De Rosa steals pole from Simoncelli
|By David Wright||Saturday, October 17th 2009, 05:09 GMT|
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