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De Rosa steals pole from Simoncelli

Raffaele de Rosa snatched pole position for the 250cc class of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island with a lap at the very end of the session.

After rain affected running early in the session, Marco Simoncelli went to the top of the times halfway through, and despite some challenges remained on top almost throughout the rest of the session.

With eight minutes remaining Hector Barbera went to the top of the times, but Simoncelli went faster again with three minutes remaining and faster once more with 90 seconds left on the clock.

He went again and had de Rosa right on his tail throughout the final lap of his qualifying session.

Simoncelli improved his time just after a second after the 50-minute session ended, but less than a second behind him de Rosa went nearly a quarter of a second faster, leaving de Rosa well-placed to help team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama in his title fight with Simoncelli.

Aoyama did the best he could to maintain his championship lead by setting the third-fastest time after the top duo had set their times.

Alex Debon recovered from a crash on the wet track early in the session to set the fourth-fastest time just ahead of Hector Barbera, who had taken provisional pole position earlier in the session when he set the exact same time as Simoncelli but had a faster second-fastest lap compared to Simoncelli's.

Another rider to crash early in the session was Mattia Pasini, qualifying eighth after setting the second-fastest time on his first flying lap of the session.

Pos  Rider                 Bike     Time       Gap
 1.  Raffaele de Rosa      Honda    1m33.389s
 2.  Marco Simoncelli      Gilera   1m33.614s  + 0.225
 3.  Hiroshi Aoyama        Honda    1m33.633s  + 0.244
 4.  Alex Debon            Aprilia  1m33.886s  + 0.497
 5.  Hector Barbera        Aprilia  1m33.928s  + 0.539
 6.  Mike Di Meglio        Aprilia  1m34.030s  + 0.641
 7.  Ratthapark Wilairot   Honda    1m34.114s  + 0.725
 8.  Mattia Pasini         Aprilia  1m34.192s  + 0.803
 9.  Hector Faubel         Honda    1m34.285s  + 0.896
10.  Alvaro Bautista       Aprilia  1m34.588s  + 1.199
11.  Karel Abraham         Aprilia  1m34.727s  + 1.338
12.  Jules Cluzel          Aprilia  1m34.921s  + 1.532
13.  Alex Baldolini        Aprilia  1m35.016s  + 1.627
14.  Lukas Pesek           Aprilia  1m35.018s  + 1.629
15.  Thomas Luthi          Aprilia  1m35.374s  + 1.985
16.  Shuhei Aoyama         Honda    1m35.387s  + 1.998
17.  Roberto Locatelli     Gilera   1m36.114s  + 2.725
18.  Shoya Tomizawa        Honda    1m36.711s  + 3.322
19.  Axel Pons             Aprilia  1m36.860s  + 3.471
20.  Vladimir Leonov       Aprilia  1m36.901s  + 3.512
21.  Balazs Nemeth         Aprilia  1m37.525s  + 4.136
22.  Valentin Debise       Honda    1m37.984s  + 4.595
23.  Imre Toth             Aprilia  1m38.346s  + 4.957
24.  Bastien Chesaux       Aprilia  1m38.893s  + 5.504
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Simoncelli wins shortened race