Mugello Qualifying: Casey Takes 5th Pole Of The Season

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As it happened yesterday, the weather had his part again today in the second day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix. The other protagonist of the day was Casey Stoner, who set the fastest time of the weekend in the official qualifying session few minutes before it started raining. His team mates at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa, will start from the second and third row, respectively, after setting the fourth and eighth fastest times.

The day started again with sun and high temperatures, although it did not take long before the clouds arrived. Nevertheless, the last free practice session was held on a dry track and with a temperature over 30ºC. Casey Stoner was third, 654 thousandths behind Jorge Lorenzo, with Dovizioso in sixth position and Pedrosa twelfth.

When the all-important qualifying session started, the high probability of rain, which was falling lightly since the 125cc session, caused that all riders took the track determined to set their fastest times as soon as possible, as it was more than likely that the rain would intensify. Despite the uncertainty about the track conditions, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso soon improved the times set in the morning.

After the morning session, Stoner made some changes in his second bike, that immediately proved effective and, after showing a great pace on used tyres, set a time of 1 minute, 48 seconds and 034 thousandths. It was after 9 laps and just before it started to rain heavily and no rider was able to improve the times. 660 thousandths behind the Australian finished Andrea Dovizioso, who will lead the second row of tomorrow’s starting grid.

Dani Pedrosa also started the qualifying with a strong pace, looking for the best possible position and, in the first part of the session, he took the seventh place. The Repsol rider improved steadily and was finally able to ride almost a second faster than in the free sessions. His effort and outstanding performance today allowed him to take a position in the third row of the starting grid, despite not being in full physical form.

Casey Stoner

FP3 – 1:48.734, 17 laps, 89 km.
QP – 1:48.034, 13 laps, 68 km.

“After the two sessions yesterday and also in FP3 this morning, we weren’t too happy with the set up we had, so we were looking to utilise all of this afternoon’s session. However, we made some changes to my second bike, which I made my fastest lap on and we’ve come out with a fantastic bike.
I’m really happy to get pole here especially on a used tyre, the start of qualifying didn’t look too good, there was some rain and it was difficult to know how much to push so we went with soft tyres on front and rear to try and get a good lap time before the rain arrived.
Once I was on track I realised the rain hadn’t affected conditions so much, so I came back in and made a change on the second bike and went back out with a hard front which gave us a little more stability and we managed to go a lot faster. The way the surface is working and everything in general is perfect, even with difficult conditions, we made the right choices at the right time”.