Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo scorched his Fiat Yamaha to his first pole position of the year at Jerez today, and held off desperate attempts by his rivals to dethrone him in the closing minutes of qualifying.
With five minutes remaining in the 45-minute session Lorenzo already headed the time charts with a lap in 1m 38.933s. Close rivals Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda),
Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Marlboro Ducati) all set out to shave time from Lorenzo’s mark, but none of them succeeded.
Pedrosa missed by just 0.051s, but Stoner was 0.482s back in third place. Reigning champion Rossi will have to start from the second row, after lapping in 1m 39.642s, 0.709s off his team-mate’s pace.
“Our big fairing doesn’t help in windy conditions like we had today, but we’re happy to be on the front row,” Stoner said.
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Loris Capirossi (Marlboro Ducati) will line up alongside Lorenzo on the second row.
James Toseland continues to suffer a frustrating time on his Tech 3 Yamaha, and his best lap was a 1m 40.670s effort, 1.737s slower than Lorenzo, and good only for the fourth row.
1. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 1min 38.933 sec
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 38.984 sec
3. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 39.415 sec
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 1min 39.642 sec
5. Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 1min 39.806 sec
6. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 39.862 sec
7. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1min 39.926 sec
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 1min 39.966 sec
9. Toni Elias SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1min 40.113 sec
10. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 40.185 sec
11. Marco Melandri ITA Hayate Racing Team 1min 40.381 sec
12. Sete Gibernau SPA Grupo Francisco Hernando 1min 40.440 sec
13. Yuki Takahashi JPN Scot Racing Team MotoGP 1min 40.599 sec
14. James Toseland GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1min 40.670 sec
15. Alex de Angelis RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 1min 40.796 sec
16. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 40.953 sec
17. Mika Kallio FIN Pramac Racing 1min 41.238 sec
18. Niccolo Canepa ITA Pramac Racing 1min 41.253 sec