Stoner Holds Off The Yamahas In Catalunya Qualifying

Casey Stoner - Photo Credit:
Casey Stoner - Photo Credit:


Casey Stoner denied Jorge Lorenzo pole position on home soil after the Repsol Honda proved to marginally have the measure of the Yamaha in qualifying at Catalunya. The six bikes that have dominated qualifying so far this year were on top once again with Cal Crutchlow flying the flag for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in third.

Stoner was the fastest man after the early soft tyre runs on a 1:41.938 and his monopoly of pole position lasted until the final 20 minutes when Andrea Dovizioso went seven thousandths quicker, building on the form that took him to third in morning practice. Tech 3 then found themselves with a 1-2 as Crutchlow took provisional pole, nine thousandths ahead.

The nip-and-tuck battle for pole was blown wide open ten minutes from time as Dani Pedrosa broke into the mid-1:41s while Stoner found even more time to pull three tenths clear of his teammate. Dovizioso was also back in the mix and regained the advantage over his teammate in third.

Britain's number one fought back with two minutes to go but didn't go third fastest, instead going one better to split the Repsol Hondas. Jorge Lorenzo, after a quiet session which saw him spend most of the time on the second row, delivered his best lap of the weekend in the nick of time to grab second, finishing just a tenth shy of Stoner.

Ben Spies also left it late on the other factory Yamaha but finally clawed his way up to fourth, edging out Pedrosa who paid the price for a trip through the gravel at turn ten on his final run. Dovizioso was shuffled back to sixth with a three-tenth gap separating him from the leading Ducati, ridden by Nicky Hayden.

Stefan Bradl impressed once again to qualify eighth while Valentino Rossi took the second Ducati GP12 to ninth, just 0.880s off pole. Alvaro Bautista's Friday potential didn't translate into a good grid slot, leaving him down in tenth, while Hector Barbera and Karel Abraham completed the fourth row on the satellite Ducatis.

Randy de Puniet edged out Colin Edwards to finish as top CRT qualifier while James Ellison finished seventeenth for Paul Bird Motorsport.