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MOTOGP NEWS 

Jorge Lorenzo flies to Qatar MotoGP pole for Yamaha

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, Qatar 2012Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole position for the MotoGP season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, denying Casey Stoner a fourth straight Losail pole.

It was reigning champion Stoner who led the way for Honda for most of the hour, as he both topped the part of the session devoted to practice, then improved to a 1m55.149s on his first concerted pole shot with 11 minutes left.

That was beaten by Lorenzo's 1m54.993s for Yamaha just afterwards, and although four-time Qatar winner Stoner fought back with a 1m54.855s, it put him on top for less than a minute before the Yamaha lapped 0.221 seconds quicker. Neither man could get any more pace out of their last sets of soft tyres, so Lorenzo's 19th MotoGP pole was secured.

Cal Crutchlow turned his practice promise into a career-best MotoGP starting position and first front row grid slot in third place for Tech 3 Yamaha, three places ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

The second works Yamaha of Ben Spies was left fourth on the grid after crashing with four minutes to go. It looked like the American might regain balance and stay upright, but eventually the bike got away from him.

Nicky Hayden grabbed fifth for Ducati in the closing seconds, but his team-mate Valentino Rossi was the slowest of the prototype riders in a lowly 12th place.

It was a quiet session for Dani Pedrosa (Honda) as well. The Spaniard will line up seventh, ahead of Hector Barbera's Pramac Ducati, top rookie Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda and late crasher Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Ducati).

Spies and Abraham aside, the session saw five other crashes - all among CRT runners. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda), Ivan Silva (Avintia), Mattia Pasini (Speed Master), Randy de Puniet (Aspar) and James Ellison (Paul Bird Motorsport) were all uninjured in their tumbles, unlike their bikes.

Forward Racing's Colin Edwards was the fastest CRT rider, less than a second off his sometime Yamaha team-mate Rossi's pace on the works MotoGP Ducati.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap
 1.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m54.634s
 2.  Casey Stoner      Honda                 1m54.855s  + 0.221s
 3.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m55.022s  + 0.388s
 4.  Ben Spies         Yamaha                1m55.512s  + 0.878s
 5.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati                1m55.637s  + 1.003s
 6.  Andrea Dovizioso  Tech 3 Yamaha         1m55.858s  + 1.224s
 7.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m55.905s  + 1.271s
 8.  Hector Barbera    Pramac Ducati         1m55.983s  + 1.349s
 9.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m56.063s  + 1.429s
10.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Ducati        1m56.198s  + 1.564s
11.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m56.521s  + 1.887s
12.  Valentino Rossi   Ducati                1m56.813s  + 2.179s
13.  Colin Edwards     Forward Suter-BMW     1m57.644s  + 3.010s
14.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia         1m58.266s  + 3.632s
15.  Aleix Espargaro   Aspar Aprilia         1m58.520s  + 3.886s
16.  Yonny Hernandez   Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m58.795s  + 4.161s
17.  Michele Pirro     Gresini FTR-Honda     1m59.085s  + 4.451s
18.  Mattia Pasini     Speed Master Aprilia  1m59.195s  + 4.561s
19.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Aprilia          1m59.664s  + 5.030s
20.  Ivan Silva        Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  2m00.493s  + 5.859s
21.  James Ellison     Paul Bird Aprilia     2m00.757s  + 6.123s
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