Stoner on pole for Valencia Moto GP season finale

VALENCIA: Australia''s Casey Stoner of Ducati on Saturday secured pole position ahead of Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo in qualifying for Sunday''s season-ending MotoGP Valencia Grand Prix.

Stoner, who won on the Ricardo Tormo circuit here last year, will start from the front for the 22nd time in his career and the 18th time in MotoGP.

The Australian led from the eighth minute of the session and only Lorenzo looked capable of trumping him.

Valentino Rossi, who has already been crowned 2009 MotoGP champion, was fourth fastest ahead of the American Colin Edwards.

"I’m really happy, everything’s gone really well and we’ve been quickest in every session," said Stoner, who is bidding for a third successive win after missing three rounds with fatigue.

"We’ve made small improvements to the bike each day. The only problem we’ve got now is the pretty windy conditions, which is making it very difficult to ride and understand where the limit is.

"I lost the front (of the bike) a few times on the last qualifying tyre, but there‘s no way we’re going to be pushing that hard in the race."

Having secured his first ever Grand Prix win at Valencia in the 125cc category in 2003, Stoner was victorious last year in the premier class at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit here.

A third successive win would be the perfect way to round off the year for the 24-year-old.

"It’d be a nice end to the season we’ve had so far," Stoner added.

"It’s definitely not gone the way we wanted it to, but I’m very happy with the way things have gone so far in this last period, and we’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings."