Results and summary of a thrilling qualifying practice session at Laguna Seca:
Jorge Lorenzo has snatched pole position for tomorrow's US GP at Laguna Seca after a thrilling qualifying battle that went right down to the wire. The Spaniard set a blistering pace from the moment the session started, posting his fastest lap of the weekend so far on just his 3rd lap out of the pits, before getting within two tenths of the pole record a couple of laps later. Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa followed the Factory Yamaha rider closely, Pedrosa quickly following Lorenzo into the 1'20s, posting a lap within 0.007 of Lorenzo's provisional pole time.
It was clear that the pole record would fall - set by Casey Stoner using qualifying tires on a Ducati in 2008 - but that moment would not come until the session had entered its final stages. Lorenzo was chipping away at his time, taking a couple of hundredths one lap before stepping up the pace again a lap later to cut just inside the lap record. Casey Stoner threatened to take pole position from Lorenzo every lap he was on the track, but kept running into traffic around the short Laguna Seca circuit. With 2 minutes to go he had his best shot, only running across Danilo Petrucci in the final corner, but still keeping enough of his advantage to cross the line seven hundredths quicker than Lorenzo. But the Spaniard was not done, and on his final flying lap he shadowed Stoner's time in the first half then put on a burst of speed in the second half to snatch pole right at the last gasp, and demote a frustrated Casey Stoner to 2nd on the grid.
Stoner's Repsol Honda teammate will start from 3rd, Dani Pedrosa's race pace very strong, but unable to find the extra pace to battle for pole in his qualifying runs. Pedrosa finished ahead of Ben Spies, the factory Yamaha man dropped to 4th, though lucky to escape from a very big crash at Turn 3 late in the session which shook the Texan up pretty badly. Spies leads a second row full of Yamahas, Cal Crutchlow qualifying ahead of Andrea Dovizioso to take 5th, leaving his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate in 6th. Alvaro Bautista heads up the third row, qualifying in 7th and the first man to be over a second slower than Lorenzo. The San Carlo Gresini man sits ahead of Ducati's Nicky Hayden, the American just losing out to Bautista at the end of the session, while LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl qualified in 9th at his first visit to the track. Valentino Rossi struggled to find any pace during qualifying, as he has previously, focusing instead on race pace and ending up nearly two seconds behind Lorenzo and starting from tenth, just ahead of the two Power Electronics Aspar Aprilias of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro.
The American wildcard rider Steve Rapp qualified just outside the 107% limit, but given the massive progress made by the bike - the Attack Kawasaki APR machine had not turned a wheel on track before FP1 on Friday - will be allowed to start from 22nd. Rapp has taken 3 seconds off his time in the three hours of practice the MotoGP riders have, but the gap to the next fastest CRT bike is still large, over two seconds. He has his work cut out on Sunday.
|11||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||1'22.886||2.332||0.342|
|Not qualified (Out 107%) 1'26.192|