Valentino Rossi topped a frantic qualifying to take pole position for Sunday's Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, as the final ten minutes of the Saturday session saw the top spot on the timesheet change hands a number of times as the MotoGP ...
Valentino Rossi topped a frantic qualifying to take pole position for Sunday's Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, as the final ten minutes of the Saturday session saw the top spot on the timesheet change hands a number of times as the MotoGP riders pushed hard in the Le Mans sunshine.
The Italian went round in a best time of 1'33.408 on the 28th of his 30 laps to take his first pole position of the 2010 season, and secure the prime starting spot at the French circuit for the first time since 2005.
Jorge Lorenzo made it a Fiat Yamaha one-two in the session as he went round just 0.054s off Rossi's pace on the penultimate of his 31 laps, consistently riding amongst the fastest times, whilst Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) completed the front row of the starting grid with a fine effort late on as well.
Casey Stoner had been one of those competing for pole throughout the session but the Ducati Marlboro man had to settle for the first slot on the second row, 0.416s off Rossi's time as he felt the benefit of some changes to his front forks. The Australian's team-mate Nicky Hayden, at just two-hundredths behind, joined him as the final rider under the 1'34" mark to register the fifth best time. LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet will start his home GP from the second row as well after an impressive session placed him sixth.
Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso pushed himself to the front of row three with a final lap that placed him seventh in the session, and Colin Edwards of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi were eighth and ninth fastest respectively.
Completing the top ten times of the session was Aleix Espargaro, who managed a run off at Turn 7 well to stay on his Ducati of the Pramac racing team and go on to set his best time with his last lap of the session.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) were both back on track after their crashes in free practice earlier in the day, and set the 12th and 16th fastest times respectively in qualifying.