MotoGP Qatar Quali: Stoner Sets Early Time That Can’t Be Beat, Even As Rossi and Lorenzo Try

What Happens When a Fit Stoner is a Hard Man to Catch

1:00am EST — Casey Stoner set a fast early time that simply could not be beaten, though it looked as though Valentino Rossi just might at the end of the qualifying session.  He did not and will start second for the season opener under the lights at Qatar.  Still recovering from an off-season motocross accident, Jorge Lorenzo will start third, with Randy de Puniet making a surprise move to complete the front row.  Loris Capirossi continued Suzuki’s bettered pace from 2009, qualifying fifth, with the factory Hondas of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa barely ahead of the satellite Yamaha of Colin Edwards in eighth.  Fellow American (and Stoner’s teammate) Nicky Hayden will start ninth with highest-ranked MotoGP rookie Hiroshi Aoyama (the final 250 champion) rounding out the top ten.

Both Marco Simonchelli and Mika Kallio had offs during the very early part of the session, but suffered no major injuries.  Neither did Alvaro Bautista, who crashed late in the session.  2009 WSBK champion Ben Spies will start in eleventh, three postions behind teammate Edwards and two behind Hayden, his fellow Americans.

Starting Grid for the MotoGP Qatar GP (courtesy of the official MotoGP website):
Position, Number, Rider, Manufacturer, Time, Gap
1. 27 Casey STONER, DUCATI, 1:55.007
2. 46 Valentino ROSSI, YAMAHA, 1:55.362 +0.355
3. 99 Jorge LORENZO, YAMAHA, 1:55.520 +0.513
4. 14 Randy DE PUNIET, HONDA, 1:55.831 +0.824
5. 65 Loris CAPIROSSI, SUZUKI, 1:55.899 +0.892
6. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO, HONDA, 1:55.963 +0.956
7. 26 Dani PEDROSA, HONDA, 1:55.990 +0.983
8. 5 Colin EDWARDS, YAMAHA, 1:56.005 +0.998
9. 69 Nicky HAYDEN, DUCATI, 1:56.163 +1.156
10. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA, HONDA, 1:56.227 +1.220
11. 11 Ben SPIES, YAMAHA, 1:56.271 +1.264
12. 36 Mika KALLIO, DUCATI, 1:56.283 +1.276
13. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA, SUZUKI, 1:56.450 +1.443
14. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO, DUCATI, 1:56.652 +1.645
15. 58 Marco SIMONCELLI, HONDA, 1:56.957 +1.950
16. 40 Hector BARBERA, DUCATI, 1:57.130 +2.123
17. 33 Marco MELANDRI, HONDA, 1:57.325 +2.318


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