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:
|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|