Casey Stoner smashed the Aragon circuit record with another dominant performance, taking his ninth pole position of the season ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. Not even a tumble late in the session could slow the Australian down as he set the fastest ever lap of the 5.078km circuit.
Stoner set the fastest time of the weekend in Saturday's extended practice session but only took nine minutes of the qualifying hour to beat it, clocking a 1:49.165. Pedrosa immediately joined him on the front row with Randy de Puniet produced a sensational lap to take third just after the halfway stage.
With 15 minutes remaining, the riders poured out on track for their first qualifying efforts on soft tyres. Andrea Dovizioso made full use of the extra grip to grab second from Pedrosa while Stoner extended his lead to 0.789s with another blistering lap. He clearly wasn't finished though and was on the ragged edge next time around, spearing into the gravel at seven before dropping the bike short of the tyre wall.
His original pole time was still unchallenged although Pedrosa jumped back into second with a 1:49.097. Meanwhile, World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was enduring a miserable session and had fallen to 12th at one point but with six minutes on the clock, finally made it up to fourth. Instead, it was his teammate Ben Spies that led the chasing pack behind the Hondas, going two tenths quicker for third.
Back out on track, Stoner managed to go even quicker on his spare bike than he had on his first, setting a 1:48.451, which put him over half a second ahead of the competition before a last gasp effort from Pedrosa brought the gap back down to 0.296s.
Spies secured third on the grid for Yamaha while Dovizioso looked to have snatched fourth from Lorenzo in the final minute, only for the Spaniard to retake the position moments later with his fastest final sector of the day.
Marco Simoncelli was strangely subdued and finished a second off the pace in sixth while Nicky Hayden gave Ducati a ray of light with seventh. On the other side of the garage, Valentino Rossi had a problematic session which began with a crash at turn 15 and ended with an engine change. Having already used his six-engine allocation for the season, Rossi will start from the pitlane instead of his qualifying position of 13th.
Karel Abraham produced one of the stand-out performances with eighth place on his Ducati to edge out Hiroshi Aoyama, with the impressive De Puniet dropping to tenth after his mid-session effort proved to be his quickest.
Cal Crutchlow also had a strong session, finishing 12th despite the Tech 3 Yamaha being the slowest through the speed trap. The Briton also outqualified his teammate Colin Edwards who could only manage 15th.
Gran Premio de AragÃ³n: Qualifying Result
|1||Casey Stoner||AUS||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:48.451|
|2||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+0.296|
|3||Ben Spies||USA||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||+0.704|
|4||Jorge Lorenzo||SPA||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||+0.819|
|5||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+0.921|
|6||Marco Simoncelli||ITA||Honda||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+1.077|
|7||Nicky Hayden||USA||Ducati||Ducati Team||+1.301|
|8||Karel Abraham||CZE||Ducati||Cardion AB Motoracing||+1.326|
|9||Hiroshi Aoyama||JAP||Honda||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+1.362|
|10||Randy de Puniet||FRA||Ducati||Pramac Racing Team||+1.375|
|11||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Suzuki||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+1.432|
|12||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+1.442|
|13||Valentino Rossi*||ITA||Ducati||Ducati Team||+1.509|
|14||Hector Barbera||SPA||Ducati||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||+1.525|
|15||Colin Edwards||USA||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+1.654|
|16||Loris Capirossi||ITA||Ducati||Pramac Racing Team||+2.301|
|17||Toni Elias||SPA||Honda||LCR Honda MotoGP||+2.622|
*Will start from the pitlane after exceeding six-engine limit for the season