Stoner Takes British GP Pole

Henny Ray Abrams | June 11, 2011

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner continued his hot hand in MotoGP, the Australian earning his fourth pole in six races with another fast time coming today at Silverstone – the site of tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.Stoner didn’t lead the entire session, however, as it was Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo at the top at the halfway point in the session, the Italian dipping into the 2:02s to lead the early charge. Then came Stoner with 20 minutes to go, the Aussie holding the best time for some seven minutes before San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli made his charge, the Italian jumping to the top with a 2:02.389 – which he immediately followed with a 2:02.285.But Stoner wasn’t finished and with some seven and a half minutes to go in the session, he threw down the 2:02.020 that would earn him his fourth pole.With more bad weather expected for tomorrow, Stoner said he’d be fine in either wet or dry, though he’d prefer dry. He also said in the post-qualifying press conference that he’d “lost the front two or three times” and that he was “lucky today to get pole position.”Simoncelli ended up second, .188 of a second from Stoner and he’s hoping for a better race than last week in Catalunya where he started from pole and struggled to a sixth-place finish.”I hope tomorrow to fight for the podium,” Simoncelli said. “I have a better feeling with the bike than in Barcelona… the race pace. I feel ready to fight for the podium tomorrow. We have been quite fast in both conditions.”The front row for tomorrow’s race will be filled by Lorenzo, the Yamaha man’s confidence bolstered by the fact that he’s just .217 of a second off Stoner.”I improved more than I expected this afternoon,” Lorenzo said.The second row of the grid will be led by Yamaha’s Ben Spies, the Texan ending up fourth behind his teammate but ahead of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso. Spies was the last rider to circulate within a second of Stoner’s best.Cardion AB Ducati’s Karel Abraham was a surprise sixth after getting some last lap drafting help from Lorenzo.Abraham’s effort pushed Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden to the third row. He’ll be joined there by Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards – the Texan doing a remarkable job of qualifying eighth despite breaking his collarbone last week and undergoing surgery to repair the damage – and Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista.

Unfortunately, Edwards’ teammate Cal Crutchlow won’t make the start of his home Grand Prix, the Brit suffering a broken collarbone and concussion in a crash that came early in today’s final session.One rider who is certainly hoping for wet conditions tomorrow is Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, the Italian ending up 13th in final qualifying.With Crutchlow out, just 15 riders will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

Final Qualifying

1.                  Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:02.020

2.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2:02.208

3.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:02.237

4.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:02.677

5.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2:03.212

6.                  Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2:04.151

7.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:04.304

8.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2:04.508

9.                  Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 2:04.520

10.                  Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 2:04.589

11.                  Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2:04.919

12.                  Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:05.164

13.                  Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2:05.781

14.                  Toni Elias (Honda) 2:06.862

15.                  Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2:06.256

16.                  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:07.911


Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.