Jorge Lorenzo took his fourth consecutive pole of the 2010 MotoGP campaign with the top time in qualifying for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
The championship leader had a dramatic session, in which an oil spill from his Yamaha M1 resulted in the session being halted after crashes for Ben Spies and Randy de Puniet, but he went on to ensure he will go for a fourth straight win from top spot on the grid on Sunday, with a fastest lap of 1:21.817.
“Since the new engine rule everyone has been starting to feel like these engines never have problems and it was honestly a surprise for me today when I came onto the straight and felt it stop!” Pedrosa said. “It was so hot and there was oil on my feet so I had to go into the wall.
“I’m really sorry that Ben and Randy crashed and especially that Randy was slightly injured, it is good news that he will be able to race tomorrow. This pole position was very hard because Casey and Dani were so fast; I had to push at the maximum and ride really well. Well done to my team because we have improved so much since yesterday and now I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) will launch his challenge for a first victory of the season from second place with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will also be on the front row as he was the third and final rider under the 1:22 mark.
Stoner was looking on course to steal pole from Lorenzo until he found Colin Edwards in his path going into the final corner and as he hesitated deciding whether to pass or not he lost crucial time and eventually finished just 0.024s behind Lorenzo.
“We’ve gradually progressed over the whole weekend – we started off pretty competitive yesterday, the bike was going well and step by step we’ve made it better,” Stoner said. “The track conditions were also a little better today with the lower temperatures and of course more rubber having been laid down on it so that certainly helped.
“We managed to put a good lap together there at the end but I got caught up behind Colin Edwards in the penultimate corner and lost some vital time. I was a little bit disappointed not to get pole by such a small margin but maybe I should have attempted to pass him earlier and things might have been different.
“Having said that we have to be happy today – we’re starting from the front row and I’m feeling good about tomorrow so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso heads up the second row as he followed three-tenths behind the Spaniard, whilst Valentino Rossi will start his first race back from his enforced break from racing in fifth spot.
Having made a miraculous recovery from a broken leg at his home round in Mugello, the reigning world champion ended up 0.578s off the pace of his Fiat Yamaha collegue Lorenzo.
“I am really happy after this second day because I feel confident on the bike,” said Rossi. “I have suffered more today because we’ve had two sessions instead of one and I have some pain and I’m more tired than yesterday, but I feel good and my movement is okay. Also the shoulder feels fine so it’s definitely a positive return for me.
“Unfortunately today at the end we tried a small modification to improve the setting but it made it worse, so I think we lost one position for this. I don’t think the front row was possible because Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa went under 1:22 and I don’t think I could have done that today.
“For tomorrow of course there is a question mark but I hope to be able to finish – I think the podium will be difficult for me but top five would be a very good result.”
Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) will be alongside after he achieved his best premier class qualification to date with sixth.
The session was red-flagged with 25 minutes remaining as Lorenzo’s M1 started to spill oil, and flames then began to pour out of the side of the Spaniard’s bike as he approached turn one before he managed to pull off the track. Following behind, Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) fell in the split oil, as did De Puniet (LCR Honda) and the Frenchman collided with Spies’ stationary bike as he slid off.
De Puniet went for X-rays on his right leg in the medical centre, which confirmed no breaks, and he will be hopeful of taking his seventh spot on the grid having started 189 consecutive races since 1999.
Riding as a replacement for Hiroshi Aoyama, Alex de Angelis (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) had a crash towards the end of the session and was uninjured. He will start from last place on the grid in seventeenth, whilst compatriot Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) had a run-off late on but will start fourteenth.
Andrea Iannone’s fourth pole of the season – his third in succession – was confirmed in Moto2 as the Fimmco Speed Up rider qualified fastest with a lap of 1’24.982, making him the only sub-1’25” rider and placing him 0.673s clear at the top of the timesheet.
The Italian, who will tomorrow go for his third win of the season, will be joined on the front row by Arne Tode (Racing Team Germany), who delighted the home crowd by qualifying in second position. Just nine-thousandths of a second behind him was championship leader Toni Elías (Gresini Racing), who had a crash late on in the session from which he walked away uninjured.
Completing the front row will be Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar), with a gap of 0.776s separating him from the pole position holder.
The second row will be comprised of Iannone’s team-mate Gabor Talmacsi, Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2), another German rider in Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) on his return from injury, and Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP).
Ricky Cardús had a crash in his first qualifying session as a new addition to the Maquinza-SAG Team, with Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) also experiencing a fall.
Switzerland’s Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing), currently second in the Championship, qualified in a disappointing 21st having had a difficult session in which he ran off track.
Marc Márquez will start Sunday’s race from pole position thanks to a fantastic qualifying display. The 17 year-old Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider’s blistering time of 1:26.053 was 0.786s faster than Gabor Talmacsi’s absolute circuit record, which had stood at the track since 2007.
On a surface which had dried out well since the morning’s wet practice session, Márquez and Pol Espargaró battled for pole position in the closing stages of qualifying, with the lead time swapping hands on a number of occasions as the pair pushed one another to increasingly faster times.
Márquez then pulled out an unmatchable lap towards the end to leave him 0.543s clear of his Tuenti Derbi rival, whom he leads in the Championship standings by a single point going into tomorrow’s race.
Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) in third was 1.325s off the pace of Márquez, and Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) will start his home GP from the front row after taking fourth spot on the grid, just nine-thousandths off Smith.
The second row will be comprised of Randy Krummenacher (Stipa-Molenaar Racing), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing), Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany) and Johann Zarco (WTR San Marino Team). Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol) completed the top ten.
Injured Nico Terol meanwhile returned to Spain today after deciding his was not fit enough to race after having cracked the L1 and L2 vertebrae in his back during the last round in Barcelona. With the 125s not racing at MotoGP’s next stop in the USA, Terol has until the Czech round at Brno on August 15th to recover from his injuries.