Casey Stoner continued his MotoGP dominance during his debut year on the Repsol Honda, the Australian taking his ninth pole of the 2011 season Saturday at Motorland Aragon.
And like always, he was blistering fast ahead of the remaining 16-rider grid, Stoner posting a 1:48.451. This time was 1.07 seconds faster than the circuit record set by Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa last season during Aragon’s debut MotoGP, which the Spaniard won.
And Stoner’s time came on his backup bike; Stoner crashed with 13 minutes to go, but once on the second bike Stoner continually got quicker.
Joining the current points leader Stoner on the front row will be Pedrosa, who was the only other rider to break the 1:49 mark (1:49.717), and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies (1:49.155).
Casey Stoner (Respol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "It was a very eventful qualifying session for us! Everything has been going very well this weekend, we have a good feeling with the bike and I’m feeling great.
"At the end of the session we put on the soft tyre and on the first lap I was a little too cautious in T1 as I wasn’t sure if the tyres were warm enough, then I pushed on the second lap and I had a lot more grip than I expected so I went through the corner much faster and I wasn’t able to slow down, I pulled the bike up but it was difficult to reduce the speed and I ended up needing to lay the bike down to avoid the wall.
"Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to restart the bike which is a shame as I was happier on that one, but even on the second bike we were able to improve our time. Now we need to see what the weather brings for tomorrow but we’re feeling good and I hope for a good race."
Heading up the second row will be the reigning MotoGP Champion, Spies’ teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard was 0.155 of a second behind his teammate. Joining Lorenzo on the second row are the two Italian rivals, Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who finished third last year at Aragon, will begin seventh. He will be joined by the rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Ducati) and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
As for Valentino Rossi, the Ducati Team rider initially qualified 13th, but because Ducati used a seventh engine after Rossi crashed during qualifying, the Italian will be forced to start from pit lane.
MotoGP says: "The current FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations state that each rider is allowed six engines per season. Under the ‘Penalties for infringement of article 2.3.7 (Engine durability in MotoGP)’ section of the regulations, a rider will start the race from Pit Lane ten seconds after the race start if the infringement takes place before the race."
The riders will be on the 3.155-mile Aragon Motorland circuit Sunday for a warm-up session ahead of Sunday’s race.
2011 Aragon MotoGP: Qualifying Results
|1.||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||320.3||1’48.451|
|2.||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||318.1||1’48.747||0.296 / 0.296|
|3.||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||311.9||1’49.155||0.704 / 0.408|
|4.||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||313.2||1’49.270||0.819 / 0.115|
|5.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||317.7||1’49.372||0.921 / 0.102|
|6.||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||314.2||1’49.528||1.077 / 0.156|
|7.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||316.7||1’49.752||1.301 / 0.224|
|8.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||316.3||1’49.777||1.326 / 0.025|
|9.||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||317.8||1’49.813||1.362 / 0.036|
|10.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||313.9||1’49.826||1.375 / 0.013|
|11.||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||320.3||1’49.883||1.432 / 0.057|
|12.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||310.5||1’49.893||1.442 / 0.010|
|13.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||321.0||1’49.976||1.525 / 0.016|
|14.||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||310.8||1’50.105||1.654 / 0.129|
|15.||65||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||313.6||1’50.752||2.301 / 0.647|
|16.||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||317.6||1’51.073||2.622 / 0.321|