Lorenzo on pole at washed-out Estoril

Lorenzo on pole at washed-out Estoril

The heavens opened once again at Estoril as Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions were due to get underway for the penultimate round of the MotoGP Championship. Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team. Photo by Yamaha Motor...

The heavens opened once again at Estoril as Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions were due to get underway for the penultimate round of the MotoGP Championship.

Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team.
Photo by Yamaha Motor Racing.

Race officials decided to abandon all qualifying sessions today, meaning that combined practice times now determine the grid for tomorrow's race. Newly-crowned 2010 Champion Jorge Lorenzo heads the grid as he targets his third win in a row at the Portuguese track.

Friday's morning session was also a washout with practice able to get underway in the afternoon. The situation was similar today, only reversed.

Riders were allowed on track this morning but with the conditions worsening by the minute and only a handful of half decent times were posted. Lorenzo heads the grid despite highsiding his YZR-M1 this morning.

Factory Ducati team mates Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden both crashed before Lorenzo, and both were highsides also. Stoner walked away unhurt but Hayden was limping after his crash.

Stoner and Hayden did return to the track and the Kentucky Kid got his head down and now starts tomorrow's race in second while the Aussie will start in fourth behind Valentino Rossi.

"I know it's not great for the fans here and the people watching at home but with that amount of water on track it wasn't worth the risk this afternoon," said Hayden. "Of course we accept risks every day in our sport but in these conditions it's just too much. It was a shame it washed out but for me a front row's a front row and now we have to try and take advantage of it."

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda Team.
Photo by Red Bull GmbH and GEPA pictures GmbH.

HRC factory riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso lie in 12th and 7th respectively, Pedrosa is hoping to start tomorrow's race after abandoning the start of the Australian GP at Philip Island two weeks ago.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies grabbed fifth spot while Marco Melandri, Randy de Puniet, Colin Edwards and Marco Simoncelli round out the top ten.

Speaking to motogp.com, Lorenzo agreed with the decision to cancel qualifying. "It's just too bad with the wind and the water on the track, so I think it better to cancel the session. It's good for us because we have our seventh pole of the season! It may be one of the easiest, but I'm very happy and we'll see what the weather offers us tomorrow."

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