Further medical checks will be required on Sunday for poleman Jorge Lorenzo after a dramatic qualifying session at Laguna Seca, which ended with the Spaniard being stretchered away having set the pole position time - a 1’21.678 hot lap.
Fiat Yamaha’s former 250cc World Champion Lorenzo was unaffected by a lowside crash on the fourth corner with 20 minutes to go, jumping on his second M1 to grab pole for Sunday’s race, before a massive highside crash saw him taken away from trackside and straight to the medical centre. Initial tests showed a partially dislocated right shoulder and a bruised right foot, but Lorenzo will not be passed fit to ride, or ruled out of action, until Sunday morning.
Second fastest qualifier Valentino Rossi stood alone in parc fermé, having lapped 0.167s behind Lorenzo, with third fastest rider Casey Stoner also crashing heavily on turn three in the final minutes. Stoner appeared to be walking unaided, albeit unsteadily, after the session and is said to be ok to race.
The second row for Sunday’s eighth MotoGP contest of 2009 will be an all Honda affair, with factory pair Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso qualifying fourth and fifth respectively, in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elías – all three less than half a second down on Lorenzo.
MotoGP’s American representatives Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) will be joined on row three by Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki), who like Hayden has a good record at Laguna.
The top ten qualifiers list was completed by Vermeulen’s veteran teammate Loris Capirossi.