French MotoGP, Le Mans 14-15 May
Sunday 15 May: 125cc and Moto2 race: 0950-1205, Red Button/online. MotoGP live: 1230-1400, BBC Two/online, MotoGP Extra: 1400-1430, BBC Red Button/online
Casey Stoner continued to dominate in Le Mans as the Repsol Honda rider secured pole for the French MotoGP.
Stoner, who broke the track record in the practice sessions, pipped Marco Simoncelli by 0.06 secs with Andrea Dovizioso completing the front row.
But Yamaha’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for fifth, one place ahead of Britan’s Cal Crutchlow.
With Dani Pedrosa also on the second row, six-time champion Valentino Rossi had to settle for ninth in qualifying.
While Lorenzo and Ducati’s Rossi had the Pyrrhic victories of being the fastest riders for their bike manufacturer, the pace of Honda, who secured the top four positions, will be a huge concern.
Although Spaniard Lorenzo leads the standings by four points from Pedrosa with Stoner a further 20 back in third, he was more than half a second behind Stoner’s pole-setting lap of one minute 33.153 seconds.
And reigning champion Lorenzo was only 0.1 secs ahead of British rookie Crutchlow, the Monster Yamaha rider out-qualifying team-mate Colin Edwards.
With Edwards seventh, the top 10 was completed by Ben Spies in eighth and Rossi’s Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden 10th.
Stoner’s pole – his third of the season – came on the day that organisers for the French MotoGP announced a new five-year deal, Le Mans having already hosted the event for the past 10 years.
French MotoGP qualifying:
1. Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 1 min 33.153 secs
2. Marco Simoncelli (Italy) Honda 1:33.212
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Honda 1:33.621
4. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1:33.683
5. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1:33.706
6. Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 1:33.804
7. Colin Edwards (U.S.) Yamaha 1:34.063
8. Ben Spies (U.S.) Yamaha 1:34.206
9. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati 1:34.206
10. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Ducati 1:34.277
1 Stefan Bradl (Ger) Kalex 1min 38.357secs
2 Thomas Luthi (Swi) Suter 1:38.402
3 Yuki Takahashi (Jpn) Moriwaki 1:38.540
4 Aleix Espargaro (Spa) Pons Kalex 1:38.560
5 Scott Redding (Gbr)
1 Nicolas Terol (Spain) Aprilia 1 min 43.578 secs
2 Hector Faubel (Spain) Aprilia 1:43.967
3 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Aprilia 1:44.315
4 Sandro Cortese (Germany) Aprilia 1:44.355
5 Jonas Folger (Germany) Aprilia 1:44.497
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