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Stoner secures maiden pole at Losail

Stoner secures maiden pole at Losail

Stoner secures maiden pole at Losail

With the return of intense heat to the Losail Circuit, it was left to Casey Stoner to provide the novelty factor in Qatar. The Honda rookie took pole for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, becoming the second youngest pole-setter behind Freddie Spencer. Stoner clocked a time of 1'55.683, having topped both morning sessions.

Last year's pole man and current series leader Loris Capirossi was close behind the young Australian, as he looks to repeat his Jerez win tomorrow in the desert.

A late surge from Toni Elias put the Spaniard on the front row, as he continues a run of fine form. The official Honda riders will be one row back from Elias, Nicky Hayden fourth and Dani Pedrosa, who suffered a crash at the end of free practice, came in fifth.

World Champion Valentino Rossi will be off the front row for the second successive Grand Prix, having qualified in sixth. The Yamahas had appeared to have made steps forward in the battle with the chattering problem, but with both he and Colin Edwards not in the top three again, seperated by Sete Gibernau on the grid, it could be that not all has been resolved.

Another rider battling with chatter in Losail was Shinya Nakano, who nonetheless managed to ride his Kawasaki inside the top ten qualifiers, who are completed by yesterday's fastest rider Kenny Roberts Jr.

Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Casey Stoner - LCR Honda 1'55.683
2. Loris Capirossi - Ducati Marlboro 1'55.721
3. Toni Elías - Fortuna Honda 1'55.735
4. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 1'55.793
5. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 1'56.008
6. Valentino Rossi - Camel Yamaha 1'56.076
7. Sete Gibernau - Ducati Marlboro 1'56.177
8. Colin Edwards - Camel Yamaha 1'56.230
9. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing 1'56.237
10. Kenny Roberts jr. - Team Roberts 1'56.272


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