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Rain hands first pole to Simoncelli

Rain hands first pole to Simoncelli

Rain hands first pole to Simoncelli

Marco Simoncelli will start from pole position for the first time in his career on Sunday after a rain-hit final qualifying session prevented any of the riders from improving on their provisional times. Brief and intermittent showers punctuated by warm and bright sunshine throughout the day left the circuit in varying degrees of dampness in the space of a single session and it was championship leader Andrea Dovizioso who made the most of the mixed conditions, clocking the fastest lap of the session in a time of 1'49.408.

Roberto Locatelli and Casey Stoner, who contested victory with Dovizioso in the first round of season at Welkom, were both on the young Italian's trail again today, setting the second and fourth fastest time respectively in the drying conditions. Stoner, who also lapped quickly in the wet, will start tomorrow's race from third place on the grid behind Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista, with Pablo Nieto completing the front row.

If it rains again tomorrow as predicted, both Stoner and Bautista, who had his best ever finish of fourth place in the last wet race at Phillip Island last year and lapped sixth fastest today, will be worth watching whilst experienced veterans Steve Jenkner and Mirko Giansanti were also quick today and will fancy their chances if they get a good start from the third row. Dovizioso starts from the second row in fifth, ahead of Roberto Locatelli, Youichi Ui and Mika Kallio.


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