MONTEREY, CA, JULY 24 - Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo sped to his fifth pole position in a row with a blistering lap of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on a warm, sunny day in California.Lorenzo battled back and forth with Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner, as he had all weekend. The pair swapped the top spot repeatedly, with Lorenzo taking control with 13 seconds to run in the one-hour session.The lap of 1:20.978 was not only fastest on the weekend, but very nearly the equal of the fastest lap ever around the 2.238-mile, 11 turn raceway just off the Pacific Ocean in Monterey. Stoner still holds that mark, a 1:20.700 lap. But that one was done on a qualifying tire, which makes Lorenzo's fifth in a row that much more impressive.As always, the pole was decided in the waning minutes. Stoner went to the top with just over four minutes remaining, the lap of 1:21.175 faster than Lorenzo's best to that point by .255 of a second. With just over 90 seconds to go Lorenzo closed to within .132 of a second of Stoner. Then Stoner sped up and re-took the top spot. With as the session was about to expire Lorenzo ran his best lap to take his fifth in a row."This is my fifth pole position so it is impressive for us to make it," Lorenzo said. "It is not so important to have the pole position, but is better to make it. The less positions we lose on the start is better for the race so I try the maximum. I thought I couldn't make it because the lap time of Casey [Stoner] was so quick, but I try. I make the first lap in 21.2 and the second one I say to me, I will push more. I did it and tomorrow we start in the first."Stoner kept second, at a gap of .081 secs., the two well clear of the rest."Toward the front and maybe a little bit more toward the front than last week for sure," Stoner said. "In general, we defintiely need to improve the bike a little bit before tomorrow. I'm a little bit disappointed about this afternoon. We didn't really utilize the time that we had. We ended up with the same setting we had this morning. We tried a few different things that weren't really working and unfortunately one of the settings took a long time to chance so we wasted a little bit of time there mucking around. I thought we could have done a bit quicker today. The bike was feeling fantastic and I thought we could have gone faster, but anyway I'm defintely still happy to be on the front row again. Hopefully we can push a little bit more toward the front that I haven't been done this year."Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso took his first ever front row starting position by finishing third. The Italian has won a grand prix, but he'd never started better than fourth. His best lap was a 1:21.617."I didn't see the pace of Casey [Stoner] and [Jorge] Lorenzo, but I think we are fast and really consistent so I think we can do a really good race," Dovizioso said. "We improve a little bit too far because all the section, all the weekend, I was so slow. I'm happy with the work of the team and we improve but not to fast pace, but third position... so I think we can fight tomorrow."Dovi knocked teammate Dani Pedrosa (1:21.655) back to the second row, which he shared with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies and Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi.In the waning seconds of the session Rossi moved up to the second row and dropped Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden to the third row. Next to him are Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards and Laguna Seca first-timer Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini).Roger Lee Hayden qualified 17th in place of the injured Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda.

Results:

1 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:20.978

2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:21.169

3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:21.617

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:21.655

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:21.679

6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:21.688

7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:21.920

8. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:22.217

9. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:22.300

10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1: 22.366

11. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:22.407

12. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:22.647

13. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:22.712

14. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:22.770

15. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:23.127

16. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:23.226

17. Roger Lee Hayden (Honda) 1:23.764

MotoGP Headlines

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.

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