News 17 Jul 2011

Stoner secures stunning MotoGP pole position at Sachsenring

Aussie star spectacular in close German qualifying session.

Australia's Casey Stoner secured pole position for the Grand Prix of Germany.

Australia's Casey Stoner secured pole position for the Grand Prix of Germany.

A best lap of 1:21.681 in qualifying on Saturday secured Casey Stoner pole position for Sunday’s eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring circuit, with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo following the Australian onto the front row.

Repsol Honda rider Stoner secured his sixth pole of the 2011 season as he put in a best lap 0.252s ahead of teammate and two-time premier class winner at the Sachsenring circuit, Dani Pedrosa.

“After the crash on Friday my confidence was dented a little and we struggled to get enough data, so we’ve been playing catch up all day today,” Stoner said. “This morning we made a few small steps forward, but not really enough.

“The guys in front of us were just consistently that little bit faster and we were finding it hard to match their pace. We completed a lot of laps on one tyre this morning, in fact over race distance on a tyre I did one of my fastest laps on so this was certainly positive.

“Then this afternoon we kept trying different directions on both bikes and every step we made on each bike, we took big steps forward so we’re pretty happy with the set-up we have now. The lap times are very close here so it will be a tough race and hard to take any real advantage.

“However, I’m very happy and positive we can still slightly improve tomorrow morning so thanks to all my team for a great job.”

Pedrosa was content with his performance as he continues to recover from injury.

“It’s great to be on the front row again, to be honest I didn’t expect it,” the Spaniard said. “But we’ve done a good job and it’s important to start in front here because the first corner is very tight and it’s better to avoid being immersed in the group at the start.

“For the race, we still need to improve the bike a little, so we will work on that with the mechanics this evening. It would be nice to have a little more traction. I think we will need to pay attention to Yamaha at the end of the race because the riding is smoother and they can save the tyres better.

“As for my condition, right now the races are physically hard for me, but it’s also true that with more left-hand corners in this circuit I don’t suffer as in Mugello and I can concentrate on my riding.

“More than pain, I feel weak from lack of training, but we will give our maximum hoping to get a good result.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) led the session at the 40 minute mark, to finally post his best lap of 1:21.933 to take the final front row spot by the end of the hour.

“It’s been a strong weekend so far,” Lorenzo said. “I’ve never felt great on this track but this weekend I’m riding fast and feeling comfortable. It was a pity at the end of qualifying that the soft tyre didn’t improve anything so much.

“In the end I couldn’t make pole position but I think third position on the front row is a good place to start tomorrow for the race – I got it by just 0.010! Casey is very strong but I hope to be ready to fight for the victory with him.

“I think the fans will see a great race as there are a lot of riders who can fight for the win.”

Perfect conditions at the German circuit allowed the MotoGP class riders to post their best times of the weekend, with Stoner the first rider to break 1:22 with 16 minutes remaining, followed by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) then Pedrosa, and finally Lorenzo, who was the final rider to post a time inside the 1:21s.

Simoncelli’s time of 1:21.954 put him in fourth place and this is only the third time this season the Italian has not qualified on the front row. Joining 24-year-old Simoncelli on row two is Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), who finished eighth last year in Germany, with a time of 1:22.056.

The American was followed by Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), who is still looking for his first podium at Sachsenring, his best finish thus far at the circuit a fifth.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) heads up the third row after posting his best lap of 1:22.368. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), who finished seventh in 2010, joins Edwards after timing in eighth quickest, while Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) completes row three with a best time of 1:22.503 and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) completes the top 10 riders.

Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) will start from eleventh, ahead of Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), whose challenging first weekend at Sachsenring included crashing out of ninth place in the final minutes of the session, to finally end up 12th on the grid.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) finished the session down in 16th, with Loris Capirossi’s substitute on the Pramac Racing team, Sylvain Guintoli, in 17th.

2011 MotoGP World Championship
Round Nine – Sachsenring, Germany

MotoGP Qualifying:
1. Casey STONER, 1:21.681
2. Dani PEDROSA, 1:21.933
3. Jorge LORENZO, 1:21.944
4. Marco SIMONCELLI, 1:21.954
5. Ben SPIES, 1:22.056
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, 1:22.157
7. Colin EDWARDS, 1:22.368
8. Nicky HAYDEN, 1:22.388
9. Randy DE PUNIET, 1:22.503
10. Alvaro BAUTISTA, 1:22.604
11. Hector BARBERA, 1:22.676
12. Cal CRUTCHLOW, 1:22.676
13. Karel ABRAHAM, 1:23.164
14. Toni ELIAS, 1:23.201
15. Hiroshi AOYAMA, 1:23.248
16. Valentino ROSSI, 1:23.320
17. Sylvain GUINTOLI, 1:24.707