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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stoner smashes Silverstone record


Casey Stoner launched his Repsol Honda to pole position for the AirAsia British Grand Prix with a record breaking lap time on Saturday, ahead of Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).

Under darkening skies, Stoner outran the competition to pole position in a spellbinding MotoGP qualifying session, setting a new lap record of 2:02.020, over a second faster than last year's pole position record set by Lorenzo at the then brand new track. Simoncelli ran a close second with a qualifying time of 2:02.208, with Lorenzo in third, 0.029s behind the Italian.

"We got quite lucky with pole today," Stoner admitted. "We tried a couple of things with the bike to get more edge grip, and in qualifying we changed the front a bit. I pushed during my qualifying lap, I lost the front a few times, two of those moments were more than I like to push, so I'm glad I made it through and held pole."

Simoncelli leapt to the top of the timesheet at the start of the session, followed by Lorenzo at the 30-minute mark with a lap 1.5s faster than his best practice time, then by Stoner, who set a time of 2:02.442, and again by Simoncelli who took the lead with a lap of 2:02.389, only to have Stoner set an unstoppable lap that sent him to the front of the field.

The rest of the field set far faster times than those of the previous day, with Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) heading the second row for the AirAsia British Grand Prix race with a time of 2:02.677, over a second faster than his best practice time, followed by Stoner's team mate Andrea Dovizioso in fifth with a time of 2:03.212. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing), who had a crash in the morning session, finished qualifying in sixth, putting his Ducati in the last spot on the second row, with a time of 2:04.151.

Nicky Hayden will start in seventh position 0.153s behind Abraham, followed by Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who continued to improve his times while still recovering from a broken collarbone. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) qualified ninth, 0.012s behind Edwards, and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) completed the top 10 times with a 2:04.589.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) finished the qualifying session down in 13th, behind Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) in 11th and Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) in 12th. The Italian has struggled all weekend to find a set up for the GP11 while simultaneously learning his way around the track after missing last year's race due to injury.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was enjoying a good weekend until a crash after completing just two laps resulted in a broken collarbone and concussion. Toni Elías also crashed in the first half of the session.

Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) will start the AirAsia British Grand Prix Moto2 race from pole position, with Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) starting second and Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) starting from third.

Moto2 qualifying began under dark skies and blustery wind, with Márquez again leading the timings from early in the session, setting a new circuit Moto2 record with a time of 2:08.101. Championship leader Bradl pushed hard in the last five minutes to challenge Márquez for the pole, sliding into corners around his second to last lap, but ended the session in third with a time of 2:08.618, behind the Suter bike of Redding in second.

Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) will head the front row for the first time when the AirAsia British Grand Prix 125cc race takes place on Sunday, ahead of Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) in second and Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) in third.

Spanish riders Terol and Viñales battled for pole position in a windy 125cc qualifying practice at the Silverstone circuit, with 16 year-old Viñales grabbing the top spot with three minutes to go, with a time of 2:14.684. Terol, who finished fourth at Silverstone last year, was 0.036s behind the rookie Viñales and will start the race from second position.

MotoGP Qualifying Results
1. Casey STONER (AUS) Repsol Honda Team / Honda 2:02.020 
2. Marco SIMONCELLI (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini / Honda 2:02.208
3. Jorge LORENZO (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha 2:02.237
4. Ben SPIES (USA) Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha 2:02.677
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (ITA) Repsol Honda Team / Honda 2:03.212
6. Karel ABRAHAM (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing / Ducati 2:04.151
7. Nicky HAYDEN (USA) Ducati Team / Ducati 2:04.304
8. Colin EDWARDS (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / Yamaha 2:04.508
9. Alvaro BAUTISTA (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / Suzuki 2:04.520
10. Randy DE PUNIET (FRA) Pramac Racing Team / Ducati 2:04.589
11. Hiroshi AOYAMA (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini / Honda 2:04.919
12. Hector BARBERA (SPA) Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP / Ducati 2:05.164
13. Valentino ROSSI (ITA) Ducati Team / Ducati 2:05.781
14. Toni ELIAS (SPA) LCR Honda MotoGP / Honda 2:05.862
15. Loris CAPIROSSI (ITA) Pramac Racing Team / Ducati 2:06.256
16. Cal CRUTCHLOW (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / Yamaha 2:07.911


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