Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In-form Pedrosa claims first pole of season

Spanish Honda rider Dani Pedrosa clinched his first pole position of the season with the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's Czech Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old, who had dominated both free practice sessions on Friday, clocked 1min 56.591sec to edge out Yamaha's defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo of Spain by 0.113sec.

Pedrosa's Honda teammate Casey Stoner of Australia, the world championship leader, came in third after topping the last free practice on Saturday morning on a wet track that had dried by the qualifying session.

Pedrosa's performance comes on the back of winning the German Grand Prix last month, completing a stunning comeback after he broke his right collarbone in the French race in May which saw him miss three races and ruin his chances of winning the world title.

"It's my first pole of the year and also after a long time, so I'm very happy for that. The weekend has been pretty good for us so far, the bike is working well and I'm feeling good physically as well," said Pedrosa.

"Let's hope we are able to keep the pace tomorrow and fight for a good result," added the Spaniard who is fourth in the championship.

Lorenzo, trailing Stoner by 20 points in the second place overall, was also happy with his performance.

"Yesterday things weren?t like we expected, but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable. The pace in the last laps was quite good, so we?re happy," he said.

"Tomorrow we aim for the podium, or if possible, to win the race," added Lorenzo, who won at Brno last year.

Stoner, who has won five out of ten races this season, including the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on July 24, blamed the rain that prevented him from testing his Honda properly on Saturday morning.

"Also, the session didn't start too well with a fast crash in turn three which lost us some time and obviously dented my confidence a little," he said.

"I felt qualifying could have been better, we almost lapped with the same time on old and new tyres but in general we have a lot of work to do.

"We're obviously happy with front row, but we're not really where we want to be with the bike and there is still a lot of work to do," said Stoner.

US rider Ben Spies of Yamaha came in fourth ahead of Italy's Marco Simoncelli on a Honda and another Valentino Rossi on a Ducati, who has won five MotoGP races in Brno.

The slippery morning practice turned the Brno trip into a nightmare for John Hopkins, a US superbike rider hired by the Rizla Suzuki team just for this race.

Hopkins crashed and broke a finger, which ruled him out of the qualifying session.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow and Czech Karel Abraham both crashed in the qualifying practice.

In Moto2, Spain's Marc Marquez on a Suter claimed pole position in 2min 02.493sec ahead of championship leader Stefan Bradl of Germany on a Kalex and Italy's Alex De Angelis on a Motobi.

The 125cc championship leader, Nicolas Terol of Spain on an Aprilia, secured the front post on the grid in 2min 08.118sec, ahead of France's Johann Zarco on a Derbi and German rider Sandro Cortese on an Aprilia.

Source: http://www.zimbio.com/MotoGP/articles/7Y3gcWECkck/form+Pedrosa+claims+first+pole+season

Bob Bowman Jerry Jones Roger Penske Chase Carey Jeff Gordon

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