Misano Adriatico, Italy:MotoGP championship leader Casey Stoner won the pole position on Saturday for the San Marino Grand Prix, edging seven-time motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy.
The Australian covered the 4.18-kilometer (2.6-mile) Misano circuit in 1 minute, 33.918 seconds on his Ducati in the only qualifying session for Sunday's race. It was his fourth straight pole and fifth of the season.
Rossi clocked 1:34.094 on his Yamaha for second place. Defending MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden of the United States was third on his Honda in 1:34.469, and Randy Puniet of France was fourth on his Kawasaki in 1:34.506.
"We have a very good set up for the race," the 21-year-old Stoner said. "I wasn't expecting to be on pole but we arrived there, so I'm happy."
Stoner was also fastest in Saturday morning's revised two-hour free practice session, while Marco Melandri of Italy, who set the pace on Friday, survived a spectacular crash.
Melandri was catapulted from his bike after losing control on the slippery track. The Honda rider, who was already nursing neck and ankle injuries that ruled him out of the Czech GP two weeks ago, bruised his pelvis but was otherwise unscathed. He returned to finish 12th in qualifying.
Friday's second session was canceled after torrential rain flooded the track.
Stoner, who is seeking his eighth win of the season, leads the overall standings with 246 points after 12 races. Rossi is second with 186 points and Dani Pedrosa of Spain is third with 168.
In the 125cc class, Lukas Pesek of the Czech Republic clinched his first pole of the season on his Derbi with a time of 1:43.370, followed by championship leader Hector Faubel of Spain, Mattia Pasini of Italy, and Gabor Talmacsi of Hungary, all of whom were riding Aprilias.