Rossi lands last Donington pole.

The last British MotoGP pole position at Donington Park, before a 2010 switch to Silverstone, has fallen to reigning world champion Valentino Rossi. 

    After Friday's wet session, qualifying took place in the dry, with Fiat Yamaha star Rossi claiming his fourth pole of the season by 0.095sec over Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa won the 2006 event and had been fastest in both free practice sessions this weekend. 

    Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who will start round ten 14 points behind the Italian, was fastest for a large part of the one hour session. However a nasty rear-end kick while accelerating out of the Foggy Esses on his last lap contributed to the young Spaniard finishing in third position, 0.286sec from Rossi. 

    This afternoon's fastest laps were set using the softer rear tyre, but the harder front option. 

    Interestingly, Rossi was not completely satisfied with his pace on the harder rear tyre. By contrast, Lorenzo's problems materialised when he switched to the softer rear for a late pole attack. 

    Third in the championship Casey Stoner, winner at Donington for the past two seasons, fell from his Ducati in morning practice and again at the halfway mark of this afternoon's session. 

    The young Australian, who lost the front at the Melbourne Hairpin in the morning, tumbled at the McLeans right-hander while holding second behind Lorenzo halfway through qualifying. 

    Stoner looked to save a rear wobble on corner entry, but the front then crumbled as he tipped his Desmosedici into the turn. Stoner walked away unharmed but never looked fully comfortably thereafter, on what is thought to have been his spare bike. 

    Nevertheless, the #27 claimed a close fourth place on his last lap, 0.330sec behind Rossi's M1. 

    The championship top four were once again in a class of their own, with fifth placed Andrea Dovizioso 0.332sec behind Lorenzo on the second Repsol Honda. 

    Colin Edwards, a past MotoGP pole sitter and podium finisher at Donington Park, completes row two as the top satellite rider in sixth for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

    Seventh and the final rider within one second of Rossi was Hayate's Marco Melandri, with Toni Elias eighth for Honda Gresini. Home star James Toseland will start from the outside of row three in ninth for Tech 3. 

    Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) edged out rookie Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati) for tenth, while the Rizla Suzukis of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi will start just 13th and 14th, immediately behind Alex de Angelis (Gresini Honda). 

    Nicky Hayden struggled throughout the session on his way to 15th on the second factory Ducati, ahead of only Pramac's Niccolo Canepa and Scot Honda's Gabor Talmacsi. 

    A fourth victory of the season in Sunday's tenth round would put Rossi in with a strong chance of pushing his 14 point lead over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to around the one-race-win mark (25 points), just as the summer break begins.

    However, if the weather remains dry for the race - and it is a big if - then Rossi feels he will need a better set-up for his factory M1.

    “I am quite surprised to be on pole today because we had a couple of problems this afternoon,” confessed the Italian, who took his fourth pole of the season by 0.095sec over Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, with Lorenzo in third. 

    “This morning unfortunately we didn't try the hard Bridgestone tyre but we weren't worried because everyone else had good grip with it. But this afternoon when we finally tried it we found the grip to be not as we expected and our pace with it wasn't so good. 

    “We made some modifications and improved it a bit, then we made a few more and used the soft tyre again and then we were very quick. Like that I could ride the bike how I wanted and it felt great, fast and flowing so this was a good job from the team. 

    “We need to do some work to improve our pace with the hard tyre, and then we just have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow. Whatever happens, we're starting from the front and this is the most important thing,” he concluded.

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