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Stoner tops MotoGP grid at Mugello

 Stoner tops MotoGP grid at Mugello

Casey Stoner put in a blistering fast lap to grab pole position for the start of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM race at Mugello, his 27th pole position in the premier class. American Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli will join the Australian on the front row.

With uncertain weather conditions threatening, the MotoGP grid hurried to put down as many laps as possible and the Australian on the Repsol Honda set a new circuit record of 1’48.034 in the first half of the session, to qualify him almost half a second faster than Ben Spies. The American managed to qualify second on the grid with a time of 1’48.479 at only his second visit to the Tuscan circuit.

Spies edged out Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) by just 0.006s, who was unable to respond with a faster attempt as rain began in earnest in the last 25 minutes of the hour long qualifying.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) will start Sunday’s race from the head of the second row, after setting a time of 1'48.694, a 0.394s improvement over his best time set in FP1. The Italian was 0.062s quicker than Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who set an earlier lap record in FP3. The Spaniard’s qualifying time was 1'48.756, over half a second slower than his earlier best time. Completing the second row will be Colin Edwards on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, trailing Lorenzo by 0.218s.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) leads row three and is the last of the field within a second of the record breaking lap of Stoner. He is joined by last year's race winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and the first Ducati Team finisher in the bunch ridden by Nicky Hayden. The Kentucky Kid’s team mate Valentino Rossi finished the session in 12th.


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