As the 2011 MotoGP Championship heads this weekend to Sachsenring for the Germany GP, one motorcycle pilot has more wins than all the others - Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi. And it'll be a special race for Rossi, considering he'll be starting his 250th career GP race.
Fans at Mugello were treated to a great battle in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo upstaging his teammate Valentino Rossi at the World Champion's home track - the Spaniard taking pole and the Italian left off the front row.
In brilliant sunshine at the Gran Premio d'Italia Alice four riders fought for pole right at the death. Lorenzo eventually emerged on top, courtesy of a 1'48.987 time on the 29th of his 30 laps, beating Casey Stoner by a tight margin (0.021s).
• This is Valentino Rossi's first pole in the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring circuit.
• Valentino Rossi has been on the podium sixteen times in the seventeen races since finishing second in Germany last year. If he finishes in the top three here he will equal Giacomo Agostini's all-time record of 159 podium finishes in Grand Prix racing.
• Second on the grid, Jorge Lorenzo, has maintained his record of qualifying on the front row at every race in 2009.
The Texas Tornado mastered the tricky weather conditions to take the psychological advantage ahead of afternoon qualifying at the Twin Ring track, which is likely to be run in very similar conditions as heavy rain continues to fall.
The MotoGP grid was on the track Tuesday for the first time of 2011, testing their prototype motorcycles at Sepang in Malaysia.
The fastest rider during the first of the three-day test was Respol Honda MotoGP rider Casey Stoner. The Australian was the only MotoGP rider to post a time below the 2:02 mark.
Valentino Rossi confirmed he lacked strenght and was in pain after after completing 41 laps aboard the Ducati GP11, but reportedly was still satisfied with the work at Sepang for the first official test of the 2011 MotoGP season.
Following is the pre-race press conference from Sachsenring MotoGP, featuring Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi
Lorenzo leads the championship from his team-mate by just one point and he looked in top form once again this afternoon.
Although the forecast called for rain on Wednesday, the MotoGP field was met with sunny skies on Wednesday for the second of three days of testing at Sepang.