2010 Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result - Last-Lap Mistake Decides Scintillating Pole Battle

Casey Stoner has taken his second pole of the year at Motorland Aragon, confirming the fast pace he has shown all weekend. The Marlboro Ducati rider had a tough fight on his hands, though, with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa pushing Stoner all the way to the final seconds, until a mistake on Pedrosa's final fast lap prevented the Spaniard from improving his time, handing pole to the Australian.

Stoner and Pedrosa had swapped provisional pole throughout the session, slashing away at the times as they approached 1'49.1. Stoner's last attempt was blistering, taking two tenths off his own best time to get into the 1'48s with a lap of 1'48.942. Dani Pedrosa looked like matching it, crossing the second intermediate timing point two tenths up on Stoner, but that turned out to be a pace that was just not sustainable, the Repsol Honda running wide seconds later at Turn 11.

Pedrosa's mistake lost him both the pole and 2nd position, allowing Jorge Lorenzo to slip past. The Fiat Yamahas were both well down on top speed down the back straight, but Lorenzo's speed in the first section helped limit the damage.

Nicky Hayden made his strong weekend even better by securing a 4th place start for tomorrow's race, but even more encouraging will be the fact that the Marlboro Ducati rider is just over a tenth behind Pedrosa, and just over half a second behind his teammate, much closer than he was at Misano. Hayden was just fractionally faster than Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies, who was the last of the riders to finish inside a second of Stoner's blistering pole time. LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet ended qualifying in 6th, ahead of a struggling Valentino Rossi, who heads up the third row of the grid in 7th, over a second behind Stoner.

The one thing that qualifying has made clear is the speed deficit the Yamahas have against the Honda and the Ducati. All three Yamahas clocked just under 319 km/h along Aragon's long, downhill back straight. Casey Stoner's fastest speed there was 324.5 km/h, while Dani Pedrosa was over two clicks faster, at 326.8 km/h, or 203 miles per hour. Yamaha are expecting to get a new engine spec sometime during the next few races, but even that engine won't be able to match the pace of the Hondas.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 1'48.942    
2 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'49.251 0.309 0.309
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'49.343 0.401 0.092
4 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'49.506 0.564 0.163
5 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'49.565 0.623 0.059
6 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1'49.952 1.010 0.387
7 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1'50.017 1.075 0.065
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'50.046 1.104 0.029
9 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'50.088 1.146 0.042
10 40 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'50.323 1.381 0.235
11 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'50.440 1.498 0.117
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'50.523 1.581 0.083
13 41 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 1'50.537 1.595 0.014
14 33 Marco MELANDRI HONDA 1'50.580 1.638 0.043
15 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'50.836 1.894 0.256
16 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 1'51.490 2.548 0.654
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Its good for overtaking in the race and its never a bad thng to have the fastest speed in that split second on the straight where its measured but its way more important to have great feel and traction and the M1 has that in spades.

If you try to quantify the difference 8kmph on the straight makes in terms of the lap time its pretty negligable. Its only 8kmph more when they are doing the absolute top seed which is only for an instant really, for most of the straight its less than that. Even if ou average it out to a very generous 5kmph, walk slowly for the 5 seconds they are on the actual straight and you'll see what sort of distance that is, now imagine how quickly a MotoGP bike crosses that distance at full noise.. .1 of a second maybe.

The great strengh of the M1 big bang engine, and the reason Yamaha have been dominating the podium and constructors championship for 3 years now is because the bike pulls so well off turns. It gives the riders the feel to get on the throttle earlier and the smooth traction to punch off the turn faster than anything else. The ONLY place it loses out is for the couple of seconds of pure 6th gear top end on the straights.

Makes me cringe when I hear the Yam riders complain about top end, it makes a nice headline but you don't hear them whingeing when they are routinely at the top of the timesheets, which is nearly all the time.

I think you are not quite right in your thinking. If a rider has a power advantage, he can accelerate harder off the turns and pull his competition all the way down the straight. The only place it shows up for us is on the radar gun speed reading. The lap time advantage is produced from apex to the braking zone. I agree, the bike has to handle well enough to get the power down, but there is still a clear advantage to having more power than the other guy. The speed gun simply reflects it.

The Yamaha riders have all stated they lose time to the Honda's on the drive coming out of the turns. Not to mention most of the passing requires the pursuer to slip stream the bike in front and make the pass stick on the brakes. That's hard to do if your don't have enough power to slipstream.

Yamaha has had power disadvantages before and they'll catch back up I'm sure.

Perhaps the fact that 4 of the largest riders on the Grid are all on Yamaha contributes to their "agility" in making up for the top speed deficit.

I'm just sayin'... ;-)

that's 7.3' per second - a little more than a bike length. A nice advantage to have.

"to get into the 1'48s with a lap of 1'49.942" I think you missed the "8" key and instead hit "9" there. I'm kinda surprised to see Stoner turn in such fast laps but until he does it for the whole race I'll be skeptical of him winning. Good to see Hayden and Spies running the times they have also.

Surprised? I've been more surprised by his lack of fast lap times this season. It's good to see him fast again. And I should point out that it almost seemed like each lap by Stoner was faster than the previous. Quite consistent.

But there is always the worry of a Qatar repeat.

means just what it says...a faster bike! You have to admit that you give Spies Honda speed and he would have a few poles this year and at least one-two wins.

I'm with ya bro. Anyone who has ever raced knows that speed down the straight can keep a slightly faster rider behind you, or a slightly slower rider in front of you - all day long. It is very frustrating if you are the faster rider - or satisfying if you are the slower rider. :-)

I also agree with the Spies comment.

I can not disagree with you :-)
He has been a crasher for a while (on the LCR-Michelin, just like Casey, and on the underpowered Kawasaki) but really upped his game in these last 2 years.
I am so glad he began to gain some international praise this year thanks to his spectacular style and skills. On a competitive satellite bike he is right here, first Honda satellite without a question, occasionaly even in front of Dovi HRC bike and second private rider only to Spies.
He is definitely riding with his gutts, qualified 3 times on the first row, finished 5 times in the top 6.
Here's hoping he doesn't sign with Suzuki, as powerful as the attraction of a "factory" bike may be, he has already been there, done that on the factory Kawasaki and nothing good came out.
Also spectacular come back from his double leg fracture, only missed one race and starts to enjoy racing again, make me proud tomorrow Randy!

Yes the Frenchman is looking good this year. He is representing his country well. Good on him.

Go Randy - just don't go so fast you pass my man Ben. :-)