Casey Stoner will start from pole position in his final race for Ducati after defeating MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo in a tough battle at Valencia.
Having been fastest in two out of three practice sessions, Stoner stated his intentions right at the start of qualifying with a blistering 1m32.666s on his second flying lap – 1.5 seconds quicker than anyone else at that point. He then went plowing through the Turn 1 gravel at the start of the next lap but quickly recovered.
Lorenzo soon closed in, and took over provisional pole for 25 minutes of the session with a series of ever-quicker laps. But Stoner still had pace in hand, delivering a 1m31.866s with six minutes to go, putting him back on pole by 0.3sec. Lorenzo could not improve on his own 1m32.130s, and then Stoner made absolutely certain of pole with a 1m31.799s as the flag fell.
Marco Simoncelli claimed his first front-row start with a superb third place for Gresini Honda. The Italian looked set to hold provisional pole at one point, had he not lost time behind Loris Capirossi's Suzuki at the final corner.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) had a quiet session, eventually working his way up to fourth ahead of Stoner's teammate Nicky Hayden.
The Tech 3 Yamahas took sixth and seventh, Ben Spies ahead of Colin Edwards, as the works Hondas disappointed, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso only eighth and ninth, followed by Marco Melandri on Gresini's other bike.
Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m31.799s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m32.130s + 0.331s
3. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m32.244s + 0.445s
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m32.330s + 0.531s
5. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m32.422s + 0.623s
6. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m32.566s + 0.767s
7. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m32.579s + 0.780s
8. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m32.603s + 0.804s
9. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m32.886s + 1.087s
10. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m32.917s + 1.118s
11. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m32.925s + 1.126s
12. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m33.085s + 1.286s
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m33.170s + 1.371s
14. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m33.339s + 1.540s
15. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1m33.343s + 1.544s
16. Carlos Checa Pramac Ducati 1m33.499s + 1.700s
17. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m33.515s + 1.716s