World Championship leader Casey Stoner on his way to pole position at the Aragon MotoGP

Story highlights

Casey Stoner claims pole for Aragon MotoGP in Spain

Stoner leads world championship from Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo to start on second row as he bids to cut 35-point gap

Valentino Rossi only manages 13th after crash on his Ducati

CNN  — 

Championship leader Casey Stoner claimed pole position Saturday for the Aragon MotoGP in Spain as he set a new lap record on the Motorland circuit.

The Australian powered his Honda to a time of one minute 48.165 seconds, almost half a second better than his own record set at the corresponding race 12 months ago.

The Repsol Honda rider will be joined on the front row by his teammate Dani Pedrosa of Spain and Yamaha’s U.S. star Ben Spies.

Stoner was taking pole for the ninth time out of 14 races so far and will looking to build on the 35-point lead he holds over defending champion Jorge Lorenzo of Spain.

Lorenzo will start on the second row with Italian pair Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli, but will take heart from his performance in the last race, the San Marino GP, where he beat Stoner into second place.

Ducati’s former world champion Nicky Hayden was seventh fastest, but the American’s illustrious teammate Valentino Rossi crashed in the opening 15 minutes of qualifying and could only manage 13th best.

MotoGP newcomer Karel Abraham of the Czech Republic took a fine eighth spot ahead of Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama in ninth and France’s Randy de Puniet in 10th.

But it was a story of Stoner domination in qualifying yet again and he might have gone even faster but for a miscalculation at the end of the session where he ended up needing to lay down his bike to avoid going into the wall.

“It was a very eventful qualifying session for us,” he told the official MotoGP website.

“Everything has been going very well this weekend, we have a good feeling with the bike and I’m feeling great,” he added.