MotoGP: Factory Hondas Make Like Napoleon Bonaparte – Divide & Conquer Qualifying at Le Mans

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Le Mans proved to be a Honda-friendly track today, as all four true-blooded factory Honda machines took the four top spots on the grid for tomorrow’s French GP. With the Hondas bunched up at the front, the groupings didn’t stop there as the next four spots were occupied by the Yamaha contingency, with Jorge Lorenzo leading Crutchlow, Edwards, and Spies respectively.

Ninth and tenth on the grid belong to Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, while Randy de Puniet on the satellite Pramac Ducati will start 11th for his home GP. Both Hayden and Spies cited mistakes on their fast laps as being the cause for their poor qualifying, while Rossi’s squad was unable to capitalize on its softer-compound tire for an ultimate qualifying time.

Starting on pole will be Casey Stoner, as the Australian continues his superb form this season. Though the Repsol Honda rider has been the one to watch so far this season, he only beat out sophmore Marco Simoncelli by a margin of 0.059 seconds.

Simoncelli has seemingly found his stride this season, though his riding has prompted concerns in the MotoGP paddock, as many of the top riders went to the Safety Commission meeting to complain about the Italian’s riding. Rounding out the front row is Andrea Dovizioso, who bested teammate Dani Pedrosa by six-hundreths of a second. Full qualifying results after the jump.

Qualifying Results from the French GP at Le Mans, France:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1’33.153
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’33.212 0.059
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 1’33.621 0.468
4 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’33.683 0.530
5 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’33.706 0.553
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’33.804 0.651
7 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’34.063 0.910
8 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’34.206 1.053
9 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1’34.206 1.053
10 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1’34.277 1.124
11 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team 1’34.351 1.198
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’34.513 1.360
13 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’34.612 1.459
14 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 1’34.650 1.497
15 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team 1’34.866 1.713
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1’35.010 1.857
17 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP 1’35.433 2.280

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda