Casey Stoner’s fastest lap was more than a second faster than last year’s record set by Jorge Lorenzo.
Aussie Casey Stoner sent his Repsol Honda to a new record at the Silverstone circuit Saturday. The 25-year-old smashed the previous lap record set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, beating the defending champion’s time by more than a second to take pole position for Sunday’s race in Great Britain.
“Everything has gone really well this weekend, we were lucky it stayed dry for qualifying but it doesn’t look so good for tomorrow,” said Stoner. “We’ve been competitive in each session and in various weather so I hope we have prepared ourselves for the race tomorrow, whatever the conditions.”
San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli joined Stoner is breaking the previous record while taking second on the timesheets 0.188 seconds off the pace. Lorenzo, who also surpassed his previous record, will start from third on the grid after trailing Simoncelli by just 0.029 seconds.
“I am very happy because tomorrow we will start from the first row and today we got a lot closer to the Hondas,” Lorenzo said. “I rode at a very high level today and I’m ready and focused for the race. I will do my best to make a good start tomorrow and fight for the front.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “At this moment our weapon is consistency. You try many things some days and some days you find a solution like today. I don’t know if it is enough to fight for victory but we will give our best.”
Overall lap times were much faster during qualifying than previous sessions. Yamaha’s Ben Spies will start from the second row after improving his pace by more than three seconds from Friday’s practice session. Italian Andrea Dovizioso also saw tremendous improvement in qualifying, running a second faster than his best practice time to claim fifth in the charts. Despite crashing and having to get checked out by the medical crew, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham will start from the second row after taking sixth in the order.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden put his GP11 on the third row with his time of 2’04.304. Joining Hayden on the third row is fellow American Colin Edwards. The Texas Tornado is still overcoming the effects of a broken collarbone he suffered at Le Mans, yet still managed to post a decent performance in his first qualifying session since the incident. Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista was just 0.012 seconds behind Edwards, and Frenchman Randy de Puniet rounded out the top-10 times more than 2.5 seconds adrift of Stoner.
Some of the main disappointments of the day came from Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. The Italian has struggled the entire weekend finding a setup for his GP11 and has also been learning the track since he wasn’t able to compete at the revised circuit last year. He finished down in 13th and more than 3.7 seconds off the pace.
“It’s been a very difficult day—actually, a very difficult weekend,” Rossi said. “We were a long way off Friday, but in a way it was understandable since I didn’t know the track. Today, though, I had hoped to do much better, but we only lowered our time by one second, while the others cut two. The gap is considerable, and we’re even having trouble compared to the other Ducatis, so evidently we haven’t managed to work well at this track.”
Meanwhile Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow suffered a fall during the first two laps and sustained a broken collarbone along with a concussion.
MotoGP Silverstone Qualifying Results 2011:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2’02.020
Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow broke his collarbone and sustained a concussion after crashing during qualifying at Silverstone.
2. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 2’02.208
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’02.237
4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2’02.677
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 2’03.212
6. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 2’04.151
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’04.304
8. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 2’04.508
9. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 2’04.520
10. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 2’04.589
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 2’04.919
12. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2’05.164
13. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2’05.781
14. Toni Elias (Honda) 2’05.862
15. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2’06.256
16. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’07.911