MotoGP – Stoner Takes Pole At Mugello

July 3, 2011

125cc, Moto2, MotoGP

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 on his Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1. The American 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. He is joined by last year’s race winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who returns to racing after his 3 race absence due to injury, and 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.

Moto2:

Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) took his second pole position of the 2011 season in a rainy qualifying ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Moto2 race. The 125cc World Champion set a fast lap of 2’05.312 at the end of a heated time battle, beating out Alex de Angelis of the JiR Moto2 team by 0.585s and Tech 3 Racing’s Smith by 1.305s. Smith, who posted a time of 2’06.617, will take his first front row Moto2 start in Sunday’s race.

Belgian rider Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 B) will lead the second row after a qualifying time of 2’06.757, with Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) and Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) joining him on the second row of the grid.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) appeared set to challenge for pole position until his bike slowed in the last part of a final hot lap, leaving the German rider in seventh in the dying seconds of the session. Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project), who held the top time in qualifying at the halfway point, finished the session in eighth while Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) completes row three in ninth.

Axel Pons (Pons HP 40) did not participate in the qualifying session and will miss the race following a crash with Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG) in FP3.

125cc:

Johann Zarco will start from pole position for the first time in his career on Sunday, after a rain-hit qualifying session prevented the majority of the 125cc riders from improving on their provisional times. The Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider set his best time of the weekend in the few early dry laps of the qualifying session. His time of 1’58.988 was over a second and a half faster than second place starter Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), who will start for the second time this season from the front row, and nearly two seconds ahead of third position starter Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team).

Light and intermittent showers left the circuit in varying degrees of dampness during the early part of the 40 minute single cylinder class qualifying session, later turning heavier just before the end, allowing the field only the first minutes to set their fastest times.

Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) posted a time of 2’01.026 to put him in fourth position and at the head of the second row, he will be accompanied by the Championship leader Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) who was quickest in the dry morning session but was taken by surprise with the arrival of rain, which had been forecast for later in the afternoon. Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) posted a top six time of 2’01.093 and completes row two.

Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) and Bankia Aspar duo Héctor Faubel and Adrián Martín make up an all Spanish row three, with Italian Louis Rossi (Matteoni Racing) leading row four joined by Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing).

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