The MotoGP qualifying session for the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya concluded with home rider Jorge Lorenzo securing his third pole position of 2009 in sweltering heat close to the Mediterranean coast.
The Fiat Yamaha star pleased the crowd in his special edition Barcelona FC livery securing the top slot on the grid with a 1’41.974 time on the 28th of 29 laps, putting him ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi by just 0.013s.
Having never been off the podium in the premier class at Montmeló, Rossi will be confident of maintaining that remarkable record on Sunday, though he knows that Lorenzo will pose a tough challenge in his first MotoGP raceday at the track.
Completing the front row is Casey Stoner, as MotoGP’s current trio of form riders showed their strengths once again, the Australian Ducati Marlboro representative lapped just under half a second down on Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso is the ‘nearly man’ in the premier class at present and he missed out on the front row by just 0.168s on his Repsol Honda factory RC212V. Nonetheless the Italian will try to fight for the podium having just fallen short at the last two rounds.
In fifth place on the grid at his home track, not traditionally his strongest circuit, Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will aim to improve his poor Barcelona record from the middle of the front row, whilst Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ended up sixth and might have done better had he not crashed towards the end of the session.
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) qualified seventh, just In front of home hero Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who also suffered a crash in the final moments – landing on his injured right hip, but not appearing to sustain any further damage as he walked away from the incident.
In the 250cc category Pepe World Team rider Héctor Barberá put in a 1’46.899 time on his Aprilia machinery to head the grid – for the first time this season – by 0.150s in front of his fellow countryman and Aprilia rider Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team).
Barberá will try for his second win of the year on Sunday, whilst Bautista will also be trying for win number two of 2009 as he tries to maintain his championship advantage over Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera). An early fall failed to put Simoncelli off, and he qualified third.. The front row is completed by Thomas Luthi (Emmi – Caffe Latte).
Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing Team) also crashed but qualified on the second row, behind Alex Debon (Aeropuerto-Castello-Blusens), and in front of Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia) and Héctor Faubel (Valencia CF – Honda SAG).
The sixth 125cc race of the year will start with Spanish rider Julián Simón in pole position, courtesy of his 1’51.448 best effort in qualifying.
Representing the Derbi factory which lies close to the Barcelona track, local youngster Pol Espargaró missed out on pole by just 0.02s at his home venue.
Causing a surprise in third place Jonas Folger (Ongetta Team I.S.P.A.) shot up onto the front row right at the death, where he will be joined by Randy Krummenacher (Degraaf Grand Prix).
A strong second row will feature Sergio Gadea (Bancaja Aspar), Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team), Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) and Andrea Iannone (Ongetta Team I.S.P.A.).