x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Lorenzo dominates in Barcelona to take MotoGP pole

The world championship leader takes his third pole position in a row at the Catalan Grand Prix followed by Casey Stoner and Randy de Puniet.

BARCELONA // Jorge Lorenzo, the world championship leader, took his third pole position in a row yesterday at the Catalan Grand Prix, followed by Casey Stoner and Randy de Puniet. Lorenzo had dominated the practice sessions on his Yamaha bike before posting a fastest lap time of 1min 42.046secs in qualifying for today's race at the Circuit de Catalunya. Despite his dominant efforts the Spaniard is not taking anything for granted as he looks to claim his fifth victory from six races.

He said today's event will be "the toughest race of the season for me. It's so hot and the rear tire was sliding a lot". Stoner, the Australian rider, was 0.364secs behind Lorenzo on his Ducati bike, and De Puniet was 0.466 back after the Frenchman again put in an impressive display on his privateer LCR Honda bike to beat factory bike opposition. Lorenzo leads the championship standings with 140 points going into the seventh race of the season.

His compatriot, Dani Pedrosa, the Honda rider who starts fourth today, is second on 93, with Andrea Dovizioso, the second Honda rider, a further three positions back. The lead changed hands several times yesterday in the quest for top spot. Stoner at one point seemed destined for pole until Lorenzo clinched the fastest time on his penultimate lap. Stoner was furious at alleged obstruction by other riders.

"Everyone seems intent on stuffing me up," Stoner said. "They look behind, see you coming and still don't get out of the way ? I'm ready to put someone in a wall. I'm getting sick and tired of it. "It's part of racing tactics, but what goes around comes around." With nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi not racing due to a broken leg, suffered at the Italian Grand Prix last month, Lorenzo is on course to secure a fifth victory of the season and the 10th of his career in the MotoGP category.

* AP