MONTMELO, SPAIN, JULY 3 - Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo took this third consecutive pole position as he attempts to win his third race in a row in Sunday's Catalunya Grand Prix.On a sweltering day when everyone was struggling for grip, the World Championship leader didn't move to the top of the order until just over nine minutes remaining. The fast lap lap held up until Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner, who'd been languishing on the fourth row, went to the top with a stunning lap of 1:42.410, a second faster than he'd gone all session, at the 3:26 remaining in the hour mark.Stoner's primacy held up for less than a minute when Lorenzo dropped him to second with a lap of 1:42.292. Lorenzo's next lap was even faster, a 1:42.046 that would earn him his third pole.

"You know, I'm happy with this pole position," Lorenzo said. "It's my third in a row and it's at home, so we must be happy."Anyway, the weather is so for me, for tomorrow it will be the hardest race of the year. We must be concentrated. We must be in physical perfect condition. And as for the tires, it's important, no? Before this practice we have quite clearly which tire we chose for the race, but now...we are not so clear, so we must decide for tomorrow."Having started the session slowly and spent much of it down the order, Stoner did well to hold onto second at a gap of .364 of a second. The team had gone in the wrong direction early on, but came back to more comfortable settings late in the session."In general, we feel quite happy with the race pace," he said. "We still gotta find a few tenths of a second where we'd feel a little more confident."This afternoon's session, yeah, I mean everyone was struggling for grip, but we just seemed to struggle a little bit more, but it's probably due to the fact that we didn't have the same set-up what we've been using and just couldn't get the bike working right."Neither set-up nor tires are what got Stoner's blood boiling in qualifying, it was his fellow riders. The Australian said that as he went today "to do my qualifying laps, been happening all weekend, there's just riders constantly waiting for a tow. It's just like being back in the 125 class. It's getting a little ridiculous now and people need to grow up and be a big boy and do things themselves. So, I mean, there's nothing wrong with getting a tow every now and then, but every lap we go around there's people waiting for you. And they don't just stay out of your way and then cut in behind you. They make sure they stuff you up on the lap that you're going quick on as well. So things are difficult out there and I wasn't able to do the best lap I thought I could do. But in the end we were definitely happy with the front row."LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet led most of the session en route to his third consecutive front row. The Frenchman was sponsored by Elf this weekend, his third main sponsor in three weeks, and he was happy to get them some publicity. More than that, he wanted to break his spell of sixth place finishes-he's had three in a row-and get his best result of the year."I really wanted the pole position, but these two guys were too fast for me, one more time," de Puniet said. "But anyway I have a good pace with the race tire. I was fast in the beginning. To be on the first row for the third time is good, because I use three different sponsors in the last three races. Is good for the sponsor."Anyway, tomorrow I think I can do my best results since the beginning of the year. Of course, it will be so, so difficult because the temperature is very high. But I'm fit and I'm ready to fight for tomorrow."Repsol Hondas were on both ends of row two with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies in between. Dani Pedrosa was a disappointed fourth in his home Grand OPrix, while Dovizioso continued a season without a front row appearance. Spies jumped from 11th to fifth with his final lap.Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi led off row three from Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing Ducati) and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli.The final two Americans were back on row four behind 10th fastest Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki). Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards, who was as high as fourth, and Hayden, who was sixth earlier on, now face a tough fight at the start of Sunday's seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Results:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:42.046

2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:42.410

3. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:42.512

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:42.592

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:42.710

6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:42.866

7. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:42.903

8. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:42.931

9. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:42.994

10. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:43.025

11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:43.089

12. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:43.068

MotoGP Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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