Aragon MotoGP: Casey Stoner claims brilliant pole

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Casey Stoner stormed to his first pole position since the opening race of 2010 in Qatar with a stunning lap of the state-of-art Motorland Aragon track this afternoon.

Just over 90 seconds of the session remained when Stoner produced his decisive lap of 1.48.942 to claim his first pole in 12 races.

The factory Ducati rider had first moved to the top of the standings with five minutes left on the clock with a lap of 1.49.329.

He was able to shave a further 0.4s off that time with his quickest lap to secure the 20th pole position of his MotoGP career by a comfortable 0.309s from Fiat Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo’s best of 1.49.251 had got him as close as 0.099s to Stoner with just over two minutes remaining.

But the Spaniard had to settle for second spot, though he maintained his record of having never missed the front row in 13 races so far in 2010.

He hasn’t claimed a pole position though now for four races but he was able to edge out title rival Dani Pedrosa by 0.092s.

Pedrosa looked destined to claim his fifth pole position of the season on board his factory Honda RC212V machine.

On his final lap, he was 0.215s faster than Stoner through the first two splits when he ran off track.

He was still able to claim third with Stoner’s Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden in fourth.

The American clocked a best time of 1.49.506 to finish 0.564s behind Stoner.
Ben Spies once again finished top rookie and top non-factory rider with a fastest time of 1.49.565 securing him fifth on the grid for the second successive race.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was only 0.059s behind fellow American Hayden with LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet finishing sixth.

The Frenchman was 0.387s behind Spies but managed to beat reigning world champion Valentino Rossi.

The 31-year-old had to settle for a disappointing seventh place on the grid for tomorrow’s 23-lap race. He could only log a best time of 1.50.017 as he missed the second row of the grid for the second time in the last three races.

He was only 0.065s behind de Puniet but was 1.075s adrift of Stoner. In the six races since he returned to action from the broken leg he suffered in Mugello in early June, the nine-times world champion has yet to claim a front row start.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt