MotoGP > MotoGP Round 13: Malaysia GP > Qualifying
MotoGPMalaysiaSeptember 9, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 13
Malaysia Grand Prix at SEPANG Qualifying

Hayden On Front Row As Rain Ruins Qualitying

Race Results >>

The timed MotoGP qualifying session was cancelled due to torrential rain here in Malaysia and the grid for tomorrow’s will be formed from the order riders finished in the three free training sessions. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) will start from pole, with second fastest man Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) alongside him and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) completing the front row.



Nicky HAYDEN(Repsol Honda Team)


Kenny ROBERTS JNR(KR Honda)

The rain lashing the Sepang track was so heavy that even this circuit’s vast drainage ditches couldn’t cope with the deluge. Rivers of rainwater spumed across the asphalt and race control deemed it impossible to run the session in these conditions. The final 125cc and 250cc sessions were also cancelled, the first timed sessions in those classes deciding the grid order.

The most significant event besides the cancellation that deprived improving riders of elevating their grid positions is perhaps the injury sustained by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) on Friday when he high-sided his machine and injured his right knee.

Dani fell at turn 13 when he lost the front-end of his RC211V and then hit his knee on the kerb triggering a high-side that resulted in a visit to the medical centre for four stitches in the knee. But he is expected to ride tomorrow and will start from the second row of the grid as fifth fastest qualifier.

Nicky’s hard work paid off in what was to prove the last MotoGP qualifying session when he hoisted himself from 11th to what looked like a provisional second and what proved to be an eventual second when the elements conspired to finalise the provisional standings.

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) has sustained the fine form he and the Honda-powered Roberts machine have shown since Catalunya way back in June. He lines up on the second row as fourth fastest man here, albeit 1.293 seconds shy of Rossi’s pole time of 2m 00.605 seconds.

Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) starts from row three as ninth fastest man. The Italian title contender fell without injury in free training and will start the race knowing he has to keep the riders ahead if him in sight with a rapid getaway if he is to make the most of a race where he needs a podium at the very least to keep his Championship hopes alive.

Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) starts from the fourth row in tenth, while Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) qualified 13th and Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V) 14th.

But not all riders are happy with the method used to decide the grid for such a critical race in terms of the World Championship and Melandri is militating for an extended combined warm-up and qualifying session tomorrow morning. It is more likely, however, that the existing grid order will be retained.

Hayden said, “It’s good to be on the front row, especially if it rains. I think maybe the grid should have been decided on Championship points – no I’m joking. If I’d have been ninth I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so happy but perhaps we have to come up with something in the rule book to make things clear in this situation. Hopefully tomorrow we can make it up to the fans and put on a good show for them because there were some die-hard fans who waited around all day and got teased a few times when the bikes would fire up only for the session to be cancelled.”

Dani said, “This afternoon I think for the first time in my career the rain has brought me luck! I couldn’t have imagined starting from fifth position if it had been a dry qualifying session, so that was a big present for me. This morning I was just testing my performance on the bike – for sure it wasn’t 100 per cent but I was able to ride and change gear OK. It felt so-so – not really bad, but not so good either. I don’t know about my race pace. I think the bike set-up is about ready although I haven’t had time to test all the race tyres I would have liked to.”

Kenny “I’d been testing qualifying tyres in free practice for some time – everybody does. I did two laps on mine, though they’re only supposed to do one. But I don’t care where I start. Anywhere from the third row up is OK for me.
There was nothing special this morning. We expected to have another session, so nothing really came out of it. We’re going to race the same bike I was third on yesterday afternoon, on race tyres.”

Marco said, “It was a strange day. I’m disappointed because during the three practice sessions we worked in preparation for the race only using race tyres. I would have preferred to decide my grid position on track, that’s why I have suggested extending tomorrow’s warm-up by an extra ten minutes so that we could do warm-up and qualifying. I respect the Race Direction's decision but I have been penalized because I didn’t use qualifying tyres this morning.”

“This is an unfair decision,” said an unhappy Stoner. “It’s ridiculous that I’m starting tenth when I never finished tenth in any session. This morning some riders in front of me used a qualifying tyre and I was sixth until they went faster. So now I’m starting on the fourth row when I should be on the second row. I was fifth at the end of Friday when everyone was on race tyres. It’s been frustrating, as we did not have a base setting for this track and took some sideways steps with the set-up, rather than forwards. I had some leg cramps yesterday but I used my upper body more in practice today, so hopefully that will help in the race.”

“I’m sorry the qualifying session was cancelled,” said Tamada. “I wanted to run wet or dry, and I was really tired waiting to start. This morning we tried new tyres from Michelin and on my second lap I was already running a 2m 03s lap – I was amazed how quick I was. On the third lap I decided to go for my best time but at the uphill T11 I crashed. Before that my time was very good. I then had to take my spare bike out but the swinging-arm is different and that gives the bike a completely different feeling. I want the race to be dry tomorrow – if it is I’ll get a good result.”

Elias said, “This morning we did a good job focusing on suspension and chassis. Unfortunately this afternoon we couldn’t confirm any improvements. I’m sorry because without the afternoon practices I couldn't improve my grid position. Tomorrow I will start from the fifth row, which makes my race very difficult, but I’ll do my best to get a good result.”

In the 250cc class Hector Barbera (Aprilia) secured his second pole of the season ahead of his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, with Hiro Aoyama (KTM) third fastest and Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW), the only man in the hunt for the World Championship who is still realistically capable of denying Lorenzo the prize, qualified fifth fastest and heads the second row.

Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) and his team-mate Martin Cardenas (Repsol Honda RS250RW) qualified seventh and eighth fastest while Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) will line up on the third row as ninth fastest qualifier.

Dovi said, “This morning we tried new solutions but the feeling wasn’t good so during tomorrow’s warm-up we have to put together Friday and Saturday’s data and find the best set-up to use in the race. I am confident, though, because we can still improve. Today it would have been great to test in these weather conditions as the forecasts are not good. But if the Race Direction thought it was safer for the riders to stay in the pit garage, then I fully agree with their decision.”

Takahashi agreed with his team-mate. He said, “Actually I’m happy they cancelled this afternoon’s qualifying session because the track conditions were very bad and I don’t want to take any risks. I’m still not 100% and so I wouldn’t have done too many laps in order not to work my left arm too much. Tomorrow it will be a tough race for me, I’ll try to keep focused as much as I can and hopefully the track conditions will be better.”

Series points leader in the 125cc class Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) clinched his fifth pole of the season ahead of Mika Kallio (KTM) and other front row qualifiers Mattia Pasini and Joan Olive (both Aprilia).

The best Honda qualifier was Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) who was eighth fastest, 2.232 seconds adrift of the pole time. Sandro Cortese (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) qualified tenth, Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) 12th, while reigning World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) managed the 16th fastest time for a fourth row start.

Lai said, “I like this circuit. In the morning I did a good session thanks to the cooler temperature. I had to improve in T3 but the bike was OK and I was optimistic. But in the afternoon my Honda suffered in the muggy weather. Now I am two seconds from the pole but the first Honda.”

Talmacsi said, “Tomorrow I’m going to start from the same position I had in Brno’s starting grid and this could bring me good luck. But this time, though, it will be more difficult to get on the podium as I struggled a lot during the previous two sessions and this morning we didn’t solve the problems. Anyway, we know what we have to work on and if the warm-up is dry we can make a step forward in set-up.”



Dani PEDROSA(Repsol Honda Team)


Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2nd.
“I felt a lot better today than yesterday – we made some changes overnight that really helped. Hopefully we can continue in that direction tomorrow and be strong in the race. It’s good to be on the front row, especially if it rains. I think maybe the grid should have been decided on championship point – no I’m joking. If I’d have been ninth I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so happy but perhaps we have to come up with something in the rule book to make things clear in this situation. Hopefully tomorrow we can make it up to the fans and put on a good show for them because there were some die-hard fans who waited around all day and got teased a few times when the bikes would fire up only for the session to be cancelled at 4.15. We’ve still got a little work to do to be on the pace tomorrow, but we’ll use the warm up and give it all we’ve got in the race.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 4th.
“I’ve been testing qualifying tyres in free practice for some time … everybody does. I did two laps on mine, though they’re only supposed to do one. But I don’t care where I start. Anywhere from the third row up is okay for me. There was nothing special this morning. We expected to have another session, so nothing really came out of it. We’re going to race the same bike I was third on yesterday afternoon, on race tyres. I went to the safety meeting, and everybody said it was too dangerous. I didn’t go out in the safety car, but everybody’s pretty intelligent round here, and you could see the spray from the car how much water there was.
I think they are going to work on the drainage tonight. It doesn’t look like it’s working at the top part of the track, where the water is running across the track. They were pulling mud out from there. A torrential downpour is one thing, but after it’s over and it’s postponed for 15 minutes, then those rivers should stop. The rest of the track is quite dry now. That’s just one more thing that we need to learn from this, in the riders’ Safety Commission, and from the organisation side … that the first thing you do at any circuit is clean the drains out.”

Kenny Roberts Senior, team owner.
“We’ve been trying qualifying tyres in free practice ever since we started qualifying good. Before that we’d put them on at the end of the qualifying session and the bike would chatter so bad it was slower than on race tyres. You need to get the bike working on qualifiers before the final session. Because we did that, Junior qualified well today.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th.
“This afternoon I think for the first time in my career the rain has brought me luck! I couldn’t have imagined starting from fifth position if it had been a dry qualifying session, so that was a big present for me. This morning I was just testing my performance on the bike – for sure it wasn’t 100 per cent but I was able to ride and change gear ok. It felt so-so – not really bad, but not so good either. I don’t know about my race pace. I think the bike set-up is about ready although I haven’t had time to test all the race tyres I would have liked to. Tomorrow morning I will have to practice the start because I have some pain in both legs, and also I’m very small which won’t help. Tomorrow I will see how I feel to make a decision if I have to have any painkillers before the race. I’ll do my best. I have to say thank you to everybody because I have received a lot of help, especially in the Clinica Mobile because they are taking good care of me, and my team has worked very hard too.”

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 9th.
“It was a strange day. I’m disappointed because during the three practice sessions we worked in preparation of the race using always race tyres. I would have preferred to decide my grid position on track, that’s why I have suggested to extend of 10 minutes tomorrow the warm up so that we could have done warm up and qualifying. I respect the Race Direction’s decision but I have been penalized because I didn’t use the qualifying tyres this morning”.

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: 10th.
“This is an unfair decision. It’s ridiculous that I am starting tenth when I never finished tenth in any session. This morning riders in front of me used a qualifying tyre and I was sixth until they went faster. So now I’m starting on the fourth row when I should be on the second row -- I was fifth at the end of Friday when everyone was on race tyres. It has been frustrating, as we did not have a base setting for this track and took some sideways steps with the set-up, rather than forwards. I had some leg cramps yesterday but I used my upper body more in practice today, so hopefully that will help in the race.”

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 13th.
“I’m sorry the qualifying session was cancelled I wanted to run wet or dry, I was really tired waiting to start. This morning we tried new tyres from Michelin and on my second lap I was already running a 2m 03s lap, I was amazed how quick I was. On the third lap I decided to go for my time attack but at the uphill T11 I crashed. Before that my time was very good. I then had to take my spare bike out but the swinging-arm is different and that gives the bike a completely different feeling. I want the race to be dry tomorrow, if it is I will get a good result.”

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: 14th.
“This morning we did a good job focusing on suspensions and chassis. Unfortunately this afternoon we couldn’t confirm our work. I’m sorry because without the afternoon practices I couldn’t improve my grid position. Tomorrow I will start from the fifth row which makes my race very difficult. I’m sorry but I will do my best to get a good result”.


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 5th.
“This morning we tried new solutions but the feeling wasn’t good so during tomorrow’s warm up we have to put together Friday and Saturday’s data and find the best set-up to use in the race. I am confident, though, because we can still improve. Today it would have been great to test in these weather conditions as the forecasts are not good. But if the Race Direction thought it was safer for the riders to stay on the pit garage, then I fully agree with their decision”.

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 7th.
“This has been a very, very strange day. I’m going to start from the second row tomorrow but I actually was expecting to improve today, so I’m not really happy. Moreover, we haven’t been able to finish setting up the suspensions because we haven't had enough time. We only had two sessions yesterday and the rain showed up during this morning's session as well. At least we were able to decide on the tyres this morning. We just needed more time to work on everything, so I’m a little bit worried. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, we’ll try to finish up some things during the warm-up if we can; and I obviously hope for a dry race.“

Martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“It has been a rather unusual day. It started to rain at the end of the morning session and then they cancelled the afternoon session, so they are taking the times set yesterday. But I had a good position yesterday, second row, actually my best qualifying so far, so I'm happy. I don’t think that the fact of not being able to practice more is bad for me, it’s actually the same for all of us. Since I had made a good qualifying yesterday, there’s no problem. We have a good set up and we tested some tyres in the morning that we think will be the ones for the race, so we have everything ready.”

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 9th.
“Actually I’m happy they have cancelled this afternoon’s qualifying session because the track conditions were very bad and I don’t want to take any risks. I’m still not 100% and so, anyway, I wouldn’t have done too many laps in order to not force too much my left arm. Tomorrow it will be a tough race for me, I’ll try to keep focused as much as I can and hopefully the track conditions will be better”.

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 13th.
“Yesterday we had a problem with rear wheel grip. We tried many tyres but I was sliding all the time. We also had a small engine problem, the bike was not so good on acceleration. We changed the cylinder and it was very good this morning. We also found a tyre that worked for me so I’m happy because I was eighth fastest this morning, in front of two factory bikes, I was only four kilometres down on the best top speed. My team have given me a good bike for the race but I know I cannot race with the official factory bikes here. My aim is to get a good start and try and stay with the fast factory bikes for a few laps and hope they take me away from the group.”

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: 16th.
“Yesterday was the first time I had seen this track and I was a little bit lost out there on the wide corners but I got better as the day went on. The engine is good and the chassis setting is not so bad. The only real problem is the rear end I just don’t have enough rear wheel grip. I’m not happy with my 16th place on the grid I should be better but losing the second qualifying session to the rain really held me back. Now I have to confirm a few things in the warm up.”

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing: 19th.
“This is my first race at Sepang and yesterday I didn’t know the circuit so good. But I like the track its so wide and you can get into the corners real fast. In the qualifying practice I broke an crankcase oil seal and I didn’t make much progress learning the track. We fixed the engine problem and it is now very fast again. Up until now we have been using the standard tyres from Dunlop but today they gave us a different set, the same as Espargaro uses, and I was immediately 1.7s faster than in the qualifying session. Now I need some dry time to get an even better feeling with the bike with the new type tyres.”

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda: No qualifying time will start from back row of the grid.
“Not a very good situation for me. Yesterday I broke the engine after only three laps and didn’t get a qualifying time. Because of the rain today I had no chance to qualify so I have to start from the back of the grid. That’s a great pity because this is my favourite track and I know I can do well here. But you never know, many times you can have a good result from a bad position on the grid. The engine OK this morning and the chassis set up is good. If the engine is good in warm up and I get a good start we will see what we can do.”


125cc:

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 8th.
"I like this circuit. In the morning I did a good session thanks to the cooler temperature. I had to improve in T3 but the bike was ok and I was optimistic. But in the afternoon my Honda suffered the muggy weather. Now I am 2 second from the pole but the first Honda on the provvisional grid

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 10th.
“Yesterday everything was good for me. I really like this place so many different corners and some with fast entry speeds. The engine was fast and I quickly found a fast consistent rhythm. Then I went to the box and we changed some small settings on the engine and suspension and I went out and set my fastest lap running alone. We improved the bike more this morning after working on the suspension.”

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 12th.
“Tomorrow I am going to start from the same position I had on the starting grid at Brno and this could bring me good luck. But this time, though, it will be more difficult to get on the podium as I struggled a lot during the previous two sessions and this morning we didn’t solve out the problems. Anyway, we know where we have to work and if the warm-up will be on dry we can do a step forward in the set-up”.

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 16th.
“I am really happy. We made a big step forward in free practice this morning, particularly on the suspension. At the end o the session I said to the team ‘leave the bike in the same specification for qualifying and I will do well, I think we are ready to race.’ In the morning warm up I can be conservative all I have to do is find a good rhythm ready for the race.”

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: 21st
“Today was a particular day. This morning, the weather conditions were rather good and it allowed me to focus on my path and I could realise good lap time. I improved of O.5 second from the lap time I realised last year during the first qualifying session, in which I got the pole position. I finish the free session in 12th place with a time of 2’14’’863.Unfortunately a torrential rain prevented us from doing a good qualifying practice. So the classification remains the same than yesterday. I’m disappointed because I could have been better positioned on the grid if I could ride like this morning.”

Esteve Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: 26th.
“This is my first time at Sepang and its already a favourite circuit for me. The bike is really fast here I was second fastest top speed yesterday. I had a problem with the front tyre in qualifying, something wrong inside with the construction, it felt funny but I had to keep going to try and get a good time. But it got worse and I crashed. Now I need more time to learn the fastest lines but I have to wait until the warm up to see if I can improve the bike. I really need to have a good race result here.”

Michele Pirro, Humangest Honda: 27th.
“This morning I was able to improve compared to yesterday and so I was confident to move up in the starting grid. Unfortunately, though, it rained and the track is so wet that it is impossible to go out. Actually, it would be better for me to race on wet conditions but not with heavy rain like today; in this condition you can only drive a rubber dinghy rather than ride a bike!”.

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World:33rd.
"As usual this year I have to learn a new track as soon as possible. I used the 10-12 laps of each session to learn the best lines and to follow other riders who have a riding style like mine. There are many similar curves where is important not to miss the line… Tomorrow I will improve my performance".

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 35th.
“The bike is really good and I had third fastest top speed in one session. I am trying to learn the fast line round the circuit and the best set up. I had hoped to try some changes this afternoon but the rain stopped that.”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: Will not race due to injury sustained at Czech Republic GP.


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 13
Malaysia Grand Prix at SEPANG Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Camel Yamaha Team)
2 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
4 Kenny ROBERTS JR(Team Roberts)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Sete GIBERNAU (Ducati Marlboro Team)
7 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
9 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)
10 Casey STONER (Honda LCR)
11 Colin EDWARDS (Camel Yamaha Team)
12 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
13 Makoto TAMADA (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
14 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
15 Carlos CHECA (Tech 3 Yamaha)
16 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
17 Alex HOFMANN (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
18 James ELLISON (Tech 3 Yamaha)
19 Jose Luis CARDOSO (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
 
250cc
1 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Aprilia)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
3 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM GP 250)
4 Roberto LOCATELLI (Team Toth)
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)
6 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
7 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
8 Martin CARDENAS (Repsol Honda Team 250)
9 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Humangest Racing Team)
10 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Equipe GP De France - Scrab)
 
125cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
2 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
3 Mattia PASINI (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
4 Joan OLIVE (SSM Racing)
5 Hector FAUBEL (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Nicolas TEROL (Derbi Racing)
7 Lukas PESEK (Derbi Racing)
8 Fabrizio LAI (Valsir Seedorf Racing)
9 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Malaguti Ajo Corse)
10 Sandro CORTESE (Elit - Caffe Latte)
 


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