Simoncelli soars to first pole at Catalunya

Marco Simoncelli raced to a surprise pole position in the last 30 seconds of qualifying Saturday afternoon.

Pulling out a fast lap of 1’42.413 in front of the Casey Stoner, who had the lead the entire qualifying session, but had to settle for second. Stoner, who holds both the best pole position time and the fastest lap at the Montmelo track, qualified just 0.016s behind the Italian. Last year’s race winner Jorge Lorenzo completed the first row with a third fastest time of 1’42.728.

Ben Spies was in top form, just missing out on a front-row start by a margin of 0.014s, having held second in the timings with 3 minutes remaining. Spies will head the second row, in front of Repsol Honda rival Andrea Dovizioso. Finishing the second row is Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who matched his previous best grid position of 2011 in sixth

The Ducati Team duo head up the third row, with Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) ahead of Nicky Hayden for the first time this weekend, followed by Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), who finished fifth here last year and won the 250 race in 2009.

Completing the top ten in the session were Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) in ninth position followed by Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini), who ran off the track earlier and was not able to better his best qualifying position of the season of tenth.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) had an early crash at the start of the session, and rejoined the session after a medical check to finish in 15th.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will not be participating in this round due to injuries.

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