Casey Stoner claimed his fourth pole position in sixth attempts during qualifying for the British MotoGP at Silverstone.

Fastest throughout free practice, Stoner nevertheless didn't have things all his own way, with Marco Simoncelli and Jorge Lorenzo also leading the hour-long session on several occasions.

The pace was such that last year's pole time was broken by Simoncelli after just 16 minutes, and Stoner's best lap - set with just over seven minutes to go - was 1.3sec under Lorenzo's 2010 pole time.

Simoncelli was just 0.188sec slower than Stoner on his factory spec San Carlo Honda Gresini bike and, having been second to the Australian in every session this weekend, will once again be targeting a debut MotoGP podium on Sunday.

Yamaha's reigning world champion Lorenzo will start tomorrow's race from the outside of the front row (+0.217sec) and with a seven point lead over Stoner. Team-mate Ben Spies heads row two, a sizeable 0.657sec from Stoner, but the last rider within one-second of the #27.

Stoner's Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was fifth, with Karel Abraham a surprise sixth place for Cardion AB Ducati, after a tow from Lorenzo.

That is by far the Czech rider's best qualifying in his brief MotoGP career, and came on a day when fellow rookie Cal Crutchlow was eliminated from his home event after fracturing his left collarbone in an early fall (se separate story).

Abraham was the top Desmosedici rider, with Nicky Hayden seventh on the factory GP11 - and Valentino Rossi qualifying a distant 13th, 3.761sec from Stoner, for his first Silverstone race.

While Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Crutchlow was in the medical centre, Colin Edwards - who broke his collarbone last weekend in Catalunya - put on a impressive effort, rising as high as sixth on his way to eighth at the chequered flag.

With Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa - who suffered a broken collarbone at Le Mans last month - sidelined, just 15 riders will start Sunday's race, all of whom are guaranteed at least a point if they finish.

Silverstone returned to the MotoGP calendar last year and the 2011 event marks the debut of the circuit's new ?27-million Pits & Paddock.

Sunday's race action will start with Moto2, followed by MotoGP and then 125cc. Rain showers are predicted from midday onwards.

Qualifying - Silverstone:

1. Stoner
2. Simoncelli
3. Lorenzo
4. Spies
5. Dovizioso
6. Abraham
7. Hayden
8. Edwards
9. Bautista
10. de Puniet
11. Aoyama
12. Barbera
13. Rossi
14. Elias
15. Capirossi
16. Crutchlow


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