MoyoGP – Stoner takes pole at home round‏

October 16, 2011

125cc, Moto2, MotoGP

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Casey Stoner‘s quest for a fifth consecutive home premier class victory continued as the Repsol Honda man took pole position after leading all three practice sessions at Phillip Island. The Australian will be joined by Jorge Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli on the front row in Sunday’s Iveco Australian Grand Prix.

The 2007 World Champion appears on course for a repeat of his performance of last year that saw the Australian lead all sessions, take pole and ride to victory as he led Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo by a margin of 0.473s in Saturday’s qualifying session. Stoner posted a time of 1’29.975 to take his 11th pole of the 2011 campaign, and if he scores ten points or more than the defending title holder Lorenzo in Sunday’s race he will secure the 2011 World Championship in front of his home crowd.

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Simoncelli landed on the front row for the first time since the Mugello round, with a best effort of 1’30.599, while Álvaro Bautista had his and Rizla Suzuki’s best qualifying of the season with fourth, following the Italian by 0.115s.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) joins Bautista on row two after posting a time of 1’30.780, as does Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), who had an early run off in the first 15 minutes, then regrouped to see himself as high as third on the timing screens, finally settling in sixth with a time just 0.012s off Dovizioso’s.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) had an off track excursion followed by shortly by a heavy crash in turn 3. The Texan returned to the box, then quickly got back on track to jump immediately to seventh in a speedy recovery, a position he maintained with a time of 1’30.835.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) followed the Texan by 0.036s to place eighth on the grid, the Spaniard was the last rider to lap within a second of Stoner’s leading time. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) posted ninth quickest, with Loris Capirossi completing the top ten on his Pramac Racing machine, while his team mate Randy de Puniet just missed out on the top ten by 0.052s.

Damian Cudlin did not run within the 107% qualifying time, the Australian replacement for Héctor Barberá on the Mapfre Aspar team was still sore from a morning crash, however he will be allowed to race on Sunday as he was fast enough during the practice sessions to get on the grid.


A frantic Moto2 qualifying on Saturday saw rain come in starts and stops, until a dry window opened in the final minutes of the session, sending the riders out into a busy closing few minutes which saw JiR Moto2 rider Alex de Angelis take pole position in a repeat of his performance last year at Phillip Island.

De Angelis, who won the Moto2 race last year, set a best time of 1’34.574, 0.088s ahead of Tech 3 Racing’s Mike di Meglio, who previously saw ninth as his highest ranking of the weekend. Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) followed the Frenchman by 0.027s to take the last spot on the front row.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing), who had led for much of the session after a fast early lap, eventually dropped to fourth position after setting a best lap of 1’34.699, while Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP), who briefly topped the times in the final flurry, was relegated to fifth with his time of 1’34.729. Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) followed the Turkish rider in sixth and seventh.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) ended the session in eighth, ahead of Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) and Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) to complete the top ten on the grid.

Championship leader Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) had a one-minute penalty added to his time of 1’35.298 following his collision with Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG) at the end of the Friday’s first free practice session.


Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) took his fourth pole position of the season and his career after leading much of the qualifying practice on Saturday afternoon, just before closing the outing with a high speed fall that he fortunately walked away from.

The Frenchman’s time of 1’39.207 was the fastest of the day though Sandro Cortese’s lap set in the better conditions Friday morning remained quickest of the weekend. The Intact Racing Team Germany team rider, who qualified second at the Australian circuit last year, will join Zarco on the front row after posting a lap of 1’39.558. Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) equalled his best grid position of the season, third, after lapping behind Cortese by a margin of 0.052s.

Nico Terol, who mathematically can take the title this weekend if he can increase his current 31-point advantage to 50 points over Zarco, was fourth with a time of 1’39.702. The Bankia Aspar rider heads an all-Spanish row with Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) and Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) joining him.

Row three is comprised of Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing). Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) crashed out of the session early, his time set on lap five was quick enough to land him tenth in the line up.


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