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Stoner claims pole for San Marino MotoGP

  • Story Highlights
  • Casey Stoner on pole position for Sunday's San Marino MotoGP at Misano
  • Australian Ducati rider finishes qualifying session ahead of Valentino Rossi
  • Stoner's lap of one minute 33.37 seconds gave him pole by over half-a-second
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(CNN) -- Reigning world champion Casey Stoner of Australia is on pole position for Sunday's San Marino MotoGP at Misano.

Stoner will be the man to beat after taking pole position for Sunday's San Marino MotoGP.

Ducati rider Stoner secured his seventh pole in a row ahead of world championship leader Valentino Rossi, with Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo in third position.

Stoner led qualifying throughout almost the entire session until Lorenzo twice bettered his top effort.

But Stoner pulled a stunning lap of one minute 33.378 seconds out of the bag in the final few minutes to take pole by more than half-a-second.

"Everything was going quite well in the morning but I struggled a little bit in the afternoon session. The bike I had the quickest time on this morning didn't work in the afternoon," said Stoner.

Stoner needs to win to keep his championship hopes alive as he sits 50 points behind Rossi in the standings, due to crashing out of the last race in Brno, Czech Republic.

Victory for Rossi on Sunday would draw him level with Italian great Giacomo Agostini's 68 victories in the top class in Moto GP.

"I did a good job in qualifying. Second position is good for tomorrow. I had a problem in the second sector, in some corners I wasn't fast enough. But I have done some good work on the set-up and hope tomorrow I'll be faster."

Lorenzo claimed a front row place for the first time since Portugal in the third GP of the season, but he said a top five finish was still his aim for Sunday's race.

"Stoner and Valentino are going very fast, especially Stoner," he said. "To beat Stoner tomorrow will be difficult, my aim is to finish in the top five."

Rossi and other Yamaha riders were fined $1,000 for performing practice starts after official qualifying , an FIM statement said.

Italian Rossi and Spanish teammate Lorenzo, as well as Britain's James Toseland and Colin Edwards of the USA, broke the rules of the motorcycling world governing body by continuing to ride after the end of the session, the statement added.

They each received a $1,000 fine and, as no riders appealed, the punishment was binding, the statement added.

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