Stoner clinches 12th and final pole of the season for Repsol Honda
Casey Stoner took his 12th pole of the season in the final race of the 2011 World Championship in Valencia, with Dani Pedrosa in second place and Andrea Dovizioso, eighth.
This is Casey's fourth consecutive pole position at the Ricardo Tormo circuit and with it he equals Mick Doohan's record of 12 pole positions in a single season. With light rain appearing throughout the session, it was difficult for the riders to determine how wet and slippery the circuit was. Casey went to the top of the timing sheets early on in the session with team mate Dani Pedrosa just behind him in second.
After the brief rain showers disappeared, lap times once again started to improve and with under ten minutes of the session remaining, Casey on a fresh rear soft tyre recorded his fastest lap of 1'31.861 which remained unbeaten for the remainder of the session with Dani Pedrosa closely behind in second position with a 1'32.875 lap. Unfortunately, on his final lap of the session, Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso suffered an accident in turn four and finished in 8th position. He visited the circuit medical centre and was released without any serious injury, just a dislocated and heavily bruised left thumb.
"Of course I'm really happy with pole position today, I'm still hungry to win and get pole positions, after all this is why I line up to go racing, winning the Championship is the bonus at the end of the season, but I still try my best in every session and every race. I took some less risks yesterday in the wet as I didn't feel we were making any progress in the conditions. Today was also difficult, there was a little rain in all the sessions, this morning there were some wet patches on the track and it was hard to know where to push, then the same this afternoon with some rain on the track, you're never 100% sure how far you can push. We felt comfortable though and the feeling in the bike was pretty good, with a similar set up to the test we had here last year and we put in a good lap. Now we'll have to see what the weather does tomorrow and take it from there, but we remain confident."
"It was tricky out there because we had a little rain by the middle of the session, we were lucky because the track stayed dry and we were able to do one more practice on slick tyres. Casey was very fast and consistent. I'm happy with second position on the grid, it's a good place to start, but I'm not totally satisfied with the set up of the bike yet, we need to improve the front tonight with the mechanics. I want to have a good race tomorrow, it's the last one and in front on my fans, so I'll do my best to finish the season in the best way."
“It was a strange session, complicated by the wind and the difficult track conditions. Towards the end of the session the conditions improved and I was 4th and not pushing because I didn’t want to take too many risks, but then when the other riders began to improve their lap times I saw that I needed to push. Unfortunately at turn four I lost the front and crashed. It was my mistake as the tyre was cold and turn four is the first right turn. Thankfully I haven't broken anything, I dislocated my thumb and have heavy bruising, it is quite painful but I will have some treatment to reduce the pain. I didn’t have the perfect qualifying for the race. We are fighting for third position in the championship and starting from the third row is not ideal, but I will rest tonight and tomorrow start over and super determined. The weather is uncertain but we will be prepared for every condition."