French GP: Ducati qualifying report

FRONT ROW FOR STONER AT LE MANS, TOUGH SESSION FOR MELANDRI Casey Stoner was involved in a three-way battle for pole position at Le Mans this afternoon, with a trio of riders dipping under the 1'33 mark at the legendary French circuit to lock...

FRONT ROW FOR STONER AT LE MANS, TOUGH SESSION FOR MELANDRI

Casey Stoner was involved in a three-way battle for pole position at Le Mans this afternoon, with a trio of riders dipping under the 1'33 mark at the legendary French circuit to lock out the front row of the grid.

The reigning World Champion has found a good race set-up for his Ducati at this track and today he converted that pace to a qualifying tyre, setting a stunning final lap to make a late challenge for the front spot on the grid.

However, the flip side of the coin for the team this weekend has been that Marco Melandri has been unable to pick up from the progress he made at the last round in China and he struggled again today, giving him another uphill task in tomorrow's race from 17th on the grid.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3rd fastest: 1'32.994

"First of all I want to say congratulations to Pedrosa for a great lap. Myself and Dani go back a long way and he's been riding phenomenally well this season so he deserves to be on pole. Having said that, I think I should have been there instead today! Basically I made a mistake towards the end of my best lap and I think it cost me pole position, so I have to accept responsibility for that. The team have done a great job to get the bike working around this circuit on race tyres and we've been fast all weekend. Bridgestone have also been working hard on their qualifying tyres and they gave us something really good today so it was a shame we couldn't translate that into another pole for them. Anyway, from my point of view the qualifying position is not important so long as we're in touch and a front row start gives us a good chance. The most important thing is that we're in good shape in race trim and if it stays dry tomorrow then we could be in for a good battle. Pedrosa and Edwards look like they will be on the pace and you always have to expect Valentino to join in too so hopefully the weather stays dry for the fans and we get a good race and a good result."

MARCO MELANDRI - (Ducati Marlboro Team) 17th fastest: 1'35.081

"Unfortunately here at Le Mans we've been unable to progress as we'd hoped because the layout of this track highlights the weak points in the set-up of my bike. In China, where the majority of braking is done with the bike upright, we found a satisfactory setting but here, where you have to tip the bike in under braking, I can't get any feel for the rear and I can't go fast. I'm having to go in early and that is making the corners longer. Unfortunately I think it's going to be a tough race for us tomorrow."

-credit: ducati.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner