MotoGP Philip Island Quali Results & Report: Stoner on Pole at Home as Rain Ends Session Early

What Happens When Pole Makes a Good Birthday Present

12:02am EST — Casey Stoner ended qualifying for the 2010 Australian Grand Prix having won pole on his twenty-fifth birthday at his home race, with rain falling to end the session early.  Jorge Lorenzo qualified second, followed by Ben Spies, who had led much of the middle of the session, Marco Simoncelli, and Colin Edwards as the top five.  Nicky Hayden ended his session a bit earlier that everyone else, falling on the greasy track just before the rain began to fall earnestly.  He qualified sixth, nonetheless, with Randy de Puniet just beating out Valentino Rossi to start seventh.  Dani Pedrosa retruned for his first race after breaking his collarbone to qualify fifteenth.

Qualifying at Philip Island was a sunny but cold affair, after Friday’s practice session was delayed two hour by rain, with the track only somewhat dried out by the end of the session.  Lorenzo was fastest in the wet, followed by Stoner, Hayden, Simoncelli, and Melandri as the fastest five.  Rossi was seventh fastest while neither Spies nor the just-returned and still-recovering Pedrosa did not post time fast enough to be within 107% of Lorenzo’s 1:41.146 time.  In the second, dry in the sky/damp on the track, session Saturday morning, Stoner was fastest (with a 1:31.243), with Edwards, Spies, Lorenzo, and Hayden as the fastest five.  Rossi was eighth fastest, with his setup not quite working.  Melandri and de Puniet had falls, but neither were injured, though Melandri was forced onto his second bike.

Aleix Espargaro was the first out, but it was Stoner with the early lead and a time of 1:31.653 just a few minutes into the session.  The early times, within the first fifteen minutes, kept changing and dropping, with Stoner, Rossi, Hayden, Spies, Edwards, Lorenzo, de Puniet, Simoncelli, Melandri, and Espargaro the top ten and forty-five minutes to go.  Less than five minutes later had Lorenzo up to second fastest with Spies on top (1:31.387), then Stoner dropped Lorenzo down to third, Rossi fourth, and Hayden fifth.  The Hondas were not faring nearly so well as the Yamahas or Ducatis, with injured Pedrosa thirteenth fastest and Dovizioso seventeenth, then fifteenth in the same time frame.  Simoncelli moved himself up a position, displacing Hayden from fifth fastest.  Dovi was on the move as well, going eleventh fastest just before Stoner took provisional pole back from Spies by nearly four tenths and setting the first time in the 1:30s range of the weekend.  de Puniet also moved Hayden back, taking sixth from the American.

At the halfway point of qualifying, Stoner led Spies, Lorenzo, Rossi, Simoncelli, de Puniet, Hayden, Edwards, Dovizioso, and Melandri as the top ten, with Pedrosa still fourteenth fastest as many of the riders returned to the garage.  He moved up to twelfth after Espargaro displaced Melandri for tenth.  With twenty minutes left, Spies had improved his time, but only by a thousandth and not enough to take pole back from Stoner.  Edwards had jumped up to fifth with the third American, Hayden, down to ninth fastest.  Rossi also improved his time with thirteen minutes left, but remained fourth fastest.

Lorenzo took pole from Stoner with eleven minutes left, by two tenths with a 1:30.775 while de Puniet took fourth from Rossi and Hayden seventh from Edwards, then fifth from Rossi.  The top ten were Stoner (1:30.281), Lorenzo, Spies, de Puniet, Rossi, Edwards, Simocelli, Dovizioso, and Espargaro with nine minutes left.  It was a fight between the Americans as Edwards took fourth from Hayden soon thereafter, as it appeared to begin raining again as clouds covered the circuit and the temperature dropped.  With five minutes left, Hayden was down from fifth on the slippery track.  Stoner bettered his own time to a 1:30.107 while Simoncelli went right up to fourth with just two minutes left in qualifying and the rain actually began falling, leading everyone to the garages and ending the session with Stoner on pole.

Provisional Starting Grid for the 2010 Australian Grand Prix:
1. Stoner 1:30.107
2. Lorenzo 1:30.775
3. Spies 1:31.386
4. Simoncelli 1:31.402
5. Edwards 1:31.415
6. Hayden 1:31.530
7. de Puniet 1:31.554
8. Rossi 1:31.627
9. Dovizioso 1:32.018
10. Melandri 1:32.367
11. Espargaro 1:32.542
12. Kallio 1:32.816
13. Aoyama 1:33.190
14. Bautista 1:33.224
15. Pedrosa 1:33.384
16. Barbera 1:33.390
17. Capirossi 1:34.269


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