News 7 Nov 2010

MotoGP: Stoner storms to final pole with Ducati at Valencia

Casey Stoner put on a stunning display in his final qualifying session with Ducati to take pole position for the last race of the 2010 season at Valencia.

Aussie Casey Stoner scored pole at Valencia in Spain overnight.

Aussie Casey Stoner scored pole at Valencia in Spain overnight.

Casey Stoner put on a stunning display in his final qualifying session with Ducati to take pole position for the last race of the 2010 season at Valencia, posting the only sub-1:32 lap of the weekend so far in a strong 45-minute run.

The Australian’s hot lap of 1:31.799 left him 0.331s clear at the top of the timesheet, and came after he had dealt with an early run-off as he pushed hard for his fourth pole of the campaign at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.

As impressive on the bike as he had been at this race when he took pole last year before a warm-up lap crash, Stoner was clearly happy with his performance.

“When I went out on a soft tyre I didn’t think I’d be able to beat Jorge or Marco, but it gave me the confidence I needed to go much faster and I set a lap time I was very happy with,” he said.

“I actually made a couple of mistakes on my last two laps otherwise I think I could have improved it but the important thing is that I was able to give Ducati another pole position before I sign off. It will be an emotional day I’m sure tomorrow, but for now my job is to focus on the race and achieve the best result possible.”

World champion Jorge Lorenzo, sporting a special-edition golden helmet for the homecoming final-round, followed Stoner onto the front row with a best effort of 1:32.130 on his Fiat Yamaha M1 having led for a large portion of the session.

Carrying his form from the practice sessions into qualifying was Marco Simoncelli and the Italian rookie’s display was rewarded with his first front-row start in the premier class. The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider was just over a tenth of a second behind Lorenzo.

A late surge from Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) placed the Italian fourth as he battled to find enough pace to challenge near the top end, with American duo Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) also taking places on the second row of the grid.

Completing the top ten in the session were Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini).

2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elías will start the final intermediate category race of the season from pole position – his third of the year – courtesy of a best lap of 1:36.141.

The Gresini Racing rider finished the session fractionally over a tenth of a second ahead of German rider Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing), who had been strong in the practice runs and won last time out in Portugal.

Joining the duo on the front row will be Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) as they both got within 0.202s of pole.

Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2), Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP), Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and Carmelo Morales (Racing Team Germany) will all start from the second row, meaning Iannone and Simón will play out their battle for the runner-up spot in the championship with the Spaniard lining up directly behind his Italian rival on the grid.

Row three will comprise Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing), Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing), Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) and Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up).

Marc Márquez will aim to secure his first World Championship title from pole position in the 125cc class.

The Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider, who leads Nico Terol by 17 points going into the last race, finished the session 0.108s ahead of his rival and the only other rider who can still claim the 125cc title.

Márquez secured his 12th pole of the season with a lap of 1:39.564, closely followed by Bancaja Aspar pair Terol (+0.108s) and Bradley Smith (+0.148s) and with Marquez’s teammate Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) completing the front row of the starting grid for the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.

Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) took top spot on the second row as the final rider under 1:40 in the session, with Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Luis Salom (Stipa-Molenaar Racing) inside the top eight.

Adrián Martín (Team Aeroport de Castelló), Randy Krummenacher (Stipa-Molenaar Racing), Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany) and Jonas Folger (Team Ongetta) will comprise row three.

Brits Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol) and Danny Kent (Lambretta Reparto Corse) will start from 14th and 22nd respectively, with wild card entrants Taylor Mackenzie (KRP MMCG) and John McPhee (KRP Bradley Smith Racing) – who had the only fall of the session – qualifying in 29th and 31st positions respectively.

The 125cc class gets the Sunday schedule underway with warm up commencing at 8.40am local time. The 125cc race starts at 11am, with Moto2 at 12:15pm and MotoGP at 2pm.