Stoner claims pole for US MotoGP

Reigning world champion Casey Stoner of Australia captured his fifth straight pole position on Saturday in qualifying for Sunday’s United States MotoGP.

Stoner, who dominated the free practice on Friday, clocked the fastest qualifying time of one minute, 20,700 seconds.

Stoner, winner here last year, had broken his track record in every practice, and he did it again in qualifying after just nine laps.

His eventual pole position record improved the previous qualifying record by more than 1,5 seconds.

Italian Valentino Rossi, the Yamaha rider who currently leads the overall standings, was second quickest in 1:21,147, and American Nicky Hayden (Honda) was third-fastest with a time of 1:21,430.

Spain’s Dani Pedrosa, second in the overall standings, withdrew from qualifying and Sunday’s race as he nurses a broken wrist and injured ankle sustanied in a fall at the German Grand Prix.

The Honda driver had hoped his injuries would allow him to compete, and he completed both of Friday’s free practice sessions before throwing in the towel.

Stoner will be going for his fourth straight victory from pole as he battles to narrow the gap on Rossi in the championship race. — Sapa-AFP

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