Stoner dominates in Sachsenring for fourth consecutive pole2008-07-12 08:56
Casey Stoner completed his dominance of the practice timesheets at Sachsenring with his fourth consecutive pole position, setting a new record along the way. The reigning MotoGP World Champion –chasing his third victory in a row- set the fastest time ever recorded at the track with a 1´21.067 lap of the German circuit. Stoner had previously gone round lower than the existing record using race tyres on Friday.
Stoner had done enough to confirm his place at the head of the grid with over fifteen minutes remaining in the qualifying session, but further left his mark with an audacious final hot lap that lowered his time by nearly three-tenths of a second. Last year he suffered from a tyre problem that ruled him out of the running for victory, but it appears that it will take something special to defeat the Australian on Sunday afternoon.
Many riders looked to be in a position to push the Ducati Marlboro rider when the qualifying rubber was fitted, although none were able to match his pace on the final section of the tight Sachsenring circuit. The closest to doing so was World Championship leader and 2007 racewinner Dani Pedrosa, some 0.353 down on Stoner´s time. The Repsol Honda rider had experienced problems with his first selection of qualifying tyres, and several late laps saw Pedrosa falling short with his attempts at a second pole position of the season.
Back on the front row after four races away, Tech 3 Yamaha´s Colin Edwards emerged from the hour-long session as the third quickest rider. The `Texan Tornado´ was just under a tenth of a second from Pedrosa, and was the fastest Yamaha rider once again with the satellite M1.
Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo will start from the same row on the grid for the first time since their arrival in the premier class, having battled at Sachsenring in the 250cc category in the past. The final spot on the second line went to LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet.
Fiat Yamaha rider and World Championship challenger Valentino Rossi heads the third row, unable to find the second necessary to join up with the frontliners. Nicky Hayden and Shinya Nakano line up alongside the Italian.
Marco Simoncelli shed nearly half a second from his Friday provisional pole time to confirm the top spot for the 250cc Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Metis Gilera man broke the pole position record for the Sachsenring circuit with an amazing lap, stopping the clock at 1´23.953. In doing so he became the first 250cc rider ever to breach the 1´24 mark at the German track.
Over six-tenths of a second was the difference between Simoncelli´s time and that of second placed rider Julian Simon, with the Repsol KTM Spaniard moving up to the front row with his Saturday afternoon performance. Simon´s attempts at taking pole position were hit by a crash late in the session.
Hector Barbera maintained a spot on the front line for the quarter-litre race, with clear track in front of him for a fifth consecutive Grand Prix. The Team Toth Aprilia rider left it late to improve upon his Friday hot lap, which would have also been enough for a front row start.
In the final seconds of the qualifying run, World Championship leader Mika Kallio was bowled off-track by Ratthapark Wilairot. The Thai rider lost grip when Kallio was passing him on the outside, catching the back of the Finn´s Red Bull KTM bike and sending him into the gravel. Kallio had already confirmed his fourth place on the front row at the time of the incident.
Alvaro Bautista will start from outside the top four for the first time this season, although he will be content to have moved up from a provisional eleventh on the grid. The Spaniard was the winner of the most recent Grand Prix at Assen.
Alex Debon, Fabrizio Lai and Roberto Locatelli complete the second row, under a second slower than Simoncelli and showing that a tough, tight race can be expected when the lights go out on Sunday.
Breaking his Friday provisional pole time with just five minutes to go in the second 125cc qualifying session, Gabor Talmacsi took his first top spot of the year for the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Hungarian cut just under a tenth of a second off his previous best, holding off a challenge from three-time poleman in 2008 Bradley Smith.
Polaris World rider Smith continued to chip away at Talmacsi´s marker, but was unable to better it and settled for second place on the front row rather than risking another late qualifying crash. He is joined on a first line unchanged from that of Friday afternoon. Home rider Stefan Bradl and world title contender Simone Corsi join the top two on the first line for the Sachsenring showdown.
Belson Derbi´s Joan Olive heads the second line as he takes another shot at his first World Championship victory, joined by series leader Mike di Meglio, Tomoyoshi Koyama and Raffaele de Rosa. Olive´s teammate, Pol Espargaro, suffered a high speed lowside approaching the fast downhill section of the track, although did not aggravate his collarbone injury.
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