Unhappy Stoner grabs pole for Indy GP
Indianapolis: Casey Stoner smashed the track record on Saturday as he claimed pole position for the Indianapolis Grand Prix before blasting the layout as one of the worst on the MotoGP circuit.
The Australian, chasing a U.S. double having also triumphed in California last month, will start from pole for the seventh time this season as he aims to build on his 32-point lead over Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo at the top of the championship standings.
Stoner guided his Honda around the 2.61-mile layout in a record one minute 38.850 seconds to finish ahead of American Ben Spies (Yamaha) on a swelteringly hot day at the famous Brickyard track.
World champion Lorenzo was third quickest on another Yamaha, ahead of compatriot and last year`s Indy winner Dani Pedrosa.
Not even his record qualifying effort could put a smile on Stoner`s face though.
After Friday`s opening practice sessions he complained about the lack of grip on the resurfaced circuit and slicing nearly a second off the record did nothing to change his opinion.
"There are circuits I don`t enjoy and I`m not going to beat around the bush and say it`s one of my favourite tracks," Stoner told reporters.
"There are a lot of circuits in the world and a lot of them are a lot more enjoyable than others. The track is still not in great condition but we all have to race in the same conditions and just because I don`t like the circuit doesn`t mean I`m going to let it affect me."
The 25-year-old had been quick out of the blocks, jumping to the top of the timings table on one of his opening laps and he remained there for the rest of the session.
"The grip isn`t actually the main issue, for me it is the inconsistency of the grip," said Stoner.
"You can deal with low grip levels if it`s consistent but the fact you hit patches that want to throw you off is something different, a little bit scary."
Since crashing out in the second race of the season in Spain, Stoner has been on the podium in nine straight races.
He has won six times this season including the last two races.
Valentino Rossi was also unimpressed with the conditions, the Italian`s miserable season continuing when his Ducati slid out from under him 10 minutes into qualifying.
The seven-times world champion was quickly back on the track but was unable to coax a decent effort out of his backup bike and will start well down the grid in 14th place.
Rossi, winner of the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix in 2008, has gone 14 races without a victory.
"Unfortunately I had a crash at the beginning and I damaged the good bike so I have to go with the other bike which was a little bit different," said Rossi who has won at least one race every year since his career began in 1996.
"I expected to be in the second or third row. When you start from behind like this it is more difficult."