Stoner takes pole in wet at Donington
Casey Stoner will start the bwin.com British Grand Prix from pole position, after an amazing qualifying performance.
|Casey Stoner takes pole in the rain|
As the rain continued to fall on Donington Park, Casey Stoner performed the MotoGP equivalent of walking on water in the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. The Ducati Marlboro rider was unstoppable in an amazing hour-long demonstration of 800cc riding en route to his second consecutive pole position of the year, continually lowering his times right up to the final moment.
Stoner eventually settled on a 1´38.232 lap as his ultimate offer, some six tenths of a second ahead of nearest rival Valentino Rossi. After dominating in the dry on Friday, the reigning World Champion has proved that he is ready for any eventuality when the lights go out on Sunday. Rossi, however, is the current series leader, and a rider who has also proved his worth at Donington Park in previous years.
Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen makes his maiden appearance of the season on the front row at the bwin.com British Grand Prix, aiming for a repeat of his 2007 podium, his presence on the front line also marks the first time this year that Bridgestone have taken all three top spots for a MotoGP race.
Leading the Michelin charge –and making it four different manufacturers in the top four grid spots- Nicky Hayden continued his upturn in fortunes since receiving the pneumatic valve engine from Honda. The factory rider had been told that he could only use the motor on the condition of a top four placing, and the 2006 World Champion once again upheld his part of the bargain, albeit a full second slower than Stoner.
Last year’s poleman Colin Edwards was the fastest satellite rider onboard the Tech3 Yamaha M1, whilst JiR Team Scot’s Andrea Dovizioso joins him on row two. The third line features Anthony West –so impressive on his 800cc debut at Donington last year and riding for his future- and Rizla Suzuki replacement rider Ben Spies ahead of Dani Pedrosa, currently second in the World Championship.
Whilst West came close to a falling when tussling with Dovizioso, home rider James Toseland was the only rider to take a tumble when pushing for an improvement for his Donington race return. Toseland's rock group `Crash!´ may have wowed the crowds at yesterday’s Riders for Health event, but on Saturday afternoon the ensemble’s moniker was anything but welcome; two falls at the end of the session frustrating the Englishman and leaving him sixteenth on the grid.
||Alex de Angelis
||Randy de Puniet