Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took pole position for Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in a crucial qualifying session, but will require medical checks before the race after crashing late in the run.
A dramatic qualifying session at Laguna Seca, which ended with the Spaniard being stretchered away having set the pole position time of 1’21.678, also saw a heavy fall for Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo was unaffected by a lowside crash on the fourth corner with 20 minutes to go, jumping on his second M1 to grab pole for Sunday’s race, before a massive highside crash saw him taken away from trackside and straight to the medical centre. Initial tests showed a partially dislocated right shoulder and a bruised right foot, but Lorenzo will neither be passed fit to ride, nor ruled out of action, until Sunday morning.
Second fastest qualifier Valentino Rossi stood alone in parc fermé, having lapped 0.167s behind Lorenzo, with third fastest rider Stoner also crashing hard on turn three in the final minutes. Stoner appeared to be walking unaided, albeit unsteadily, after the session and is ok to race.
The second row for Sunday’s eighth MotoGP contest of 2009 will be an all-Honda affair, with factory pair Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso qualifying fourth and fifth respectively, in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elías – all three less than half a second down on Lorenzo.
MotoGP’s American representatives Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) will be joined on row three by Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki), who like Hayden has a good record at Laguna. The top ten qualifiers list was completed by Vermeulen’s veteran teammate Loris Capirossi –a previous winner at the track in the 1993 250cc race.
The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix takes place on Sunday at 2pm local time (GMT -7).