Estoril MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo takes Portugal pole

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Jorge Lorenzo romped to his fifth pole position of the season in Estoril today.
The Spaniard, who won his first ever MotoGP race at the Estoril circuit in 2008, produced a brilliant qualifying performance to claim his first pole position since the American GP in Laguna Seca in early July.
A best lap of 1.36.214 set with just over a minute remaining secured Lorenzo pole position, with late attacks from Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa all failing to overhaul the 22-year-old’s best.
The Fiat Yamaha rider had been in control for much of the session after Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa had led the way in the early stages.
Lorenzo first moved to the top of the timesheets with 18 minutes of the session remaining when he logged a best time of 1.36.583. Less than ten minutes remained and his advantage was a healthy 0.344s, with Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi unable to overhaul the double world 250GP champion to claim his fifth pole position in the last six races.
Rossi settled for second as he looks to increase his 30-point seres lead over Lorenzo in tomorrow’s 28-lap race.
The 30-year-old Italian posted a best time of 1.36.474 to finish 0.260s adrift of Lorenzo.
That was 0.054s clear of Aussie Stoner, who had threatened to pull off a dream return to action by claiming his first pole since the opening race of the season in Qatar.
The 23-year-old, who had missed the last three races, steered his Ducati GP9 to third place with a best time of 1.36.528. That was only 0.314s slower than Lorenzo and it was good enough to secure his first front row start since the Sachsenring in July.
Pedrosa’s best of 1.36.702 missed the front row by just 0.174s with Texan Colin Edwards again impressing on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine.
Edwards, who earned a new contract with Tech 3 for 2010 earlier this week, was the last rider to lap inside of a second of Lorenzo with a best lap of 1.37.142.
British rider James Toseland faces another tough race after he could only qualify his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 in 12th position.
The 28-year-old, who will move to Yamaha’s WSB team next year, clocked a quickest time of 1.37.823 to miss out on the top ten by under 0.2s.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt