Thumbs-up from #46 Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi as he successfully wins the pole for Sunday's Red Bull Indianapolis GP
The thousands of race fans getting their first taste of MotoGP action in Indianapolis will be treated to a star studded front row on Sunday, with World Championship leader Valentino Rossi lining up alongside reigning titlist Casey Stoner.
Rossi ended Stoner’s attempts at an eighth consecutive pole position with a stunning 1´40.776 lap of the IMS circuit, less than a tenth of a second faster than his title rival. It is the Fiat Yamaha man’s second top spot of the season, and a perfect placing from which to try and extent his own streak –that of three successive race victories.
All eyes will be on the MotoGP World Championship’s top two as they do battle from the front row for the seventh time this year, although there is not much separating the duo from the rest of the field at the newest circuit on the calendar. Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo qualified on the first line with his own late lap.
As a result of Lorenzo’s last minute heroics, local hero Nicky Hayden was relegated to fourth place on the grid, at the head of the second row and in a position to put himself in the fight for a homecoming victory. The Repsol Honda rider is accompanied by fellow American and Rizla Suzuki wildcard Ben Spies, with the newly crowned three-time AMA Superbike champion making his presence felt at his home track with some speedy qualifying laps.
Randy de Puniet rounds off row two, the highest placing Honda satellite rider onboard the LCR RC212V. Both the Frenchman and JiR Team Scot’s Andrea Dovizioso took their customer bikes round in times only slightly faster than factory rider Dani Pedrosa, in the Spaniard’s first extensive encounter with Bridgestone qualifying tires.
Despite a crash on his own Bridgestone qualifying rubber, Toni Elias was still able to place at the tail end of row three, whilst there was a lowside tumble for Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen at turn six midway through the session. Weather at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was sunny and the track dry, in sharp contrast to Friday but perhaps not exactly what the riders will experience when they hear the famous command of `Gentlemen, start your engines´.
1 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 1'40.776 2 C. STONER AUS Ducati Team + 0.084 3 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 0.401 4 N. HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team + 0.495 5 B. SPIES USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 0.688 6 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 0.716 7 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 0.968 8 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 0.978 9 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 1.110 10 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 1.121 11 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 1.158 12 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1.193 13 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1.529 14 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 1.629 15 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1.775 16 J. HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team + 1.897 17 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1.956 18 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Team + 3.031 19 A. WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team + 3.155
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