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Stoner takes pole number nine to end 2008 qualifying action

Stoner takes pole number nine to end 2008 qualifying action

2007 World Champion records the nineteenth pole position of his MotoGP career in Valencia.

Casey Stoner had the last word in MotoGP qualifying for the 2008 season with his ninth pole position of the year, setting a 1´31.502 lap of the Valencia circuit that proved too hot to handle for his premier class rivals.

The session saw the Ducati rider put his qualifying rubber to expert use for a nineteenth MotoGP top spot. Riding on dry asphalt for the first time this weekend, Stoner upped his pace before putting down his fastest lap with time to spare.

2007 Valencia poleman and racewinner Dani Pedrosa was just 0.053 short of his rival´s marker, at the track where he and Stoner did battle throughout their time in various classes and championships. The Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana will be the second consecutive race in which Pedrosa will start from the front row, the ninth time this season.

Top of every previous session this weekend, Nicky Hayden was unable to take the pole position that has eluded him over the course of the season. The Repsol Honda rider was just over a tenth of a second slower than current teammate Pedrosa, with future garage counterpart Stoner the first to knock him off the top spot. Hayden completes the front row for his last race with Honda before moving to Ducati on Monday, and put it all on the line as he slipped and skidded around the Valencia track in qualifying.

Tech 3 Yamaha had a positive session that almost ascended the heights of their season-opener in Qatar, with both of their riders on the second line. Colin Edwards heads the row, with James Toseland alongside him in fifth. The latter had one of his attempts at pole halted by Marco Melandri, whose apologies for baulking the Briton fell on deaf ears.

Randy de Puniet completes row two, coming back from a crash in the session, whilst the third row consists of home rider Jorge Lorenzo, Suzuki man Loris Capirossi and Andrea Dovizioso. 2008 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi could only place tenth onboard the Fiat Yamaha M1, his worst qualifying result this year when fully fit.


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