MotoGP Silverstone Quali: Lorenzo on Pole, but de Puniet Close Behind in Britain, as Pedrodsa Crashes at the End


What Happens When Even Track Days Can Be Very Helpful

10:02am EST — Jorge Lorenzo narrowly grabbed pole for the 2010 British Grand Prix from a surprisingly quick Randy de Puniet, who will start second, in the final four minutes of qualifying.  Dani Pedrosa, who was fastest for much of the weekend, will start third with teammate Andrea Dovizioso qualifying four tenths slower for fourth.  Nicky Hayden out-qualified his own teammate Stoner, having gained some mastery over the temperamental factory Ducati, to start fifth with Stoner sixth.  Similarly, rookie Ben Spies outshone his own Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards, with the pair starting seventh and tenth, respectively.  Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli round out the top ten starters in eighth and ninth.  Pedrosa had a spill in the closing moments of the session, with repairs of the forks and chassis due before the warm-up and race on Sunday.  He was stretchered away with what looked to be some form of injury or pain in his right leg, though he was conscious.  de Puniet also fell on his final lap but walked away and appeared unhurt.

Pedrosa continued to lead much of the weekend in the second practice Saturday morning, leading de Puniet, Lorenzo, Stoner, and Dovizioso as the fastest five.  Multiple riders had off-track excursions and crashes, as bad as Hector Barbera’s Ducati engine continuing to run while laying in the gravel.  Dovizioso, Spies, and Simonchelli also went down, though none were seriously injured, causing a sigh of relief after Valentino Rossi’s highside and resultant broken leg two weeks ago at Mugello.  The champion and, it seems, heart-blood of the MotoGP paddock will recover, but the Fiat Yamaha team has left his position open for this race and the next and speculation runs rampant over who will take his ride beginning at Barcelona until the Italian can return.

Ten minutes into the qualifying session and Pedrosa led Spies, Stoner, Melandri, and de Puniet as the top five.  Twenty minutes later, with the field’s times dropping, Pedrosa still had the fastest times, with de Puniet, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Melandri, Stoner, Spies, Hayden, Barbera, and Simoncelli the top ten.  With twenty-five minutes left in the session, Stoner had made his way to the top of the timesheets, with Pedrosa just behind and Lorenzo in third. 

The final fifteen minutes of qualifying was not so spirited as qualifying can be, with Lorenzo leading, then de Puniet making use of the trackday he signed up for previously to post the fastest time of the session.  With ten minutes left, the top ten was led by de Puniet, then Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Stoner, Melandri, Hayden, Spies, Simoncelli, and Espargaro.  Lorenzo improved his time, but was unable to beat de Puniet’s 2:03.434 on the long Silverstone circuit. With less than five minutes left, Spies had moved up to sixth and around Hayden and Melandri for starting positions.  Otherwise, the order remained the same.  Lorenzo posted a quicker time to move into the pole position with time for another hot lap, beating de Puniet by .126s.  Hayden also moved up, to fourth fastest and around his teammate Stoner, who was, at that point, sixths fastest.  Pedrosa, third fastest, had bettered his own time, but had not beaten the riders ahead of him on the timesheets.  Lorenzo’s time stuck with the falls of Pedrosa and de Puniet, giving him pole for the 2010 British Grand Prix, and MotoGP’s return to Silverstone.

Final Times from Qualifying for the 2010 British GP:
1. Lorenzo 2:03.308
2. de Puniet 2:03.434
3. Pedrosa 2:03.586
4. Dovizioso 2:03.995
5. Hayden 2:04.332
6. Stoner 2:04.394
7. Spies 2:04.477
8. Melandri 2:04.555
9. Simoncelli 2:04.868
10. Edwards 2:05.035
11. Barbera 2:05.354
12. Aoyama 2:05.712
13. Espargaro 2:05.748
14. Capirossi 2:05.821
15. Bautista 2:06.607
16. Kallio 2:06.980

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