In soaking conditions here at the imposing 5.340km Istanbul Park track,
Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) put his machine on the front row of the
grid for the first time this season behind poleman Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki)
and ahead of third fastest qualifier Sete Gibernau (Ducati).
Nicky HAYDEN(Repsol Honda Team)
Casey STONER(Honda LCR)
With constant rain sheeting from the skies, Hayden was set on giving
himself every chance of victory in tomorrow's 22-lap showdown by riding
every lap as if it were his last. The American displayed all his fighting
qualities to put in a fastest lap just 0.206 seconds shy of the pole time.
Hayden and Vermeulen were the only riders to break through the 2m 04 second
barrier while the field grappled with the tricky conditions. Although Loris
Capirossi (Ducati) had been fastest in the morning warm-up session, the
Italian series points leader could not hang onto the quickest time as the
hour-long session ticked away.
He had to be happy with fourth fastest time at the head of the second row
of starters in front of John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Randy de Puniet
(Kawasaki). Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) is the next best Honda
qualifier in seventh, followed by Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) who was
The conditions seemed to be too much for Fortuna teamsters Toni Elias
(Fortuna Honda RC211V) and Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) who could
only manage 12th and 14th. Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V)
split those two as 13th fastest man.
But much focus remains on the plight of rookie Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda
RC211V) who struggled to adapt to the wet track and crashed without injury
in the morning session. Pedrosa will start from the sixth row after
achieving a best lap of 2m 10.956 seconds - 6.624 seconds down on the pole
In a chilly 12 degrees, with the saturated track surface at just 15
degrees, this was a tough session for all. Even current World Champion
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) is outside the top ten qualifiers in 11th on row
four. His teammate Colin Edwards is the fastest Yamaha rider in ninth.
Hayden and Vermeulen looked the most comfortable on track but with the
weather set to improve for tomorrow's race the morning warm-up session may
yet prove critical in terms of riders finding a workable race set-up.
"I'm not really happy," said Hayden, who ran wide going into the final
combination on his last hot lap. "I screwed up that last quick lap. My goal
was the front row and I've achieved that but the mistake was disappointing.
I tried to brake a little deeper and maybe I could still have just put the
bike in there, but I didn't. Rain or shine, tomorrow's going to be a tough
Stoner continued his steady progress in MotoGP in his rookie year with
seventh fastest time and said, "The track conditions were terrible this
afternoon and we were struggling for rear-end grip. We need to improve the
wet weather set-up because we couldn't get the rear to hook up and we need
more feedback from the tires too."
Roberts, in tenth, said, "I saw a lot of people making mistakes out there
in the wet and I made big mistake on my fast lap when I ran over the curb.
Regardless of the wet we have been trying to get a better balance for the
dry but the rain put a stop to that. We're now going to look at the wet
set-up we had for today and see where we can improve."
Elias, in 12th, said, "They were two very difficult sessions. In the
morning I did not feel comfortable on the bike, although things did get
better in the afternoon, but not enough to get me up into the top five.
Despite my position, I think we improved a lot in the afternoon which means
I will go into the race in confident mood."
Tamada said, "My feeling with the bike in wet track conditions improved
during the session. We could try different solutions for the rear tire but,
with a completely wet track, the best solution has remained the one we
closed this morning with. Tomorrow, during the warm-up, we we'll try to get
a better feeling with the rear tire which needs to be better in the long
left-hand corner at the beginning of the third sector."
"I'm a little disappointed after my performance yesterday as I expected
more. The bike was working quite well but I could not find the rhythm I
wanted and tomorrow I will start from the fifth row. In preparation of the
race I spent a lot of the session trying different rear tire compounds and
tomorrow we'll decide according to the weather conditions. The start
tomorrow will be very important, but the truth is the straight here is very
short which makes overtaking difficult. It will be an interesting race,"
Pedrosa said, "Today hasn't gone too well for me. I don't feel like saying
so much about today because this morning I crashed. And then in the
afternoon I qualified 16th on the sixth row of the grid - too far from the
leaders, so I'm not happy about it. When I crashed I just tried to brake
and I was completely upright so it's very strange, the front wheel just
locked. I am struggling with grip and I am trying to find more."
Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) continued his domination of the 250cc
class with his third consecutive pole of the season. Alex de Angelis
(Aprilia) qualified second fastest with Honda men Andrea Dovizioso
(Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) and Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda
RS250RW) third and fourth.
Sebastian Porto (Repsol Honda RS250RW) is gradually putting his qualifying
performances together this season and the experienced Argentine rider
managed a ninth fastest time here today. His teammate Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol
Honda RS250RW) qualified 14th.
"I would have liked to push harder," said Dovi. "But when I was okay with
the set-up of the bike it begun to rain more strongly. I risked crashing a
couple of times, so I decided to slow down as it was useless to push
further. Anyway, I'm confident for tomorrow, we are okay both for dry and
His teammate and fellow front row starter Takahashi said, "Unfortunately, I
crashed out also this morning at the end of the free practice, and I'm not
so happy about it. Anyway, this afternoon we worked mainly on tyre choice
for tomorrow and actually I think we have found what we need if it rains."
Porto said, "We made some changes in the afternoon that did not yield the
results we expected. Let's see what happens tomorrow. If it rains, I think
that we'll be able to do a good job and if it doesn't, it'll be a mystery.
We'll always look for improvement and tomorrow, during the race, we'll try
to be as much in the front as possible, as always."
Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) is in charge of the 125cc grid with a second pole
of the season. The Spanish rider qualified ahead of his teammate Mattia
Pasini, 0.350 seconds down on the pole time in second.
The fastest Honda qualifier is again Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda
RS125R) in sixth. He said, "I'm not so happy about the bike in the wet, in
particular the suspension settings. I have no grip and my Honda keeps
sliding even on the straight, while in the corners I have a problem with
the front. If it's raining tomorrow, we have to make some adjustments
during the warm-up as it's very difficult to ride with this set up."
Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) qualified 11th fastest and
said, "We found a good base set-up in the free practice and first
qualifying session. My times were fast but I needed a good slipstream to
improve but I didn't find one so I set my fastest time alone. We're making
progress step-by-step we just have a few small things to look at before the
warm-up but I am happy."
Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 13th quickest and
15-year-old rookie Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) managed 26th at his
first visit to this track.
Toni ELIAS(Fortuna Honda)
Andrea DOVIZIOSO(Humangest Racing Team)
Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd:
"I felt really good out there today.
I'm happy with the front row start and I'm happy with my confidence. It
felt like I could make a mistake and my laptime would still be faster so
I'm pleased about that. My goal for the session was to be on the front row
but I'm not happy with myself for making that mistake in the last split -
it was a club-racing move. I knew I had a good lap going and I went through
the fast 5th gear corner quicker than I had before in the wet, and then I
tried to brake a little deeper into the next corner but it was never going
to work! I was actually looking forward to a wet qualifying session at some
point because we've done a lot of testing in the wet over the winter. But I
was hoping for a wet one on a weekend where I was stuggling, and having
been fastest in the dry yesterday I was hoping it wouldn't rain today.
We're going to bring all we've got for tomorrow."
Casey Stoner, Honda LCR: 7th:
"The track conditions were terrible this
afternoon and I struggled for rear-end grip so we still need to improve the
set-up for race, especially if it is raining. I couldn't get the rear tyre
to hook-up and drive forward and hopefully we can find a set-up that will
give me more feedback from the tyres. At one stage I followed Chris
Vermeulen and looked good, riding like he was on a 250cc bike."
Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 10th:
"I saw a lot of people making mistakes
out there in the wet and I made big mistake on my fast lap when I ran over
the curb. Regardless of he wet we have been trying to get a better balance
for the dry but the rain put a stop to that. When we ran that set up in the
wet we were running 2m 19s laps. So we went back to the set up we had at
the wet test at the Barcelona and ran 2m 07s. But we still have to improve
the bike running into the corners. We are now going to analyse the wet set
up we had for today and see where we can improve. We are testing at the
races and that's hard, unless you are in perfect shape. We came here with a
few things to dry but the wet stopped us, that's the second time its
happened this season."
Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 12th:
"They were two very difficult sessions. In
the morning I did not feel comfortable on the bike, although things did get
better in the afternoon, but not enough to get me up into the top five.
Despite my position, I think we improved a lot in the afternoon which means
I will go into the race in confident mood."
Makoto Tamada, Konika Minolta Honda Rider: 13th:
"My feeling with the bike
on wet track conditions has improved during the official qualifying
session. We could try different solutions for the rear tyre but, with a
completely wet track, the best solution has remained the one we closed this
morning session with. Tomorrow, during the warm up, we would have to try to
ameliorate the feeling with the rear tyre which is not sufficiently good in
the long left corner at the beginning of the third sector."
Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 14th:
"I am a little disappointed after my
performance yesterday as I expected more. The bike was working quite well
but I could not find the rhythm I wanted and tomorrow I will start from the
fifth row. In preparation of the race I spent a lot of the session trying
different rear tyre compounds and tomorrow we will decide according to the
weather conditions. The start tomorrow will be very important, but the
truth is the straight here is very short which makes overtaking difficult.
It will be an interesting race."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 16th:
"Today hasn't gone too well for me.
I don't feel like saying so much about today because this morning I crashed
- it was a human mistake - but still I crashed. And then in the afternoon I
qualified 16th on the 6th row of the grid and this is too far from the
leaders, so I'm not so happy about it, but I tried maxiumum. When crashed I
just tried to brake and I was completely upright so it's very strange - the
front wheel just locked. All the time I am struggling with grip and I am
trying to find more - that is why I'm so far back on the grid. Tomorrow
it's almost certain to be raining too, so we'll just have to try to finish
the race and get more experience in the wet.."
Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Racing Honda: 3rd:
"I would have liked to push
harder, but when I was okay with the set up of the bike it begun to rain
more strongly. I risked to fall down a couple of times, so I decided to
slow down as it was useless to push further. Anyway, I'm confident for
tomorrow, we are okay both for dry and wet conditions."
Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Racing Honda: 4th:
"Unfortunately, I crashed out
also this morning at the end of the free practice, and I'm not so happy
about it. anyway, this afternoon we worked mainly on tyre choice for
tomorrow and actually I think we have found what satisfied me in case of
Sebastian Porto, Repsol Honda: 9th:
"Unfortunately we haven't been able to
improve the time set yesterday, which isn't bad, as I said yesterday, but
the bike didn't work so well and we had a lot to improve today.
Unfortunately the rain hindered us from doing so, but at least we were able
to work on the wet, and this morning things went quite well. We made some
changes in the afternoon that did not have the results expected. Let's see
what happens tomorrow. If it rains, I think that we'll be able to do a good
job and if it doesn't, it'll be a mystery. We'll always look for
improvement and tomorrow, during the race, we'll try to be as much in the
front as possible, as always."
Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda: 11th:
"I like riding in wet conditions. The
bike is OK the engine is very good. I'm working very hard with the
mechanics on the suspension because we have a small problem with the rear.
Step by step we are getting the chassis to work as we want it to so I'm happy."
Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 14th:
"Today I had my first experience with
Dunlop tyres on wet conditions, because last year I raced on other tyres,
so I had no reference at all as regards their behaviour, but I'm happy,
because their performance is really good. I hope for similar conditions
tomorrow, because if it rains, I do not dismiss a good result. If it is a
dry race, then it will be a bit more complicated to make a good race. Let's
see what the weather has prepared for us tomorrow."
Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: 21st:
"This morning was not good for us the
bike was not easy to ride and I didn't have a good feeling with it in the
wet. For qualifying we had to change the suspension settings, especially
the rear. It worked for me and the grip is very good. Now I could run with
the best riders in the fastest group in the wet."
Martin Cardenas, Wurth Honda BQR: 22nd:
"Today as OK for me and I felt good
out there in the wet. Yesterday didn't go well for us and Ii didn't get in
many laps. I had an engine problem and that cost me track time my grid
position because of it. I am confident I will have a good ace but I will
have to make a good start."
Jordi Carchano, Stop and Go Racing: 25th:
"Yesterday in the dry we were
quite good and I felt good on the bike. Today in the wet I had a better
feeling but I have a little work to do on the front suspension in the warm
up. I think it will be a difficult race tomorrow if it is wet."
Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 6th:
"I'm not so happy about the behaviour
of the bike on wet, in particular of the suspension setting. I have no grip
and my Honda keeps sliding even in the straight, while in the corners I
have a problem with the front. If tomorrow is going to rain, we have to
make some adjustments during the warm up as it's very difficult to ride
with this set up."
Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 11th:
"We found a good base set up in the free
practice and first qualifying session. My times were fast but I needed a
good slipstream to improve but I didn't find one so set my fastest time
alone. I need to find close to a second but would have done with a
slipstream, so that's OK. The same today with the rain so we are ready for
a wet or dry race but of course I would prefer a dry race. We are making
progress step by step we just have a few small things to look at before the
warm up but I am happy with the set up we have."
Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 13th:
"I would have preferred a dry
session to improve my starting position and to check the bike, improved in
setting and engine. Nevertheless, if tomorrow it will rain, I can be fast
and get a good result."
Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: 15th:
"For the morning free practice we had
changed the setting of the gear box and we had to set up the bike in a
different way than yesterday because of the weather condition. We tried a
new setting with the suspensions which suited well under the rain. The
downpour was stronger for the qualifying session which made me happy since
I feel very comfortable in this condition. The engine of the bike Honda RS
125 'Kit HRC' was really satisfying and I felt confident on the machine.
Laps after laps I tried to break later and I realised the best lap time
with a gap of 1.5 seconds with the second rider M.Pasini."
Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 22nd:
"Fine, everything is OK with the bike, I
didn't have a problem all weekend. Engine is good, very good top speed.
Pity it rained because I could have improved my time of yesterday but we
have found a good wt set up so I'm happy with that. This is a track I like
and my bike handles really well I the wet or dry. I need a good start from
where I am on the grid."
Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 26th:
"For the limited amounts of laps I had,
I'm happy. It was the first qualifying ever in the rain and this is also a
new track so to ride in the rain was completely different and to find the
grip level was a bit difficult, but it was good, more or less. I still went
behind Luthi on one of my three fast laps. I was gauging myself against him
but not really riding so fast. When I came in we changed the rear sprocket
so I had more rpm on the straight and I could get to sixth, so the bike was
a lot better. I had only two laps before the finish and I dropped maybe
three seconds of my normal time so I think that if we would have had more
laps it would have been better for me. I think tomorrow's conditions will
be rain, and at the moment I would prefer a wet race than a dry race
because I think I could do much better in the rain. Let's wait and see. We
just have to get a good start and see what happens."
Lorenzo Baroni, Humangest Honda: 27th:
"This morning everything was quite
good and we were able to sort out part of the front problems, which slowed
me down during yesterday practice. On the wet, though, we are not at 100%
and in the afternoon session I didn't want to take any risk."
Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 33rd:
"I have to realize the tyre
limits on the wet. it was an hard session and I preferred to make
experience and not to take any risk."
Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 30th:
"Not so lucky this week. I crashed
at Super Motard during the week and cracked my scaphoid. It was OK in the
morning but hurts a little after that cold session. Yesterday I broke a
wheel adjuster and had to stop loosing time. I was about 13th at the time
so the problem held me back a little. But I am riding with confidence now,
I have a better feeling than yesterday. The bike is good for the race, we
just have a couple of small things to change. I had a small crash at the
end of qualifying but it was my own fault - I hit the white line a slid off."
Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 37th:
"That was not so bad. The bike is good,
my engine is fast. The only problem I have is that I can't hold my line in
a few corners, I run wide. But we know what we have to do before the warm
up in the morning. It will be better to have a dry race because I think the
first few corners will be a problem with all the water spraying from the
riders in front of me. I need a good start tomorrow, especially if it's wet."