MotoGP Catalunya Quali: Lorenzo On Pole, Despite Fight From Stoner and de Puniet


What Happens When It’s Another Pole for Lorenzo

9:02am EST — Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole for the Grand Prix of Cataluyna over a top five of Casey Stoner, Randy de Puniet, Dani Pedrosa, and Ben Spies.  While de Puniet led for much of the session and Stoner mounted a charge at the end, it would be Lorenzo’s victory in qualifying.  Spies had spent a good portion of the session languishing down in the mid-pack, but a last lap flyer gave him fifth starting position.  His Tech 3 Yahmaha teammate Colin Edwards just beat their third countryman Nicky Hayden to eleventh, as these two American seemed to struggle for pace in qualifying, though Edwards did spend some time int he top five.  Andrea Dovizioso will start sixth after spending much of the session second or third fastest.

In the morning practice, Lorenzo again led, with Pedrosa close behind on a final flying lap.  Stoner was third fastest, with de Puniet less than a tenth behind in third.  Aleix Espargaro was fifth fastest, having gained speed following Stoner near the end of the session.  Dovizioso, Simoncelli, Capirossi, Edwards, and Hayden rounded out the top ten.  At the very end was Valentino Rossi’s replacement, Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa, a full 3.9s off Lorenzo and 1.2s off fifteenth place fellow replacement rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, in for Hiroshi Aoyama, who was 1.3s off Melandri, putting the two replacement riders well over two and a half seconds off Lorenzo.

Fifteen minutes into the qualifying session and de Puniet seemed to have continued his speed form Silverstone and Assen, leading the riders with a fastest lap time of 1:43.013.  He was followed by Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, and Spies as the fastest five, though Stoner was less than a tenth slower than Spies in sixth.  de Puniet bettered his time, dropping in to the 1:42s, but still led the session ten minutes later.  With half the hour-long session left, the only position that had changed in the top five was Ston’ers having posted a faster lap than Spies and taking the fifth fastest position from him.

With over just twenty minutes left, a surprising Alvaro Bautista popped into fifth  position as countryman Espargaro also moved into seventh, the two Spaniards displacing Stoner and Spies, respectively. By twenty to go, Edwards had also made a move into fourth and displacing Pedrosa, finally showing some of the recent pace of his teammate and countryman Spies, who had been knocked down to ninth by that point.  Capirossi had also taken seventh from Espargaro, though both had slipped a position with Ewdards’ faster lap.  At the fifteen minute mark, the top ten were de Puniet, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Edwards, Bautista, Stoner, Capirossi, Espargaro, and Spies, with Hayden eleventh and the fastest ties of the day likely yet to come.

In his move towards the front, having surpassed Edwards, Pedrosa then took third from Lorenzo with a 1:42.213.  de Puniet’s earlier 1:42.600 still held the pole, with Dovizioso two and a half tenths slower in second.  All season, however, the Ducatis made flying runs with about five minutes to go, so a close eye on Stoner and Hayden was to be kept.  Ten minutes left, and the fastest five were still de Puniet, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, and Edwards, with Stoner seventh, Spies tenth, and Hayden eleventh.  At the back, the replacement riders Akiyoshi and Yoshikawa (for Aoyama and Rossi and fifteenth and sixteenth, respectively) were more than three seconds off de Puniet and a second off Melandri in fourteenth.

Edwards bettered his lap time, but remained fifth as Lorenzo took the top spot from de Puniet with a 1:42.427.  Hayden, meanwhile, had also moved up to sixth, with Spies just two hundredths behind in seventh as Stoner dropped to tenth with the times falling in the final five minutes of the session.  Simoncelli dropped a considerable anount from his lap time to move up to fourth, with Bautista in fifth.  Pedrosa was ninth with just under four to go and lap times dropping on the very hot Catalunyan circuit.  Stoner took pole away from Lorenzo by a hundredth, as the top ten were covered by only eight tenths of a second.  Lorenzo, however, re-took pole from the Australian, with only a minute left in the session.  Pedrosa moved up from ninth to fourth, and then third, as Dovizioso and de Puniet were knocked back to fourth and fifth, respectively, though de Puniet quickly took fourth from Dovi.  At the end, Lorenzo kept his pole and seeming championship dominance, with Stoner, de Puniet, Pedrosa, and a shocking last second lap from Spies, rounding out the top five starters for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Catalunya.

Qualifying Positions for the 2010 Catalunya Grand Prix:
1. Lorenzo 1:42.046
2. Stoner 1:42.410
3. de Puniet 1:42.512
4. Pedrosa 1:42.592
5. Spies 1:42.710
6. Dovizioso 1:42.866
7. Capirossi 1:42.903
8. Espargaro 1:42.931
9. Simoncelli 1:42.994
10. Bautista 1:43.025
11. Edwards 1:43.059
12. Hayden 1:43.068
13. Barbera 1:43.417
14. Melandri 1:43.621
15. Kallio 1:43.685
16. Akiyoshi 1:45.577
17. Yoshikawa 1:45.759

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