Pedrosa on pole, Stoner injured
Dani Pedrosa will start Sunday's Indianapolis MotoGP from pole position have topped a crash-strewn qualifying session in which Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden both needed medical attention.
Reigning World Champion and 2011 Indianapolis winner Stoner came out firing and was quickly on the pace. The Aussie posted a 1:40.928 and dropped that to a 1:39.465 on his next flying lap.
However, one lap later, the Honda rider was down in the gravel and appeared to be injured. Stoner suffered a massive high side that flipped him high into the air. The Aussie landed heavily and immediately called for medical assistance. He was stretchered off and taken to the medical centre where he was diagnosed with "torn ligaments of the right ankle."
A few minutes later - with Ben Spies having just taken the P1 slot with a 1:39.446 - qualifying was red-flagged due to "safety conditions" as the track marshals swept away the debris from Stoner's crash.
Back underway, Pedrosa hit the front with a 1:39.367 while Spies improved in second place only for the Spaniard to again extend his lead. Halfway through the session the duo, together with Stoner, occupied the provisional front row with Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo on the second row.
After a lull in activity, the riders started to venture on the softer option Bridgestone tyre with Bradl the first to demonstrate their advantage as he improved to third place.
The battle for pole, though, seemed to be between Pedrosa and Spies at least until the latter suffered a huge high speed, a repeat of Stoner's earlier accident. Spies, though, walked away.
The American's demise left it open for his teammate Lorenzo to mount a challenge and he took second place from Spies with Dovizioso up to third. Minutes later the session was red-flagged when Nicky Hayden suffered a big crash and was knocked unconscious by the impact. An ambulance was quickly out on track to see to Ducati's Texan who was taken to the medical centre.
With eight and a half minutes remaining the riders were quickly out on track with Pedrosa improving to a 1:38.813, a new qualifying record for the circuit. Lorenzo also upped his pace but fell short by 0.1s while Dovizioso secured third place and the final front starting position.
Spies, who returned to the action for the final few minutes, qualified in fourth place ahead of Bradl and Stoner while Cal Crutchlow heads the third row. Valentino Rossi was down in 11th place slower than the leading CRT of Randy de Puniet.
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1'38.813
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1'38.913
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'39.235
4 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1'39.279
5 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP 1'39.437
6 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1'39.465
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'39.549
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1'39.748
9 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'40.072
10 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar 1'40.437
11 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1'40.763
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar 1'40.80
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens 1'41.197
14 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1'41.295
15 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master 1'41.370
16 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'41.449
17 Toni ELIAS SPA Pramac Racing Team 1'41.866
18 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport 1'41.978
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project 1'42.553
20 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1'42.599
21 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens 1'42.768 3.955 / 0.16
22 Steve RAPP USA Attack Performance 1'43.673
23 Aaron YATES USA GPTech 1'44.312