MotoGP: Stoner Scorches the Desert at Qatar Qualifying

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Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa put on a show for us tonight during the first Qualifying Practice of the 2011 MotoGP season being held at the Losail International Circuit. Cheers and groans could be heard in the media center as reporters from Spain, Italy, and other countries watched the session unfold…we’ll let you guess as to how each of those groups specifically reacted to the result. Throughout the MotoGP testing sessions and practices leading up to the Qatar GP, the Repsol Hondas, especially those of Stoner and Pedrosa, have been on an entirely different quantification of reality from the rest of the paddock.

For instance, fellow front row starter and 2010 MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was eight tenths of second back from Stoner’s time. Disappointingly for Valentino Rossi fans, the Italian will grid tomorrow in the 9th spot, a full second and half back from Stoner. Teammate Nicky Hayden fared the worst out of the factory riders, 13th on the grid for Sunday’s race and a 1.75 seconds from the pole time. Rizla Suzuki did not field a bike for qualifying because of Alvaro Bautista’s injury, and will not participate in tomorrow night’s race.

Qualifying Results from the Qatar GP at the Losail International Circuit:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1’54.137
2 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’54.342 0.205
3 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’54.947 0.810
4 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’54.988 0.851
5 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’55.095 0.958
6 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 1’55.223 1.086
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 1’55.229 1.092
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’55.578 1.441
9 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1’55.637 1.500
10 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’55.647 1.510
11 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team 1’55.656 1.519
12 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’55.724 1.587
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1’55.881 1.744
14 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team 1’56.323 2.186
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1’56.665 2.528
16 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP 1’57.992 3.855
DNQ 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

Photos: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved