Dani Pedrosa photo courtesy MotoGPEnlarge Photo
Dani Pedrosa took advantage of changing weather conditions to beat Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner to pole position for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France on the Le Mans racetrack. The Spaniard dealt with damp, drying and dry conditions to take his first pole position of the season and his fourth at Le Mans, with a lap of 1:33.638.
"I'm happy to be here on pole for the first time this season; front row is always good and the team has done a great job with the bike," Pedrosa said. "It's been a difficult session, quite similar to Jerez, the track was drying up but we had some drops again in the last five minutes. It's been key to choose the right moment to push and to not get out of the line," he continued. With the 28-lap length of this race, "Everything can change so I hope to have a good start and to be able to keep a good pace until the end."
Stoner had his first crash of the season during morning practice yet walked away without a scratch. He had been quickest in the session until that time and recovered during qualifying to record his lap of 1:33.941, just three-tenths behind Pedrosa. "We're really happy to be on front row, but qualifying definitely didn't go to plan. We felt we were fast enough to be on pole position, but every time I was on a good lap or building up to one, I got held up," Stoner explained.
Andrea Dovizioso photo courtesy MotoGPEnlarge Photo
Andrea Dovizioso fills the third slot on the front row for Monster Tech3 Yamaha, ahead of both factory Yamaha motorcycles. "We have done a great job all weekend," Dovi said, "and I have been fast in every session - and even in the tricky conditions at the start of qualifying I was very competitive and strong. The times were coming really easily," he admitted.
The second row belongs to Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha Factory Racing machine at 1:34.104, Cal Crutchlow on the second Monster Tech3 Yamaha (1:34.178) and Ben Spies in the second Yamaha Factory motorcycle (1:34.669) after having crashed in practice on Friday; he was nearly half a second back of Crutchlow.
Valentino Ross's Ducati, Alvaro Bautista's San Carlo Honda Gresini, Hector Barbera for the Pramac (Ducati) team and karen Abraham for Cardion AB Motoracing (Ducati). Randy de Puniet is the quickest CRT on the Power Electronics Aspara ART in 12th place, just about two seconds behind pole man Pedrosa.
Randy de Puniet photo courtesy MotoGPEnlarge Photo