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Rossi tops Sachsenring qualifying

Valentino Rossi has taken pole position for the German Grand Prix after snatching the top spot from Fiat Yamaha team-mate, and title rival, Jorge Lorenzo on his very last lap at a soaking wet Sachsenring.

After a wet/dry Friday practice and dry Saturday morning session, there was no doubt about which tyres were needed for the afternoon hour - with rain pummelling the tight and twisty circuit from start to finish.

The rain got heavier during the second half of the session, slowing the rate of improvements, but Rossi was nevertheless able to topple Lorenzo with 14 minutes remaining.

Lorenzo, riding with a separated shoulder and fractured bone in his foot from Laguna Seca, then struck back with seven minutes to go.

The factory M1 riders, separated by just 0.025sec on track and nine points at the top of the championship, ignored the conditions to slog it out for supremacy while others - including third on the grid Casey Stoner - chose to sit out the closing minutes.

Lorenzo looked like he might have done enough, but Rossi raised himself to new levels on his final lap to gouge a massive 0.640sec from Lorenzo's best time, handing the reigning six time MotoGP world champion his third pole position of the season.

A cautious Stoner was a further 0.6sec behind for Ducati Marlboro, but will hope that his energy-saving qualifying session will allow him to fight harder and longer in the race, as he seeks to close a 16 point gap to Rossi.

Heading row two after an especially eventful session will be Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden. The American, fourth in dry morning practice, had a problematic start to the afternoon - sitting 17th and last after 15 minutes - then made rapid progress to reach fourth with a quarter of an hour to go.

But as the 2006 world champion pushed for a front row with six minutes remaining, he became the last in a long line of riders to fall at turn eight, a fast downhill left hander.

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llort Murof - Unregistered

July 18, 2009 4:18 PM

Lucky for Rossi that he was handed an advantage with the weather at the death. Good session, well done to Casey. Judging from his comments, he could have an excellent chance of winning tomorrow unless the weather or his illness prevent him from winning.

H8R - Unregistered

July 18, 2009 2:52 PM

Once again Colin shows JT what the M1 can do. Isn't it time to let JT and his perennial back marker status go? There must be a mid level BSB team who needs a #2 rider.

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