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
|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|