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Casey Stoner storms into pole position

Australian title holder Casey Stoner clocked the best time in the qualifying round, to claim his first pole of the season ahead of Spain's Dani Pedrosa. Meanwhile, championship leader Valentino Rossi will start a mere 9th on the grid.

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Australian Casey Stoner, riding a Ducati, stormed to pole position for Sunday's Catalunya Grand Prix ahead of Honda riders Dani Pedrosa of Spain and American Nicky Hayden.

The world champion and Catalunya title-holder clocked 1min 41.186sec on the 4.727km Montmelo circuit to snatch victory by 0.83sec from Pedrosa and achieve his first pole of the season and 11th of his career.

"It's a bit of a surprise. We were lucky with our choice of qualification tyres, but with our race tyres we're even faster," said Stoner, the only rider using Bridgestone to finish in the top seven.

Yamaha's world championship leader Valentino Rossi of Italy clocked the ninth fastest time in 1:42.429.

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