Stoner lords Aragon GP qualifying

Australian takes pole ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for first top position since opening MotoGP in Qatar.

    Former champion Stoner said he hoped to be back to his best on race day [AFP]

    Australia's Casey Stoner grabbed pole position for the first time since the opening race of the season as he squeezed Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa off the front of the grid at the Aragon MotoGP in Spain.

    The Ducati rider was the only competitor to break the 1min 49sec barrier, edging championship leader Lorenzo by 0.309sec and the in-form Pedrosa by 0.401sec.

    It will be the 20th time in his career that Stoner starts from pole in MotoGP, but the first time since the Qatar MotoGP in April.

    "I've had a difficult season with lots of crashes and I hope to be back fighting with the very best tomorrow," said Stoner, the 2007 world champion.

    Honda's Pedrosa, who shone in Friday's first free-practice session, topped the time-sheet for three quarters of Saturday's qualifying session before Stoner dislodged him with an initial time of 1:49.525.

    Pedrosa resumed control 10 minutes from the end with a 1:49.343 lap, only for the Australian to get ahead of him again with a time of 1:48.942.

    Yamaha's Lorenzo nipped in to take second place after Pedrosa miscued while braking on his final lap.

    Stoner's Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden took fourth place ahead of Yamaha's Ben Spies and Frenchman Randy de Puniet on a Honda.

    Six-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will start from seventh place for Yamaha.

    With six races of the 2010 season remaining, Lorenzo leads fellow Spaniard Pedrosa by 63 points at the top of the championship standings.

    SOURCE: AFP


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