Motegi MotoGP: Stoner’s 10th Pole

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2011 MotoGP

Casey Stoner had a historical qualifying session Saturday at Twin Ring Motegi after the Repsol Honda pilot took his 10th pole of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.

Stoner became the only rider in the modern MotoGP era (800cc) to take 10 poles in one season. Throughout World Championship racing, the Australian is now the fifth rider to ever qualifying on pole 10 times in a season, joining Anton Mang in 1981 with a 250cc, Freddie Spencer in 1985 with the wild 500cc, Wayne Gardner in 1987 also in 500cc and Jorge Lorenzo in 2006, in 250cc.

Stoner’s pole efforts at Motegi had also secured him the 2011 BMW M Award as Best Qualifier in the premier class.

Besides taking his 10th pole, Stoner also smashed his own lap record set at Motegi in 2008 (1:47.091, Ducati). Stoner posted a 1:45.267 to take the front spot at Motegi MotoGP.

Joining him on the front row will be the reigning MotoGP Champion, Yamaha Factor Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, and Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “Everything has gone very well so far this weekend, we’ve been fastest in all but one session so it’s been fantastic. We tried a few different settings this afternoon and didn’t really improve so we’ll probably go back to this morning’s setting for tomorrow.

“We’ll have to watch the weather as this will affect the set up, there’s also a chance of rain so it could get complicated. Jorge [Lorenzo] has been riding fantastic, as has Dovi and Dani (Pedrosa), but there is no doubt that the Honda suits this track, I’ve been looking forward to riding it here for a while now and I’m not disappointed! Tomorrow will be a tough race, but the team is working hard and we’ll do our best.”

During the qualifying session, Stoner was the first to get below the 1:47 mark, but was soon overtaken by Lorenzo and then the third and final Repsol Honda MotoGP teammate, Dani Pedorsa. Stoner later rose to the top again, getting close to the 1:46 barrier, but Pedrosa broke it first.

But Stoner soon put in his blistering pole-position lap, and nobody could come close. Lorenzo was 0.256 of a second behind, Dovizioso 0.524 behind.

The only other to post under the 1:46 mark was Pedrosa, who will head up the second row on Sunday. Pedrosa will be joined on the second row by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who suffered from food poisoning Thursday and Friday, and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli, who was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.

The quickest Ducati rider during Motegi MotoGP qualifying was Valentino Rossi. The Italian posted a 1:46.476 aboard the GP11.1. The final two spots on the third row went to Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista and Mapfre Aspar Ducati’s Hector Barbera.

The 19-rider Motegi MotoGP grid will be back on the Japanese Circuit Sunday for the Japanese Grand Prix.

2011 Motegi MotoGP Qualifying Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 295.6 1’45.267
2. 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 287.8 1’45.523 0.256 / 0.256
3. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 293.8 1’45.791 0.524 / 0.268
4. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 292.0 1’45.966 0.699 / 0.175
5. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 292.4 1’46.042 0.775 / 0.076
6. 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 292.4 1’46.211 0.944 / 0.169
7. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 290.9 1’46.467 1.200 / 0.256
8. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 288.5 1’46.586 1.319 / 0.119
9. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 287.5 1’46.694 1.427 / 0.108
10. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 289.5 1’46.763 1.496 / 0.069
11. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 290.2 1’46.811 1.544 / 0.048
12. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 281.9 1’46.818 1.551 / 0.007
13. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 285.5 1’46.917 1.650 / 0.099
14. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 289.3 1’47.165 1.898 / 0.248
15. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 284.7 1’47.922 2.655 / 0.757
16. 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 289.2 1’48.169 2.902 / 0.247
17. 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI JPN LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 286.5 1’48.367 3.100 / 0.198
18. 6 Damian CUDLIN AUS Pramac Racing Team Ducati 275.0 1’48.962 3.695 / 0.595
19. 72 Shinichi ITO JPN Honda Racing Team Honda 286.8 1’49.971 4.704 / 1.009