Stoner takes Valencia pole

Sat, 05 Nov 13:59:00 2011

World champion Casey Stoner equalled Mick Doohan's record of 12 pole positions in a single season as he dominated qualifying for the MotoGP season finale at Valencia.

Honda MotoGP rider Casey Stoner of Australia drives his motocycle during the first free practice of the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste - 0

Stoner was at the head of the order throughout the session, which took place on a dry track as the rain that shook up 125cc qualifyng held off. The Australian was able to extend his advantage whenever he was threatened, and eventually put in a 1m31.861s to pull out a massive 1.014-second margin over his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa in second.

Randy de Puniet nearly got his Pramac Ducati onto the front row, but was usurped from third by Yamaha's Ben Spies in the end - leaving de Puniet to be content with a season-best fourth place.

Alvaro Bautista underlined Suzuki's recent improvements in fifth, ahead of the works Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.

While Stoner and Pedrosa filled the top two places, third works Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso struggled - crashing heavily at Turn 4 on his final lap as he ended up eighth.

Hector Barbera recovered from early mechanical problems on his Aspar Ducati to qualify 10th, with Karel Abraham completing the top 10 for Cardion AB Ducati.

Loris Capirossi (Pramac) will start his final MotoGP race from 12th, while Colin Edwards' Tech 3 stand-in Josh Hayes was slowest in his first MotoGP qualifying session, but only just behind Yamaha factory rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who is substituting for the injured Jorge Lorenzo.

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