Results of qualifying practice for MotoGP at Laguna Seca:
Jorge Lorenzo has taken a stunning pole at Laguna Seca, scorching to a lap of 1'21.202 in the final seconds of qualifying to consolidate his position at the top of the timesheets and holding off a late challenge from the Repsol Hondas of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. But though Stoner and Pedrosa were a tenth of a second off Lorenzo's pole time, the closeness of the final minutes belies the dominance which the factory Yamaha rider displayed from the first minutes onwards: Lorenzo was into the 1'21s on just his third flying lap after the start of the session, going on to post a string of 1'21s in his first two runs almost effortlessly, a pace that neither Pedrosa nor Stoner could match consistently.
Casey Stoner starts from 2nd, after a last-gasp attempt saw him claw his way up from the second row to sit beside Lorenzo, while Pedrosa finshed in 3rd. Of the two Repsol Hondas, Pedrosa has the better race pace, almost matching Lorenzo, but only for a few laps. Stoner's race pace is much worse, the Australian still struggling with grip issues and unable to find a direction for setup. Ben Spies heads up the second row tomorrow, and could have been even further forward had it not been for a crash with 5 minutes left to go. Spies was sitting in pole at the time and on a fast lap, but he ran out of front-end grip and slid out with too little time to get back to the pits and take another shot.
Marco Simoncelli will start from 5th on the grid, after winning a session-long battle with Andrea Dovizioso by just 0.035 seconds, leaving the third Repsol Honda man sitting on the end of the second row. Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, matched his best qualifying of the season, and will head up the third row of the grid to start from 7th. Rossi's race pace, however, is less encouraging, posting times in the low 1'23s, nearly a second and a half off the time of Lorenzo. Hector Barbera sits in 8th, just ahead of the other Marlboro Ducati of Nicky Hayden. Hayden is sticking with the old GP11 for this weekend, in the hope of securing a better result at his home race, while Rossi is now concentrating on the new GP11.1 for the foreseeable future. Cal Crutchlow rounds out the top 10, finishing just ahead of his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards.
|15||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'22.961||1.759||0.024|