Casey Takes Commanding Qatar Pole
Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa had the first duel of the season during the qualifying session, with an intense battle for the pole position of the MotoGP grid. The Repsol riders finished in the top two places of the grid, with the Australian more than eight tenths ahead of the third placed, Lorenzo. The third Repsol Honda Team rider, Andrea Dovizioso, was seventh.
As it happened the previous days, the impulsive Stoner soon set a time below 1 minute 55 seconds, always with his team mate Dani Pedrosa nearby. Although Ben Spies took him by surprise at the beginning, by midsession the Spaniard had not only recovered the second place, but he had also taken the lead, 83 thousandths ahead of Stoner.
But it was not long before the Australian reduced the fastest time even more – 383 thousandths – and, five minutes before the end, they both had a red helmet in the time displays, as they were improving their registers. The Australian set a time of 1 minute, 54 seconds and 137 thousandths, while Pedrosa finished just 205 thousandths away of his team mate, securing a place in the first row of the grid.
From the first position of the third row will start Andrea Dovizioso, who after 25 laps set a fastest time of 1 minute, 55 seconds and 229 thousandths, a little more than a second behind Stoner’s time. The Italian of the Repsol Honda Team kept suffering the same vibration problems that plagued him in the previous days. He tried to recovered the earlier set-up of his bike, but that delayed him more than he expected. However, Dovizioso hopes to be tomorrow in the fight for podium positions.
With the qualifying session over, everything’s ready for the first race of the year, that will start tomorrow at 22:00 h (local time, 20:00h in Europe).
“We can’t ask for a much better weekend, everything has gone well and the team have made all the right steps and gradually improved the bike as the weekend progressed. Tonight I was able to achieve good, consistent lap times again on the hard tyre and this is important for the race tomorrow. As ever, we will keep our feet on the ground as we’ve had good starts to seasons in the past and then they haven’t played out as expected, we just need to keep working and ensure that we continue to progress. We’ve done all our homework and the best job possible, now I just want to get the season started”.