LE MANS (France): American Colin Edwards, riding a Yamaha, upstaged world championship leader Casey Stoner with a late burst to snatch pole position at the French motoGP yesterday.
Edwards clocked a record time of 1:33.616 around the 4.180-km Le Mans circuit to beat the Australian Ducati rider by 0.094 seconds in his last timed lap.
Spaniard Carlos Checa steered his Honda to third place, 0.243 off the pace, to kick seven-times world champion Valentino Rossi out of the front row of today's starting grid.
Yamaha rider Rossi, who is trailing Stoner by 15 points, posted the fourth fastest time after struggling during the morning's final free practice.
Defending world champion Nicky Hayden of the United States struggled to seventh 0.631 adrift of Edwards. In the 125cc category, Italian Mattia Pasini, riding an Aprilia, snatched his fourth consecutive pole in a best time of 1:43.111.
It's a good result, of course but I now have to do the same during the race, said Pasini, who has collected only six points from five GPs.
British teenager Bradley Smith steered his Honda to second 0.458 seconds behind Pasini. The riders will share the front line with Japanese Honda rider Tomoyoshi Koyama and Spaniard Hector Faubel on an Aprilia, who finished third and fourth respectively.
World championship leader Lukas Pesek of the Czech Republic and closest rival Gabor Talmacsi of Hungary will both start from the second row. Reuters