The 2011 MotoGP grid is filled with much talent, but so far in 2011, one rider has out performed the rest: Casey Stoner.
The Respol Honda rider began with impressive speeds at pre-season tests in Sepang, and then dominated the test sessions at Qatar. And when the MotoGP riders were set to practice for the opening round at Losail International Circuit in Qatar, Stoner dominated in all three sessions.
It was no surprise that Stoner also captured the pole for Sunday’s MotoGP race, taking the top spot in qualifying with a 1:54.137; this was his 27th-career pole.
It was also no surprise who was second fastest in qualifying on Saturday. Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was also second in all three Qatar practice sessions, finished 0.205 of a second behind. This will be the Spaniard’s first-ever front row start at Losail.
Taking the final spot on the front row was the reigning MotoGP Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard trailed Stoner by 0.805 of a second.
Marco Simoncelli leads the second row aboard the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V. Next is the 2010 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Ben Spies. The Texan posted a 1:59.095, and was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.
Finishing up the second row is the top Ducati in Qatar qualifying, the Mapfre Aspar Team GP11 piloted by Hector Barbera. He was 1.086 seconds behind Stoner.
Unlike the practice sessions, the third Repsol Honda RC212V rider, Andrea Dovizioso, couldn’t capture the times of his teammates. The Italian qualified seventh, just edged out by Barbera by 0.006 of a second.
In eight is Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 rider Cal Crutchlow, which is impressive for the Brit’s first MotoGP race (and also because he’s riding with an injured finger). The rookie beat out Ducati Team rider Valentino Rossi; the GP11 rider was 1.5 seconds behind Stoner.
Rounding out the top 10 was Crutchlow’s teammate, Colin Edwards.
The only rider who will not start in Sunday’s race will be Alvaro Bautista, who broke his left femur at FP3 on Friday. There will be no replacement for the Spaniard, so the grid will only contain 16 riders.
2011 MotoGP Qatar Qaulifying Results:
|1.||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||324.3||1’54.137|
|2.||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||326.6||1’54.342||0.205 / 0.205|
|3.||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||321.2||1’54.947||0.810 / 0.605|
|4.||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||324.0||1’54.988||0.851 / 0.041|
|5.||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||319.1||1’55.095||0.958 / 0.107|
|6.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||329.8||1’55.223||1.086 / 0.128|
|7.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||324.2||1’55.229||1.092 / 0.006|
|8.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||321.9||1’55.578||1.441 / 0.349|
|9.||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||324.1||1’55.637||1.500 / 0.059|
|10.||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||320.5||1’55.647||1.510 / 0.010|
|11.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||322.8||1’55.656||1.519 / 0.009|
|12.||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||326.1||1’55.724||1.587 / 0.068|
|13.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||323.5||1’55.881||1.744 / 0.157|
|14.||65||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||319.1||1’56.323||2.186 / 0.442|
|15.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||326.2||1’56.665||2.528 / 0.342|
|16.||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||324.1||1’57.992||3.855 / 1.327|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki|