Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner will start from the front row of the grid for the fourth race in succession tomorrow after sealing the second fastest time in this afternoon’s qualifying practice for the USGP. The Australian held provisional pole position for much of the hour-long session but a late effort from Jorge Lorenzo edged him out by just 0.191 seconds.
At the same time Stoner’s team-mate Nicky Hayden was bumped off the second row, the American dropping to seventh place – the same position he finished yesterday afternoon’s opening session. Having only improved by two tenths in this morning’s final free practice Hayden was pleased to make progress this afternoon and is confident he can put on a strong showing for the home fans in tomorrow’s race.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Team) 2nd (1’21.169)
“We’re closer to the front than last week but we still need to improve the bike before tomorrow. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t make full use of the session this afternoon and ended up going back to the setting we had this morning. We tried a few different things that weren’t really working and unfortunately one of the settings took a long time to change so we wasted time there. To be honest I was happy to post the time I did – I thought we could have gone a bit quicker today considering how good the bike felt from yesterday to this morning but we just didn’t take that extra step. Hopefully we can take it in the warm-up and have our most competitive race of the season tomorrow.”
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Team) 7th (1’21.920)
“To qualify seventh with such a big gap to Jorge isn’t good enough here at my home race so I’m obviously disappointed but we’re not going home yet. We’ll be back tomorrow ready to step our game up and get in there. The team did a good job from the morning to the afternoon today, which was the first real step we’ve made this weekend, and really we’re only three tenths from the front row so it’s not too bad in that regard. It’s my home race so I want to get amongst them, have some fun and put on a good show.”
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’21.488 – 159.483 Km/h
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’20.700 – 161.040 Km/h