By just 0.045s
Casey Stoner's excellent form onboard his Desmosedici GP7 so far this year has earned him a 44 point World Championship lead at the summer break and his superb performance in qualifying at the last round of the 2007 season at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix also
took him into the lead in the BMW M Award standings.
The race to win a BMW Z4 M Coupe sees the BMW M Award for best qualifier go to the competitor with the lowest cumulative qualifying time after the 18 Grand Prix events of 2007 and also includes the times from the 40 minute practice ‘qualifying session' at Jerez in the official pre-season test.
Indeed for the fastest time in that single live televised session in Jerez there was a one-off prize a BMW Z4 M Coupe won by Valentino Rossi, with a second car to be presented at the end of the season for the rider with the lowest cumulative qualifying time.
Rossi's excellent qualifying performances earlier in the season onboard his 800cc Yamaha M1, aided by the highly rated Michelin qualifying tyres at his disposal, had seen him build up a 2.387s gap over Stoner in the BMW M Award classification after qualifying at Donington – but Stoner's superb race performances and the MotoGP pole ‘jinx' had kept the Aussie ahead of his Italian rival in the World Championship itself.
Since Donington, in the rain at Assen and subsequently at Sachsenring and Laguna, Stoner has also made up that plus two second gap with a second place qualifying finish and two poles – to take the lead over Rossi by just 0.045s.
With Stoner breaking the so-called MotoGP pole jinx at the US Grand Prix, as he enjoyed a perfect weekend – topping the timesheets in every session and winning the race from the top spot on the grid – the Ducati Marlboro man will be hoping to extend his BMW M Award advantage in the seven remaining World Championship rounds.
DORNA / CAPSIS International