Stoner Takes Pole In Mixed Weather At Mugello

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Repsol Honda‘s Casey Stoner has claimed pole position for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix after setting a blistering lap of 1:48.034, a new circuit record, in the first half of the session. The remainder of the session was marred by the looming clouds finally unloaded on the track, essentially ending the session there and then. No-one was able to set a fast time in the remaining 25 minutes of the session, and Stoner was left unchallenged at the front of the grid.

Nearly half a second behind the series leader, Ben Spies qualified in 2nd, on only his second visit to the track . The Yamaha rider outpaced 3rd place rider, San Carlo Honda Gresini‘s Marco Simoncelli by just 0.006s. Spies managed to set his time just before the rain came leaving Simoncelli unable to forge a comeback.

Andrea Dovizioso will start at the head of Row 2 in 4th, with the Repsol Honda rider beating Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo’s time of 1:48.756 was over half a second slower than his previous record. Completing the second row is Monster Yamaha Tech3‘s Colin Edwards. The satellite rider was only 0.218s behind the factory machine of Lorenzo.

Row 3 will be led by Edwards’ team mate Cal Crutchlow. The Brit rider completed a good day for the French team, considering both riders are still nursing injuries and Crutchlow having had little time to learn the track on Friday. Crutchlow will be closely followed by the returning Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda won last years race, and will be hoping to score some points to kick start his campaign from 8th. Ducati‘s Nicky Hayden was once again the quickest Ducati around the Mugello track, and will start in 9th.

Completing the top ten, and heading Row 4 is Mapfre Aspar Ducati‘s Hector Barbera after another impressive qualifying for the young Spaniard. 11th place went to another Ducati, that of Karel Abraham. The Cardion AB Motoracing rider out qualified the factory machine of Valentino Rossi. Rossi completes and all Ducati Row 4 after a poor 12th place finish and will be hoping for better race pace at his home grand prix.

Back on the San Carlo machine, Hiroshi Aoyama will lead away Row 5 after qualifying in 13th. Álvaro Bautista will start in 14th. The Rizla Suzuki rider was a victim of the weather as he was unable to get a better time in the ever dampening conditions. The lone Pramac Ducati of Randy De Puniet will start at the back of Row 5 in 15th.

Due to the absence of Pramac’s Loris Capirossi, LCR Honda‘s Toni Elias will start on his own, at the back, on Row 6 in 16th.

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