Pedrosa On Pole, Hopkins Out Of Czech GP

Cycle News Staff | August 12, 2011

Today’s wet and dry sessions at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic saw Repsol Honda men Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa swap spots at the top of the timesheets, but when it was all said and done it was Pedrosa taking his first pole position of the season in the dry final qualifying session.This morning’s practice session was wet and it featured Stoner at the top, but it was dry for the session that counted this afternoon and that’s where Pedrosa starred. It came down to a battle at the end between Pedrosa and countryman Jorge Lorenzo in an exciting session that saw the two Spaniards volleying pole back and forth in the closing stages. At the end it was Pedrosa by just .113 of a second as he ripped off a 1:56.591 lap.Stoner ended up third fastest to fill out the front row for tomorrow’s Czech Republic Grand Prix. The Australian ended up .269 of a second behind Pedrosa, but will line up next to Lorenzo as he starts tomorrow’s Grand Prix 20 points up on his Yamaha rival in the championship. Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner were the only riders to crack the 1:57 barrier.Yamaha’s Ben Spies was next, the Texan leading row two on his factory M1. His best was just a tick over half a second off Pedrosa’s pole time but ahead of San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli.Valentino Rossi produced his best qualifying effort of his debut season with the Marlboro Ducati team. Rossi ended up sixth on the grid and .776 of a second off Pedrosa’s best after showing massive improvement from yesterday’s dry session. He was also ahead of the third factory Honda, ridden by Dovizioso.Dovizioso will lead row three and the Italian will be joined there by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and the second Marlboro Ducati of Nicky Hayden.Edwards’ teammate Cal Crutchlow crashed near the end of the session. He will start tomorrow’s GP from 11th on the grid.The bad news that came out of this morning’s wet session was the hand injury suffered by Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins. The Californian crashed out of the session and suffered a break and dislocation of his third finger and a fracture of his second finger of his right hand. He was slated to fly back to the U.S. to undergo surgery that will allow him to be fit for the next round of the British Superbike Championship later this month.Hopkins crashed in the same corner that had earlier claimed Stoner.Final Qualifying

1.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:56.591

2.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:56.704

3.                  Casey Stoner (Honda) 1: 56.860

4.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:57.178

5.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:57.351

6.                  Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:57.367

7.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:57.442

8.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:57.676

9.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:57.676

10.                  Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1:57.784