MotoGP » 12 October 2003
Dani dominates for first world crown.
18-year-old Dani Pedrosa rode a faultless 125cc Malaysian Grand Prix, leading from start to finish and allowing the Spanish superstar to finally take his first ever world championship in style.
Qualifying saw Derbi rider Jorge Lorenzo took his first ever pole, three weeks after his first ever victory in Rio De Janeiro. The 16-year-old snatched top spot at the end of the session from countryman Pedrosa, who would take his Honda in search of the title from second place on the grid.
Mika Kallio turned out his best ever performance in third place to give KTM their first ever from row start, whilst Casey Stoner made it four factories on the front row as he sealed fourth on the Aprilia.
Steve Jenkner dropped to fifth in the late push for times, whilst Swiss youngster Thomas Luthi returned to the second row in sixth. Pablo Nieto made the most of a tag on the final lap from Andrea Dovizioso, snatching seventh place and relegating the Italian to eighth.
Stefano Perugini, who needed to finish within ten points of Pedrosa to keep his slim title chances alive, would start from the third row in ninth.
When the red lights went out it was Kallio who got the best initial jump, but it was Pedrosa who emerged on top out of the tight right/left turn one, the Spaniard leading Kallio, Lorenzo, Jenkner, Perugini, Dovizioso, Stoner, Azuma and Luthi.
By the end of the first lap, Pedrosa had already built a 1.1secs lead over the KTM and would continue to pull almost a second a lap on the chasing field – and as if that wasn't enough to please Dani's Telefonica team, Perugini cruised powerless past the pits on lap 3 with obvious mechanical problems. All Pedrosa had to do was score 11 points and he'd be world champion.
Meanwhile, Stoner was continuing to carve his way up through the pack, and dived inside Lorenzo for second into turn one, on lap 5 of 19, before setting his sights on Pedrosa's three second lead – with Lorenzo, Kallio, Azuma, Luthi, de Angelis and Dovizioso all following.
However, Stoner's charge would last just two laps before he out-braked himself into turn one, forcing him to tip-toe around the outside of the turn before rejoining in sixth. The LCR rider's error returned the second placed battle to youngsters Kallio and Lorenzo, the pair soon swapping places furiously.
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