Qualifying cancelled for MotoGP at Estoril2010-10-30 10:10
Persistent torrential rain at the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal at Estoril led to the qualifying sessions for the MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc categories being cancelled on Saturday.
With excessive standing water on the track surface, gusting winds and constant heavy rain, and after attempts to reschedule the qualifying programme, Race Direction was eventually forced to decide at 2.30pm local time to call off the qualifying sessions, meaning that the starting grids for each race will be based on the combined times from the three free practice sessions.
In MotoGP Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) will start from pole position, his seventh of the season, with Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) completing the front row. The Italian himself started from pole at Motegi in 2009 after the qualification session was cancelled in similar circumstances.
The new MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo agreed that Race Direction had made the correct decision, "The conditions out there were very bad. With the wind and so much water on the track it would have been very hard to ride, so maybe it was better to cancel the practice. For us it's good because we have now taken our seventh pole position of this year, but maybe this was one of the easiest poles we'll ever get! Now we just have to see tomorrow what the weather does."
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team), Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will comprise the second row, with the top six all taking their positions on the starting grid courtesy of their times from Friday afternoon's practice. Returning from his collarbone injury, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will start from 12th position with his countryman Carlos Checa, in to replace Mika Kallio at Pramac Racing, set to start 17th in his first GP since 2007.
In the Moto2 class Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up) will start from pole for the first time this season, ahead of Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar), Toni Elías (Gresini Racing) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP), meaning the Turkish rider will start his first Grand Prix from the front row. Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up), who is battling Simón for runner-up spot in the Championship, will start from down in 35th place.
In the 125cc class Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) will head up the grid for the third time this year, with fellow Brit Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol), rookie Alberto Moncayo (Andalucia Cajasol) and one of the three riders still able to win the 2010 title â€” Nico Terol (Bancaja Aspar) â€” on the front row. Championship leader Marc Márquez (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) â€” who could claim the title this weekend â€” and the third rider still in the fight for the 125cc crown Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) will start from 11th and 12th respectively. All three title rivals have crashed out in the rain at least once this weekend making Sunday's race even more riveting should it be under wet conditions.
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