News 3 Jul 2011

Perfect Stoner seals pole position for Mugello's Italian MotoGP

Australia's Casey Stoner topped a mixed session to secure pole at Mugello.

Australia's Casey Stoner topped a mixed session to secure pole at Mugello.

Casey Stoner put in a blistering fast lap to grab pole position for the start of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM race at Mugello, his 27th pole position in the premier class.

American Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) will join the Australian on the front row.

With uncertain weather conditions threatening, the MotoGP grid hurried to put down as many laps as possible and the Australian on the Repsol Honda set a new circuit record of 1:48.034 in the first half of the session, to qualify him almost half a second faster than Spies.

“After the two sessions yesterday and also in FP3 this morning, we weren’t too happy with the set up we had, so we were looking to utilise all of this afternoon’s session,” Stoner said. “However, we made some changes to my second bike, which I made my fastest lap on and we’ve come out with a fantastic bike.

“I’m really happy to get pole here especially on a used tyre, the start of qualifying didn’t look too good, there was some rain and it was difficult to know how much to push so we went with soft tyres on front and rear to try and get a good lap time before the rain arrived.

“Once I was on track I realised the rain hadn’t affected conditions so much, so I came back in and made a change on the second bike and went back out with a hard front which gave us a little more stability and we managed to go a lot faster.

“The way the surface is working and everything in general is perfect, even with difficult conditions, we made the right choices at the right time.”

American factory Yamaha rider Spies managed to qualify second on the grid with a time of 1’48.479 at only his second visit to the Tuscan circuit.

Spies edged out Simoncelli by just 0.006s, who was unable to counter with a quicker attempt as rain began to fall in earnest with 25 minutes remaining in the hour long qualifying session.

Andrea Dovizioso will start his Repsol Honda on Sunday from the head of the second row, after setting a time of 1’48.694 – a 0.394s improvement over his best time set in FP1.

The Italian was 0.062s quicker than Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who set an earlier lap record in FP3. The Mallorcan’s qualifying time of 1:48.756 was over half a second slower than his earlier record breaking best time.

Completing the second row will be Colin Edwards on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, trailing Lorenzo by 0.218s.

Edward’s team mate Cal Crutchlow leads row three and is the last of the field within a second of the record breaking lap of Stoner.

Crutchlow is joined by last year’s race winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who returns to racing after his three-race absence due to injury.

The first Ducati Team finisher in the bunch ridden by Nicky Hayden. The Kentucky Kid’s team mate Valentino Rossi finished the session in 12th.

2011 MotoGP World Championship
Round EIght – Mugello, Italy

MotoGP Qualifying:
1. Casey STONER 1:48.034
2. Ben SPIES 1:48.479
3. Marco SIMONCELLI 1:48.485
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO 1:48.694
5. Jorge LORENZO 1:48.756
6. Colin EDWARDS 1:48.974
7. Cal CRUTCHLOW 1:49.021
8. Dani PEDROSA 1:49.398
9. Nicky HAYDEN 1:49.509
10. Hector BARBERA 1:49.663
11. Karel ABRAHAM 1:49.678
12. Valentino ROSSI 1:49.902
13. Hiroshi AOYAMA 1:50.156
14. Alvaro BAUTISTA 1:50.460
15. Randy DE PUNIET 1:50.651
16. Toni ELIAS 1:50.742