Stoner Gets First Ever Aragon Pole

Cycle News Staff | September 18, 2010

Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was back on pole for the first time since the curtain-raiser in Qatar after an experiment with the balance of his Desmosedici paid off in qualiyfing for the inaugural Aragon Grand Prix.In a season which hasn’t produced the hoped for results, Stoner and teammate Nicky Hayden have tried everything, mostly to get more front end feel. Today the team changed the balance of the Ducati and the results were encouraging. Stoner not only took his first pole in over five months, but he did it by a comfortable margin of .309 the end of the 45-minute session.The Australian lapped the 3.155-mile Motorland Aragon circuit in 1:48.942 mins. to take the first ever pole. He attributed his success to the changes to the bike’s weight distribution.Stoner said that “we’ve been trying something for the last half a dozen weekends, something different every time. And this weekend we might have found something, either that or it’s just good for this track. Which, either way, we’re going to be happy.”Yeah, things this weekend have been going a lot better for us. I always enjoy going to a new track, having a new challenge, something you haven’t done a million laps around is always very refreshing. So yeah, this weekend we’re just going to have to see how the race pans out, see if I can actually run with these guys. But race pace-wise, yeah, we feel pretty happy. Bike’s working well and we’ll just to have to see if our settings work”Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo suffered from the same problem as all the top Yamaha riders, a lack of top speed. He had the second slowest time; only Monster Yamaha Tech 3′ Ben Spies was slower. But the runaway championship leader was still second fastest, running his season string of front row starts to 13, a perfect record.Lorenzo was happy with his riding and his continuing knowledge of the track, but admitted that there was nothing he could do about the speed deficit.”The problem is that we lost a lot on the straights and accelerations,” he said. “We don’t have the same power as Ducati and Honda, so this is the worst point we have now. But anyway, we can’t change the bike, so with this bike we must be perfect and ride perfectly for perhaps one more chance of victory or podium tomorrow.”Lorenzo goes into Sunday’s 13th of 18 championship rounds with a 63 point lead, 271 to 208, over Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.Pedrosa had the fastest bike-his trap speed was 5 mph up on Lorenzo-and he put it to good use for most of the session. Pedrosa was top of the charts for more time than anyone else, but when Stoner hit his stride in the final six minutes Pedrosa had no answer. There was a chance he could steal the pole with his final lap until he missed his braking mark and ran wide in the turn 12 left while on record pace.”I think in the last lap I make a mistake and I try too hard in my braking and I miss the point, but still third position is good because front row is always important,” he said.Hayden was just behind on the row two pole and narrowly in front of Spies; the difference between them was .056 secs. Hayden was strong in the first half of the track, but fell behind in the second half.LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet sat at the end of the second row. The Frenchman broke his leg almost exactly two months ago in the German Grand Prix.”I finally enjoyed riding my bike after the bad injury I suffered in Germany,” he said. “The last month has been very tough for me but now I feel in good shape again and more consistent on this track compared to Misano. I am not at 100% yet and I know that this race will be close, but I feel more comfortable now and it seems I do not need to push hard to be fast and this is very positive.”Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was a disappointing seventh. Rossi was never a serious challenger for the pole and hasn’t been since his last pole in Le Mans, the race before he broke his leg at his home race in Mugello. Next to him are Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli, the trio of Italians covered by .071 secs.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards was back on the fourth row in 11th place.

MotoGP Qualifying:

1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:48.942

2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:49.251

3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:49.343

4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:49.506

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:49.565

6. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:49.952

7. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:50.017

8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:50.046

9. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:50.088

10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:50.323

11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:50.440