02/07/11 - 12:55
Italy Grand Prix
Autodromo del Mugello • Qualification


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We'll be back for the race at 1pm UK time on Sunday afternoon for the race itself - see you then!


Huge congratulations to Casey Stoner: his blistering lap has stolen Valentino Rossi's three-year-old lap record around Mugello. It's a shame Lorenzo couldn't recreate his stunning pace from practice, and Stoner will have a superb chance to extend his lead in the championship tomorrow afternoon.


Simoncelli crosses the line in the pouring rain at 187mph... Gotta love the guy, that's the fearlessness which has put him on the front row for the past six races.


The clock ticks down to zero, and with the rain pelting down now the remaining riders come slowly back to the pits, waving to the crowds as they go round. Nice touch - and great to see the riders head out to give the fans something to watch in the wet. Casey Stoner, fittingly, is just about the last man out there.


So, Casey Stoner will start on pole position, with Ben Spies second and Marco Simoncelli third. Is it just us or are you also delighted to see Simoncelli right in the thick of it for the start of the race? He might be slightly unhinged, but he doesn't half make things exciting.


Cal Crutchlow is also out there as well - you'd think that a man who is nursing a dodgy shoulder would avoid the banana skin of wet riding!


The main man that the crowd have come to see is one of those out there: Valentino Rossi, who is delighting the damp crowds by speeding round on a set of wet tyres.


A couple of riders are headnig out onto the track to get a bit of wet track practice in ahead of tomorrow's race - the forecast is similar to today's so that's not a bad idea.


Not quite sure why the fans at Mugello are hanging around in the stands and on the banks around Mugello still, but they are. Not much more going to happen this afternoon...


The rain is properly chucking it down; crash helmets are off and the riders are laughing and joking in the pits.


It's really coming down now, folks: even if it stops, the track will probably be too greasy for anyone to do anything to catch Stoner. But after that incredible lap, it's doubtful anyone would have matched him yet anyway.


Stoner was really on the edge on his flying lap: his knee was thumping into the floor on practically every corner.


Every single rider is now in the pits, with Cal Crutchlow looking fairly happy to give his shoulder a rest.


Plenty of colourful brollies in the Italian crowd: pinks, blues and yellows. Lots and lots of yellows...


The official rain flag is being shown right now. That could be the end of the meaningful action for a few minutes - and indeed it could effectively end the session right there.


The track is deathly quiet right now, though one or two riders are taking the opportunity to put in a few laps. Randy de Puniet is out right now, but lapping four seconds or so off Stoner's pace.


Doesn't look like much rain, but must just be enough to get everyone a bit nervous.


Looks like Lorenzo has mistimed it: looks like rain is starting, and everyone is slowing right down.


That weather is still holding off as Lorenzo finishes his out lap.


Here we go: Lorenzo is back out, can he get up to the top?


After that flurry of stunning laps - including Stoner's all-time two-wheeled lap record - things have calmed down again as many of the riders come back into the pits to take stock.


Ben Spies now on a hot one - and he's lept up to second, though only just ahead of Simoncelli.


Rossi is stuck down in 12th, still struggling...


Simoncelli is now over four tenths behind Stoner - the Aussie is untouchable right now, but surely Lorenzo will have something to say about this before the session ends.


Crutchlow leaps up to fifth - but here comes Stoner! And he's posted the fastest ever lap on a motorbike at Mugello! It's a 1:46.034!


Stoner's on another stormer of a lap - and Cal Crutchlow is also flying...


Stoner is on a blistering lap - and he's grabbed pole position! He's pipped Simoncelli by less than a tenth!


Dovizioso leapfrogs into second! But here comes Stoner....


Dovizioso is first of the pole challengers back out on the track as the riders return for their second bites of the cherry.


The weather is holding for now... let's hope the rain stays off.


With the first quarter of the session out of the way it's looking good for Simoncelli - can he atone for his crazy riding in recent weeks with another pole?


Dani Pedrosa pulls himself up to seventh, starting to get his feel back impressively now after his enforced 'holiday'.


Stoner second fastest at the moment, then Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Crutchlow, Spies, Hayden.


Rossi down in 11th and struggling - almost two seconds off the pace right now...


Simoncelli is on another flyer - and he's done a 1:48.668! He's grabbed pole position back from Stoner!


Casey Stone beats Simoncelli's time with a 1:48.8...


SIMONCELLI POSTS A STUNNER! Ths controversial Italian clocks a 1:48.909 to set the fastest time so far by more than a third of a second - and with the sky darkening all the time, that could prove to be an unbeatable target...


Dovizioso posts a quick lap, but here comes Simoncelli on a blazing lap! He's half a second up already!


The times are starting to pick up now, with Casey Stoner posting a fastest lap, then he's quickly overhauled by the least popular rider in the pit lane, Marco Simoncelli.


Crutchlow cheekily overtakes Rossi on his hot lap! The Italian lets it go, however, perhaps wary of another broken leg... not that broken bones have slowed Crutchlow recently.


Valentino Rossi heads out for a fast lap, and Cal Crutchlow is right behind him.


Dovizioso is nominal top of the timesheets at this early stage, but his 1:52.595 is nearly five seconds slower than Lorenzo - though the track is a little damp at the moment from a brief shower earlier.


Ticket sales have soared this year: Rossi on a Ducati has proven irresistible to local fans.


There are several riders straight out onto the track, but it's still just fairly gentle warming up at the moment with nobody putting in an angry lap.


The session gets under way in perfect conditions for a fast run: Jorge Lorenzo set a blistering pace this morning in practice, so expect fireworks here this afternoon.


Welcome to our LIVE coverage of today's MotoGP qualifying from Mugello.