Results and summary of the qualifying practice session for the MotoGP class at Le Mans:
Dani Pedrosa has snatched pole in the final minutes of a fascinating QP session, which saw a tight contest for the front three rows go down to the wire. This is Pedrosa's first pole of the season, and his first since Sepang last year.
The session started on a wet track, the rain having started to fall around lunchtime before stopping during qualifying for Moto3. Everyone went out early to get some time on rain tires, but the track started to dry fast enough that practice on rain rubber was only serving to destroy the limited sets which they have.
The action hotted up once the track started to dry, and from the halfway mark to 15 minutes to go, provisional pole was swapping several times a minute. Casey Stoner appeared to have the pole safely wrapped up, but he was challenged first by Andrea Dovizioso, and then with 2 minutes to go, Pedrosa posting a scorching lap to go top. The final few moments of qualifying were made even more interesting by the first few spots of rain starting to fall, and that and the traffic meant that neither Stoner nor Factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo could improve their times to challenge Pedrosa
Stoner was left in 2nd, behind his Repsol Honda teammate, but after dominating free practice, that should not trouble the Australian too much. In the final spot on the front row was Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian having an astounding weekend, and unlucky not to go even better after a technical problem foiled his final run at qualifying. Jorge Lorenzo heads up an all-Yamaha second row of the grid, the 2010 World Champion unlucky with traffic and the weather, but still a little way off the pace of the Repsol Hondas. Cal Crutchlow was forced to settle for 5th, though the gap between him and teammate Dovizioso in 3rd is small, and the gap to polesitter Pedrosa ist just over half a second. Ben Spies rounds out the second row, his 6th fastest time over a second off Pedrosa's pole lap.
Valentino Rossi heads up the third row, his 7th position the factory Ducati rider's best qualifying result of the year, though the gap to pole is over one and a quarter seconds. Besides Rossi sits Alvaro Bautista, the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider losing out after a crash in the second, while Hector Barbera rounds out the third row in 9th.
Karel Abraham took the 10th fastest time and sits at the head of the 4th row, ahead of Nicky Hayden, who had been fast early in the session, and Randy de Puniet, the Power Electronics Aspar rider qualifying ahead of the final factory prototype of Stefan Bradl, though the LCR Honda man was hampered by a painful leg and hip he suffered in a massive highside which happened while the track was still drying.
|12||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||1'35.694||2.056||0.403|