Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner will start the inaugural Grand Prix of Aragon from the front of the grid tomorrow after taking an historic first pole position at the Motorland circuit this afternoon. Nicky Hayden is also aiming to force his way into the record books as part of a two-pronged assault on the podium after qualifying fourth, meaning he will line up directly behind his team-mate on the grid.
Slightly modified weight distribution seemed to give Stoner extra speed today, with the Australian reporting improved rear grip and solid handling through the constant direction changes around this circuit. Hayden, meanwhile, benefitted from the switch to a different aerodynamics package – featuring a larger front fairing – that proved crucial today, with this circuit featuring the longest straight on the MotoGP calendar.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1st (1’48.942)
“We’ve been trying different things for the last few weekends to try and get the bike more competitive without making really big progress but it looks like we might have found something here. We’ve changed the weight distribution a little bit and it has given me more grip and confidence. Maybe it’s just the fact the bike suits this place but either way we’ve got to be happy to be back on pole for the first time since Qatar. I also like riding at new circuits – when you haven’t already done a million laps around a place it’s always refreshing. We have to wait and see how the race pans out and see if I can run with these guys because we’ve had a few false dawns already this season so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but we feel good in race trim and I’m looking forward to it.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th (1’49.506)
“Overall it’s been a positive day. We have had two dry sessions and I had fun – we constantly made the bike a little bit faster and even though it would have been nice to be on the front row, we’re only a tenth off, the team is doing a great job and we have to be satisfied. For Casey and I to be in the top four shows that the bike is working really well around here. On the Ducati simulator the best lap I had was a 1’49.1 and the pole time was a 1’48.9 so that’s impressive, somebody back in Bologna is doing their homework! They’re doing a great job and tomorrow it’s my turn to try and bring something home for the team.”
Pole Position: Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team – 2010): 1’48.942 – 167.803km/h