Jorge Lorenzo on pole for Portuguese Grand Prix

Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo took the pole position on the circuit where he won last year ahead of world champion Yahama teammate, Valentino Rossi of Italy, and Australia's Casey Stoner for Sunday's Portuguese MotoGP.


AFP - Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo snatched pole position ahead of world champion Yahama teammate Valentino Rossi of Italy and Australia's Casey Stoner for Sunday's Portuguese MotoGP here.

The Spanish rider clocked 1min 36.214sec on the circuit where he won last year, to keep the pressure on championship rival Rossi, who was second fastest at 0.260sec.

"I felt good on the bike although I pushed it a bit to the wall to see what happened," said Lorenzo after his fifth pole position of the year.

"It's been quite a few races since I've had a pole. I was getting a bit worried because doing one fast lap has always been one of my strong points but lately we haven’t been able to be quite competitive enough with the soft tyre."

Lorenzo has not won from pole this year, but will need to on Sunday if he wants to reduce Rossi's 30-point advantage at the top of the standings.

Rossi said he was confident of pipping his teammate on Sunday.

"We improved the balance of the bike a lot this afternoon and the braking performance, now we have some traction problems on exiting from the slow corners so we have to improve on that on Sunday morning. We hope to be more competitive in the race," said the champion.

"I expect a close battle on Sunday. I think Jorge is looking the most competitive, but Stoner is close and Pedrosa is not so far away, so that’s why it is so important to make a good start and to give it our maximum effort."

Ducati rider Stoner, back on the track after missing three races because of a mystery virus, finished 0.054sec behind Rossi.

The Australian said he was "delighted to return in such a way" after being written off as set for retirement by certain pundits.

Spaniard Dani Pedrosa finished half a second off the pace on his Repsol Honda with American Colin Edwards in fifth place.

France's Randy de Puniet completed the second row with the third row featuring Loris Capirossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.

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