Valencia MotoGP: Casey Stoner on pole for Ducati farewell

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Casey Stoner will start his last race for Ducati from pole position after he denied home favourite Jorge Lorenzo in qualifying at the Valencia circuit this afternoon.

The Aussie claimed his fourth pole position of 2010 with a stunning fastest lap of 1.31.799 to leave Lorenzo in second place, the Spaniard a further 0.331s adrift.

Stoner had already secured pole position with a lap of 1.31.866 when he went faster on a fantastic final lap to ensure only Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli were within half-a-second of his pace.

Stoner will now be desperate to avoid a repeat of his embarrassing blunder at Valencia 12 months ago when he crashed exiting the second corner on the warm-up lap and failed to start the race.

Lorenzo has only missed the front row once all season and his proud record never looked in doubt as he led for long spells in the session. He posted a best of 1.32.130 in preparation for his bid for a ninth victory in tomorrow’s 30-lap race.

Completing the front row is Simoncelli on the San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V machine. Having scored his best result of fourth in Estoril last weekend, the resurgent Italian posted a 1.32.244 to finish just 0.114s behind Lorenzo.

His previous best qualifying result was fourth in last month’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island and it is only the second time all season he's qualified in the top six.

A late attack spared Valentino Rossi’s blushes as his tough final weekend with Yamaha continued. Unable to break into the top six in practice, the nine-times world champion was languishing outside of the top ten in the final stages before he climbed to eighth on his penultimate lap.

A best of 1.32.330 on his final lap gave him a fighting chance of a podium on his final YZR-M1 appearance tomorrow as he elevated himself into fourth.

American duo Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies will have an exciting tussle to claim sixth overall in the world championship. They are tied on 163-points but Hayden took the spoils in qualifying, a lap of 1.32.422 putting him fifth and just 0.144s clear of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Spies.

Spies set a best time of 1.32.566 to finish 0.767s off Stoner’s blistering pace.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt