Results and summary of a scintillating qualifying session for tomorrow's German MotoGP race:
Casey Stoner has taken his fourth pole of the year, winning a thrilling shootout with six other riders to take pole with his very last lap. Pole changed hands at least fifteen times in the last 10 minutes, and four times in the final 15 seconds, Stoner emerging as fastest on a soaking track.
The session had started inauspiciously for the Australian, Stoner's Repsol Honda cutting out and leaving him stranded with an electrical problem early on. Once back in the garage and out on his other bike, he was soon up to speed.
As the session entered its final 15 minutes, it looked like there would be home joy for the German fans. Stefan Bradl setting a blistering pace, grabbing provisional pole early. The LCR Honda man would be challenged by Nicky Hayden on the factory Ducati, the two men swapping fastest times as they lapped. As the final 5 minutes dawned, Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow got involved, with Dani Pedrosa not far behind. After the flag fell, the lead passed from rider to rider as each crossed the line, Crutchlow deposing Stoner, Pedrosa knocking off Crutchlow, Spies pushing Pedrosa aside, before Stoner seized control once again to finish top.
Stoner will start from pole, with the Factory Yamaha of Ben Spies the filling in a Repsol Honda front row sandwich, Dani Pedrosa ending in 3rd. Cal Crutchlow heads up the second row, just fractionally quicker than Jorge Lorenzo, with Stefan Bradl dropping to 6th. After a strong early start, Nicky Hayden was bumped down to 7th, just inside a second off the pace of Stoner, while Andrea Dovizioso took 8th ahead of Valentino Rossi. Aleix Espargaro put in a very strong performance to finish in 10th, not just first CRT bike but also ahead of the Honda RC213V of Alvaro Bautista and the Pramac Ducati of Hector Barbera, the conditions narrowing the gap between the CRTs and the factory prototypes.
After a soaking second day of practice, race day is forecast to be dry. But forecasts so far have proven to be notoriously unreliable here in Germany.
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