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Simoncelli scores first MotoGP pole

Speedcafe.com

Sunday 5th June, 2011 - 9:14am

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Marco Simoncelli : San Carlo Honda Gresini Team

Marco Simoncelli has scored his first career pole position in MotoGP, putting his San Carlo Honda Gresini Team machine on the front row at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya alongside Australia’s Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).

Simoncelli shot into the surprise pole position in the last 30 seconds of qualifying, pulling out a fast lap of 1:42.413 in front of Stoner, who had otherwise dominated the entire qualifying session. Stoner, who holds both the best pole position time and the fastest lap at the Montmelo track, qualified just 0.016-of-a-second behind the Italian.

“I didn’t expect (to be quickest) because Stoner was fast for all the session, but in the last part of qualifying we found a good set-up. I’m happy and confident for tomorrow,” said Simoncelli.

“It’s the best way after the incident in the last race – I’m happy.”

Ben Spies was in top form, just missing out on a front-row start by a margin of 0.014-of-a-second, having held second in the timings with three minutes remaining. Spies will head the second row, in front of Repsol Honda rival Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).

The Ducati Team duo head up the third row, with Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) ahead of Nicky Hayden for the first time this weekend, followed by Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), who finished fifth here last year and won the 250 race in 2009.

Completing the top ten in the session were Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) in ninth position followed by Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini), who ran off the track earlier and was not able to better his best qualifying position of the season of tenth. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) had an early crash at the start of the session, and rejoined the session after a medical check to finish in 15th.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will not be participating in this round due to injuries.

QUALIFYING: Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1:42.413
2 Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.016
3 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 0.315
4 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 0.329
5 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.336
6 Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.789
7 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.810
8 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team Ducati 0.815
9 Alvaro Bautista SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1.034
10 Hector Barbera SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 1.243
11 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1.321
12 Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1.351
13 Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1.655
14 Toni Elias SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 2.097
15 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 3.248
Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha No Time

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