Lorenzo wins battle for Mugello pole The fans at Mugello were treated to a great battle in qualifying on Saturday afternoon with Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo upstaging his team-mate Valentino Rossi on the World Champion’s home track, with the Spaniard taking pole and the Italian off the front row.
In brilliant sunshine at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice four riders fought for pole right at the death with Lorenzo eventually emerging on top, courtesy of a 1’48.987 time on the 29th of his 30 laps, beating Casey Stoner by a tight margin (0.021s).
Ducati star Stoner will be satisfied to have placed himself on the front row and given his practice performances should be in contention for victory on Sunday.
Just behind Stoner on the grid will be his former team-mate Loris Capirossi who surged to provisional pole in the final minutes on his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R before eventually ending up third.
Rossi, therefore, sits in the unfamiliar territory of the second row at a circuit where he has won the last seven MotoGP races and he will nonetheless expect to be in the podium fight once again on Sunday. It will be his first non-front row start at Mugello in MotoGP.
An excellent showing from the much improved Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) saw him qualify as the top Honda representative, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards just behind him by a 0.048s fraction.
Repsol Honda’s factory Honda pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa will be disappointed to have qualified on the third row, meanwhile. An off-color Pedrosa spent much of the session towards the bottom of the timesheet and he will need one of his trademark strong starts in Sunday’s race in order to get amongst the front-runners and stay in touch in the title race.
Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) took a tumble when on a fast lap at the end of the practice and had to settle for ninth place, with fellow Honda rider Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing) completing the top ten.
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