh and eighth respectively. Alvaro Bautista and Loris Baz rounded out the top 10 in qualifying at Sepang.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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