Stoner Gets Seventh Pole

Cycle News Staff | August 30, 2008

Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner scored his seventh consecutive pole position with a scorching final lap around the Misano circuit, site of Sunday’s GP Cinzano San Marino/Riviera Rimini. Stoner lapped in 1:33.378 mins., a time that was a new record for the slightly reconfigured track and would have been a record on the old track. The lap came with under two minutes remaining in the one hour session and was untouchable. Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi made a run late in the session. The hometown hero was ahead on the first two splits, but not the third, and his time came up short by .510 secs. There might have been more time in for Stoner, but for two problems. He’d re-broken his right scaphoid on Friday and “The bike that we did the quickest time on this morning just didn’t to work this afternoon and then we went back to the other set-up we had this morning and it seemed to work better. So we’re a little confused at the moment, but the lap times we were doing on race tires we’re really happy with. “The main thing I was worried about was we only had time to get two qualifiers on, we always have three and most people have more, but unfortunately, when we were testing the race set-up we ran out of time basically to get the third qualifier in. so I was very happy and very lucky to stay on pole position with only two qualifiers.” The question for Stoner is whether he can compete for 28 laps. “Yeah, I mean I’m not able to do the amount of laps I’d like to and not in the same condition,” he said. Rossi, who lives in nearby Tavullia, said the weather was better for the beach in Rimini than the race track, “so I think we are in the wrong place this afternoon. But anyway is better like this than in other European races of this year where we have always a lot of rain in every week, so is hot, but is better than worse. “So, I’m happy about my work, because I do a good job with the qualifier. Always better and better. At the end my lap time is not so bad, it’s 33.8,(1:33.888) I’m not so far and especially the second position is good for tomorrow. We have some problem in the setting. Anyway we have some corners where I’m not fast. Anyway, we have a lot of data from these two days. We try a lot of different settings, so we try to work for tomorrow to be a little bit faster.” Following the top two Bridgestone riders, Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was the first Michelin in third, less than a tenth of a second behind his teammate. Lorenzo said he was struggling less than he did in Brno or Laguna Seca. “Michelin are so more competitive and now I’m riding again with flow, you know,” he said. He’d returned to his old riding style and he had confidence in the tires. “Anyway, (Casey) Stoner and Valentino are going really fast, especially Stoner, and tomorrow to keep Stoner will be so difficult, but our goal is not to win, is to finish in the top five.” LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet used Rossi’s tow to card the fourth fastest time, good for the second row pole. He was joined by the Alice Team’s Toni Elias (Duc) and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa did much better than his injured teammate Nicky Hayden. Riding with a still damaged heel, the result of an incident at the X Games four weeks ago, Hayden could only manage the 16th fastest time, just ahead of another injured American, Kawasaki’s John Hopkins, and the final rider, Kawasaki’s Anthony West. Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen led off row three from San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Shinya Nakano and Tech 3 Yamaha’s James Toseland. Toseland’s teammate Colin Edwards was back on the fourth row in front of Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi and Alice Team’s Sylvain Guintoli (Duc). MotoGP Qualifying: 1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:33.378 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:33.888 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:33.964 4. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:34.236 5. Toni Elias (Ducati) 1:34.322 6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:34.398 7. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:34.461 8. Shinya Nakano (Honda) 1:3494 9. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:34.652 10. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:34.795 11. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:34.926 12. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:34.961 13. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:35.153 14. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:35.381 15. Marco Melandri (Ducati) 1:35.418 16. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:35.484 17. John Hopkins (Kawasaki) 1:35.980 18. Anthony West (Kawasaki) 1:37.047