Stoner grabs pole at Valencia


The Australian, who missed three races with a mystery illness before coming back last month to win at home at Phillip Island and in Malaysia, clocked the fastest lap of 1:32:256 at the season-ending event in Spain.

Honda's Dani Pedrosa was second fastest on 1:32:519 ahead of Spanish compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (1:32:537) and Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate and world champion Valentino Rossi in fourth (1:32:922).

Rossi clinched his second successive MotoGP title in Malaysia, the Italian's seventh in the premier class and his ninth motorcycling championship overall including his triumphs in the 125cc and 250cc categories.

Stoner is third in the championship standings on 220 points and trails second-placed Lorenzo by 25, the amount a rider is awarded for a race victory. Pedrosa is fourth on 209.

Alex Debon was quickest in 250cc qualifying with a lap of 1:36:116 but the Spaniard crashed with a minute left in the session and suffered a suspected broken rib.

He is still expected to take part in Sunday's race, according to the MotoGP website (www.motogp.com).

Champion Julian Simon took pole in the 125cc category with a time of 1:41:472.

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