Kawasaki claims second row
20 October 2007 – Today's qualifying practice at Sepang ended with Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet heading up the second row with his team mate, Anthony West right behind him on the grid for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.
In the afternoon's nail-biting session, the Frenchman crashed out, rode his spare bike for much of the allocated hour, then rode home his hastily-repaired, primary Ninja ZX-RR to fourth place on the leader board in the very final moments. He clocked his best qualifying time of 2'02.107 with a top speed of 296.5kmh, just behind Marco Melandri who snatched the last place on the front row in the closing seconds by the tiniest margin of 0.163 seconds.
De Puniet began the day with another scorching free practice, which saw him coming second on the results sheets with a time of 2'02.534, just 0.243 behind Casey Stoner. Having notched up such consistently good lap times on race tyres throughout all sessions, de Puniet feels confident for tomorrow's 21-lap race.
Speaking about his qualifying result Randy de Puniet said: "As in the past couple of races, I'd hoped for a better position but I had a small crash early in the session and had to use my second bike for quite a while after that. I had a good feeling from it, although I prefer my other bike. I used two different types of qualifying tyre and one of them didn't work for me at all: it was impossible to finish a lap. The other one was better and I used that on my normal bike at the end, which got me this good lap time. It was so close and I'm just two tenths of a second off pole. We have a good base for tomorrow with the bike, and we've gone very fast on race tyres all weekend, so we should be able to do well."
Anthony West wasn't too pleased with his result. He said: "It was good to be up the front for most of the qualifying session and I was feeling really comfortable. We used two different types of qualifiers and the two I didn't do so well on are the ones which are usually the best at other circuits. Here, it was the opposite way around. The first one I used was really good but the others barely lasted a lap. I'm actually quite disappointed I didn't stay on the front row but the main thing is I know that with this set up, our race Bridgestones and the good feeling I've got, it's not as if I've only been on the pace for the one lap. So I'm pretty confident and we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Everything's working really well this weekend; it's nice."