US MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo thrilled with Laguna Seca pole

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MotoGP world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo said he was thrilled to have notched his fifth successive premier class pole position at Laguna Seca.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, who holds a commanding 47-point lead over Dani Pedrosa going into the 32-lap race, clocked a brilliant best lap of 1.20.978 to secure the 40th pole position of his career.

The 23-year-old denied Casey Stoner his 20th MotoGP pole position by just 0.191s as the pair continued their domination of the American MotoGP weekend.

Stoner was quickest in yesterday’s opening practice but Lorenzo was in brilliant form today, the Spaniard topping second practice before continuing his qualifying domination.

The double world 250GP champion said: “This was maybe the toughest pole position I got all year because the lap time of Casey was impressive.

"But I knew that second place was almost sure so I just thought I’d try because it is important to start in first position for tomorrow. I made two impressive laps, very close to the fast lap in 2008 that Casey made with the qualifying tyre, so I’m very proud of these two last laps. I also have a great pace for the race with the soft and the hard tyre.”

Lorenzo, who has yet to finish outside the top two all season and is seeking a sixth win of a fantastic campaign, refused to be drawn on whether he expected a repeat of the epic 2008 American MotoGP clash between Stoner and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo, who has only dropped 15 of the 200-points up for grabs in 2010 so far, added: “I don’t know. The other guys are very close to us. It seems that Casey is strong here and we are almost at the same pace so for sure the start will be important and to keep a high pace for the whole race.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt