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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stoner secures Jerez pole

MotoGP leader Casey Stoner kept up his blistering early season form when he stormed to pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix.
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The Australian Repsol Honda rider, winner of the season-opener in Qatar last month, lapped the Jerez circuit with a best time of one minute and 38.757 seconds, 0.158 quicker than Spanish team mate Dani Pedrosa in second place.
World champion Jorge Lorenzo completed the front row for Sunday's race, in an exact repeat of the line-up in Qatar, with the third quickest time on his Yamaha and just 0.003 slower than compatriot Pedrosa.
Stoner, whose only previous podium place at Jerez came in 2009, ran off the track on his final qualifying lap and said all the riders had been struggling for grip under the overcast skies in Andalusia, where there is a threat of rain for the race.
"I was trying to go for another lap and made a small mistake on the brakes and nearly ran into the wall," the 2007 world champion said in a television interview after securing his 28th career pole.
"For sure this is not my best track," added the 25-year-old, who raced for Ducati last year and has now been on pole for three races in a row, including last season's finale in Valencia. "But we're feeling ready for the race tomorrow."
Seven-times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, the most successful rider ever at the Jerez circuit with six premier class victories, slid his Ducati off early in qualifying and could only manage 12th on the grid.
The Italian is still struggling from a shoulder injury that hampered his pre-season testing as he prepares for his second race with Ducati following his switch from Yamaha.

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