Valencia MotoGP: Casey Stoner romps to ninth pole position

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Casey Stoner extended his incredible qualifying record in Valencia today, the Aussie notching his ninth pole position to deny home favourite Dani Pedrosa.

The 23-year-old equalled the season record for the number of pole positions with a best time of 1.31.502 as the factory Ducati rider shrugged off yet more niggling pain from his damaged left wrist.

Stoner’s best time was good enough to survive a late attack from factory Honda rider Pedrosa as he looks to end 2008 with his sixth win of the campaign.

Reflecting on another dominant qualifying performance, Stoner said: “There was a little but of rain in the middle of the session and I was trying to get a decent set-up because it looks like it is going to be dry tomorrow. This was our only chance to get a decent race setting and the first couple of exits it was a bit of a disaster. 

"I couldn’t get the bike feeling very good and every small change I made was going in the wrong direction. We finally got the bike feeling a bit more balanced and I was able to do some good times on race tyres.

"I did some reasonable laps on the qualifiers but I still think I could have gone a little bit quicker. But I’m happy given the way conditions were. It is great to be on pole again and our race set-up now is looking good.

"We put a qualifier in early in case it rained but I prefer to start further back on the grid and make my way through with a decent race set-up than have no race set-up but a good qualifying position.

"I stayed out on race tyres to get a bit more set-up time and it looked like I’d made the wrong decision because I went out on one exit with race tyres and there were quite a few spots of rain coming down and that would have been game over for me.

"The track was dry enough on the qualifiers but we kind of got lucky today. But looking at it another way we timed it well going on the qualifiers when we did.”

Assessing his wrist injury which hampered him so severely in Sepang last weekend, Stoner added: “It seems this track isn't as demanding on my wrist as Sepang was because there aren't as many hard braking areas, although I went out without strapping today and that didn't turn out to be the best decision. We'll strap it up tomorrow but I don't think it will be a problem.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt