Casey Stoner romped to the top of the timing sheets today at the final round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship for the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.
The Australian, leading at the beginning and end of the 45-minute qualifying session makes this his 21st and final pole position as a factory Ducati rider as he prepares to move to Honda next year.
Finding the morning session difficult, Stoner and his team found a setting that worked in the afternoon. "When I went out on a soft tyre I didn't think I'd be able to beat Jorge (Lorenzo) or Marco (Simoncelli) but it gave me the confidence I needed to go much faster and I set a lap time I was very happy with," he said.
Stoner also made the incredible admission that his time could have been better, "I actually made a couple of mistakes on my last two laps otherwise I think I could have improved it but the important thing is that I was able to give Ducati another pole position before I sign off."
Setting a best time of 1m 31.799s, the 2007 Champion finished the session over .600 of a second to this year's Champion, Jorge Lorenzo who controlled the middle of today's qualifying before the stellar lap being set by Stoner at the end.
"I tried my best to make the pole position today but Casey was really very quick today, I couldn't beat him. Let's see if we can keep in contact with him tomorrow in the race, if we can stay with him we can challenge. We will try the maximum as always," said the Spaniard.
Lorenzo is riding this weekend with a special one-off crystal-encrusted helmet in his home race. "I'm really excited and proud to be on the front row in front of the Spanish crowd, at this home race," he said before explaining the helmet: "X-Lite has honoured me with this special helmet and I am so proud of it, it looks like diamonds in the sunshine! Thanks to everyone and I hope to make a good race in it tomorrow."
Things continue to get better and better for San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli as he claimed his first ever front row in MotoGP after setting his best time of 1m 32.244s giving him third position.
"It has been a wonderful weekend so far, from the first session yesterday morning through to qualifying this afternoon. I was able to ride fast and consistent and I am delighted we were able to turn it into a front row start," smiled the Italian. "I have unbelievable confidence with the bike just at the moment and that has been coming over the past few rounds. Right now I just hope I can stay in the same postcode as the leader tomorrow because it would be a really great end to the season for myself, Honda and the team."
Valentino Rossi finished fourth fastest and improved on yesterday's and he just missed out on third place by .086, setting a best time of 1m 32.330s. "It was a difficult day but luckily we were able to improve the setting right at the end of the session, giving me a bit more grip and allowing me to push for a fast time at the end," he said.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) followed close behind giving the two Americans fifth and sixth respectively to round out the second row.
Colin Edwards set a good pace and finished seventh fastest ahead of factory Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa who is still getting back to full fitness after his collarbone was broken in three places at the Japanese round in Motegi.
Pedrosa's teammate Andrea Dovizioso finished behind in ninth with the outgoing Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) grabbing the final spot in the top ten.
Spaniards Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing) and Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar) continue to lock horns on their Ducatis with both rookies finishing in 12th and 13th just behind LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet in 11th.
Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) managed to finish 14th fastest showing rookie Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) the way in 15th while fellow veteran rider Carlos Checa on the second Pramac Racing Ducati gave the same lesson to Capirossi's team mate Alvaro Bautista who finished 17th.
Stoner finished his press statement with heartfelt determination saying, "It will be an emotional day I'm sure tomorrow but for now my job is to focus on the race and achieving the best result possible."