MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 16: Portugal GP > Qualifying
MotoGPPortugalOctober 14, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril Qualifying

Hayden On Front Row For A Crucial Contest

Race Results >>

Qualifying for the penultimate MotoGP round of 2006 was a frantic affair resulting in series points leader Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) starting from the front row as third fastest qualifier behind Yamaha duo Colin Edwards second fastest and Valentino Rossi on pole.



Nicky HAYDEN(Repsol Honda Team)


Dani Pedorosa(Repsol Honda Team)

In bright, warm conditions with a track at 36-degrees and with a 25-degree ambient temperature it was Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) who was at instant ease with this 4.182km track. The only change made since 2005 has been resurfacing of the final 'Parabolica' turn onto the main straight.

Stoner topped the timesheet with a 1m 37.531s lap with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) second quickest and Edwards third after 15 minutes had elapsed. Nicky was working hard on race set-up and a series of broadslides out of the Parabolica showed just how hard the Kentucky Kid was working his RC211V.

Casey then upped the pace with a 1m 37.403s lap as Rossi climbed to third with 40 minutes of the hour session remaining. At the half-way point the order was Stoner, Pedrosa, Rossi, Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V), and then Nicky.

As the first of the field fitted qualifying rubber with 20 minutes of the hour to go it was Carlos Checa (Yamaha) who sped to the second fastest time, but he could not dislodge Stoner who then bested his own provisional pole time with a 1m 37.066s lap.

Nicky lay ninth with 15 minutes left until he turned a 1m 37.065s lap to steal the pole. But his dominance was short-lived as Rossi put in a 1m 36.627s time to hold number one slot. Then Dani pushed Rossi off the pole with a 1m 36.569s time.

Hayden was into the gravel at turn six in his bid to get back onto the head of the grid and with five minutes to go John Hopkins (Suzuki) hoisted himself to third while Rossi reduced his lap time to 1m 36.200s to retake pole from Dani.

In the dying minutes Nicky got back onto the front row as second fastest man again while Stoner elevated himself to fourth before Edwards snatched second relegating Casey to fifth.

Said Nicky, only 0.349s off the pole time, "On my second qualifier I had a good lap going - that Michelin was a little bit softer - and it felt pretty good, but I got into turn six a little deep and went straight on. So on my last qualifying lap I felt a bit of heat because I knew I couldn't afford to just completely let it hang out - I had to get in a good solid lap to try to get on the front row. This is definitely the best my bike has felt for a few races and I'm enjoying riding more this weekend than I have in a while. Tomorrow's race is going to be a shoot-out and I think all the fans at home should get ready for it and take the phones off the hook because it's going to be a good one."

Dani, heading row two as fourth quickest, said, "We did another good practice today and we were able to put in some quick lap times on race tyres. After qualifying we are at the front of the second row and this is a pretty good position to be in. I had some traffic in qualifying which meant I couldn't set my fastest lap, but this is normal sometimes. I think the last time I had traffic in qualifying was at Barcelona so I can't complain about it. The race is very long so we'll have to take care with the tyre choice - we still have to make the final decision."

Stoner said, "I made an honest mistake and I went to Dani and apologised but I still got fined USD$1,000 and I think it is very unfair. I know what I did wrong -- I just didn't think Dani and the other riders would catch me so fast on my slow down lap. I've never been charged for any bad riding in the past and now, after just one mistake, I get a fine. Apart from this, everything else has been going very well, we've just made small changes to the bike and I'm very comfortable at this track. I've come here with a relaxed attitude and feeling no pressure."

Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V) qualified 11th and said, "I'm not happy with 11th but it has been a positive day. My feeling with the bike has improved, the team has done a good job. I need a good start tomorrow to recover some positions as quickly as possible. I'm confident I can do that because I like this track a lot."

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V), 13th fastest, said, "There's not a lot to say. I tried three qualifying tyres and none of them really worked. I also made a mistake when I was caught in traffic so nothing was going for me today. I'm happy with my race pace - and if I wasn't 13th on the grid I'd feel much better. I just need a really good start."

The 14th fastest qualifier, Makoto Tamada, said, "I didn't do very well on the qualifying tyres I used today. On race rubber I'm not so bad. I changed the front and rear suspension and it was an improvement and I could run 1m 38s on race set-up - but I should have been faster on the qualifying tyres. I need a good start tomorrow."

Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V), who crashed yesterday injuring his knee, could only manage 15th spot on the grid. He said, "After my crash yesterday I feel a lot better than I thought I would. My knee hurts but only in the left-hand corners. The team is trying different set-up ideas and tyres trying to make up for the hour of practice I missed yesterday because of the crash. Basically I don't have enough grip to ride smoothly."

The 250cc qualifying session belonged to Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) who netted his first pole of the season ahead of Hiro Aoyama (KTM) who put in his best qualifying performance of 2006 so far with second on the grid. Marco Simoncelli was third fastest with series points leader Jorge Lorenzo completing the front row in fourth.

Honda men have a hold on the second row with Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) in seventh, just over half a second shy of the pole time of 1m 41.511s. Next to him is Aleix Espargaro (Wurth Honda BQR RS250RW) in eighth, then Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) heading row three as ninth quickest.

Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) managed the 12th fastest time while David de Gea, standing in for the injured Martin Cardenas, (Repsol Honda RS250RW), will start from row four as 13th best qualifier.

Dovi said, "I knew we all would have been very close today and so it was very easy to lose important positions. Anyway, I reckon it will be a close race especially in the first part, but we have a good pace and we are almost OK for tomorrow. Unfortunately, we struggle on acceleration; I had the chance to lap behind a KTM machine and exiting the curves they fly away as soon as they open the throttle."

Shuhei Aoyama said, "Today has been bad. There was so much traffic on the track. First I touched a slower rider and then I made a mistake in my fastest lap. Everything went wrong; I just wasn't able to make one good lap. My feeling with the bike is OK. I know that I can go much faster but there was just no way. We even managed to improve the set-up compared to yesterday and I'm feeling good on the track as well, so let's hope that things will work out better tomorrow during the race."

His team-mate De Gea said, "The truth is that things have worked out much better today. I have been able to improve my lap times every time I got on the bike. I'm happy, but I know that I can do better. I was hindered by another rider in the last section of my fast lap and I think that I had a good pace that would have boosted me up in the time sheets."

The 2006 World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) secured his seventh 125cc pole position in a season where he has reigned supreme. His team-mate Hector Faubel (Aprilia) qualified second fastest with Lukas Pesek (Derbi) third fastest and Julian Simon (KTM) completing the front row.

Bautista was always in command here and as a rider who has finished on the podium at every race bar one this season, this was no surprise. His best lap of 1m 45.322 seconds is a huge 0.7 seconds quicker than second fastest Faubel's time.

Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) was the best-placed Honda qualifier and the Italian will line up on the second row as sixth quickest. Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) qualified eighth for a second row start.

Mike di Meglio (FFM Honda RS125R) managed to make the ninth fastest time while 2005 World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) struggled to 16th on the grid. Rookie Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) qualified 20th.

Talmacsi said, "Despite losing some positions on the starting grid, I consider this second day of practice quite positive. We struggled a bit in turning the bike and I cannot open the gas early as I lose the right line. But generally I'm ready for tomorrow and the engine is competitive. I think tomorrow will be a tough race with many riders fighting together."

Luhti said, "Not so good! I have big problems with the suspension, particularly in the last corner. Everything else on the bike is good but we need to fix the suspension problem. The big problem is that you need to be fast in the last corner to get the drive down the straight - if we don't find a solution to the suspension problem in the morning warm-up I will have a difficult time tomorrow."

"The crash this morning unsettled me a little bit,"said Smith. "But then I went out again and set a good lap time, improving on yesterday. We were trying to improve the bike a little bit more but we made some mistakes."



Casey STONER (Honda LCR)


Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda, 3rd:
"On my second qualifier I had a good lap going - that Michelin was a little bit softer - and it felt pretty good, but I got into turn six a little deep and went straight on. So on my last qualifying lap I felt a bit of heat because I knew I couldn't afford to just completely let it hang out - I had to get in a good solid lap to try to get on the front row. For that lap I went back to the tyre I knew, which was a medium qualifier, and it felt good - I got in a decent lap. I'd hoped to have gone a little bit faster but this is definitely the best my bike has felt for a few races and I'm enjoying riding more this weekend than I have in a while. Tomorrow's race is going to be a shoot-out and I think all the fans at home should get ready for it and take the phones off the hook because it's gonna be a good one."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, 4th:
"We did another good practice today and we were able to put in some quick lap times on race tyres. After qualifying we are at the front of the second row and this is a pretty good position to be in. I had some traffic in qualifying which meant I couldn't set my fastest lap, but this is normal sometimes. I think the last time I had traffic in qualifying was at Barcelona so I can't complain about it. I appreciate that Casey came to the garage to say that he made a mistake and to apologise to me, so everything is fine. The race is very long so we'll have to take care with the tyre choice - we still have to make the final decision. I'll be looking for a good start tomorrow and to fight at the front."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda, 5th:
"I made an honest mistake and I went to Dani and apologised but I still got fined USD$1,000 and I think it is very unfair. I know what I did wrong -- I just didn't think Dani and the other riders would catch me so fast on my slow down lap. I've never been charged for any bad riding in the past and now, after just one mistake, I get a fine. Apart from this, everything else has been going very well, we've just made small changes to the bike and I'm very comfortable at this track. I've come here with a relaxed attitude and feeling no pressure."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda, 11th:
"I'm not happy with 11th but it has been a positive day. My feeling with the bike has improved, the team has done a good job. I need a good start tomorrow and recover some positions as quickly as possible. I'm confident that I can do that because I like this track a lot."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda, 13th:
"There's nothing to say, really. I tried three qualifying tyres, and none of them worked for me. I made some mistakes, or I'd run in to traffic or something. I'd be happy about my pace on race tyres, if I wasn't 13th. I've got to get a good start.

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda, 14th:
" I didn't do very well on the qualifying tyres I used today. On race tyres I'm not so bad I changed the front and rear suspension and it was an improvement and I could run 1m 38s on race set up but I should have been faster on the qualifying tyres. I need a good start tomorrow."

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda, 15th:
" After my crash of yesterday I feel a lot better than I thought I would. My knee hurts but only in the left handed corners. But that is not the problem the team are trying different set up ideas and tyres trying to make up for the hour of practice I missed because of the crash. Basically I don't have enough grip to ride smoothly.Tomorrow I hope to improve the bike and my feeling while riding. In the race I will not lack motivation and determination to do well."

250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda, 7th:
" I knew we all would have been very close today and so it was very easy to loose important positions. Anyway, I reckon it will be a close race especially in the first part, but we have a good pace and we are almost okay for tomorrow. Unfortunately, we struggle on acceleration; I had the chance to lap behind a KTM machine and exiting the curves they fly away as soon as they open the throttle. We need to have a perfect set-up of the bike in order to be really competitive and as it has been happening since the beginning of the season I have to recover in the braking points what I loose on the straight".

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 8th. " I feel good. In the last two races I had big roblems with my broken hand - I'm not Superman I needed to regain my confidence to go fast again without pain. The bike is incredible - the chassis is very, very good and the engine is fast. I have to thank the team for what they have done I am just behind Dovizioso on the factory Honda. In the last two races I couldn't push so hard but today I can be really good on the brakes and that has helped me a lot here. The most important thing is for me to have fun and be happy with the bike and I really am having fun today. The race will be difficult for sure, there are 12-13 riders within one second so I will need a good start to have a good Race."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda, 9th:
" Today has been bad. There was so much traffic on the track. First I touched a slower rider and then I made a mistake in my fastest lap. Everything went wrong; I just wasn't able to make one good lap. My feeling with the bike is OK. I know that I can go much faster but there was just no way. We even managed to improve the set-up from compared to yesterday and I'm feeling good on the track as well, so let's hope that things will work out better tomorrow during the race."

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda, 12th:
" During this morning free practice we worked hard on the set-up of the bike and eventually we found a good solution. So, in the afternoon we made just small changes but I wasn't able to take full advantage of the qualifying practice. I made a little bit of confusion this afternoon and in the last lap I lost time. But, generally, I have a good feeling with the bike and this is the most important thing".

David De Gea replacement rider for Martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda, 13th:
" The truth is that things have worked out much better today. I have been able to improve my la times every time I got on the bike. I'm happy, but I know that I can do better. I was hindered by another rider in the last section of my fast lap and I think that I had a good pace that would have boosted me up in the time sheets. But, well, I've only been eight hours on the bike, this is the just my second time after having been racing on a four-stroke machine so I can really be happy. Every time I get on the bike I get more and more used to it. I want to thank the whole team, the mechanics, my chief of mechanics and the people from Repsol for putting their trust in me. I hope to be able to give them a reason to be happy tomorrow and even more in Valencia."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing, 20th:
" This is my first time at Estoril and it's a difficult circuit to learn, particularly the last part from the chicane onwards. Yesterday I was running at 1m 45.3s and today I'm much better 1m 44s flat. I'm very confident, if I had been here testing in the winter it was possible to get a top 10 start position today, I was improving all the time. The bike is very good engine, chassis and suspension. I used a set of tyres with a different construction than I usually try. Sam compound but a two-ply construction instead of three-ply.I'm happy with my practice and qualifying."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR, 23rd:
" I never felt comfortable on the bike in qualifying I just could not find my rhythm. The bike is pretty good just a small adjustment to the suspension for the warm up. In the qualifying session I was alone and didn't find another rider to use as a reference."

125cc:

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World, 6th:
" Only few tenths separate me from the best Aprilia. apart from Bautista who, with the new Aprilia engine is really fast. The bike is ok and I could have reached the first row. During the race I'll be in the leading group but I hope it will be not to hot tomorrow because Honda prefer cold temperatures. My back and hand ache and it could be a problem during the race but I would like to finish my last 125cc season in the best way and there only two races left".

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda, 8th:
"Despite I lost some positions in the starting grid, I consider this second day of practice quite positive. We struggled a bit in turning the bike and for this I can not open the gas early as I loose the right lines. But generally I'm ready for tomorrow and the engine is competitive; I think tomorrow will be a tough race with many riders fighting together".

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda, 9th:
"This morning, I didn't feel so comfortable at the beginning of the free practice because of the crash occurred yesterday. Nevertheless, I quickly became confident and I easily did again my best lap time. I had a good feeling with the bike and we just modified the setting of the gearbox. As soon as the qualifying session started, I was in a good rhythm; I improved my lap time on my own and then I tried to catch a good wheel to follow. I improved during the entire session but the bike moved a bit so I entered the pit box to adjust the setting and to change tyres. When I returned on the track I was with Fabrizio Lai, my former team-mate in 2005 and I rode in 1'46''469.If I could have benefited of his aspiration in the straight line my lap time could have been better. However, today we improved a lot and on the track, I was at 200%. For tomorrow, the weather forecast announces downpours, which can let predict a promising race for our team."

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda, 15th:
" That was much better than yesterday - the gearbox ratios were not good for the track. Too short first gar and a couple of others too long. The suspension also needed work because the back end was moving around too much. We stiffened it up and I was much more comfortable and could get off the corners faster today. I have a good feeling with the front end and good engine power so I'm happy with my qualifying. I followed Pesek but we caught up to Ranseder and he slowed me but with Pesek 200 meters ahead of me I had a target to aim for."

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda. 16th:
" Not so good! I have big problems with the suspension, particularly in the last corner. Everything else on the bike is good but we need to fix the suspension problem. I set my time following Olive. I could stay in his slipstream and that was the only good slipstream I got. The big problem is that you need to be fast in the last corner to get the drive down the straight - if we don't find a solution to the suspension problem in the morning warm up I will have a difficult time tomorrow."

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR, 19th:
" The first time out in the qualifying session I followed Olive and I got a good lap time. The bike felt good, the chassis really good and I have a good engine. I came into the pit to put in new tyres and went out looking for a fast time and found Talmacsi.. On the second last lap I was too fast in turn three and ran off the track when I got back on track I followed Luthi on the last lap and set my fastest time. I hope to be in the top 15 tomorrow, I will be if I get a god start."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda, 20th:
"The crash this morning unsettled me a little bit but then I went out again and set a good lap time, improving on yesterday. We were trying to improve the bike a little bit more but we made some mistake. It was not a big problem but a problem, and that's why I couldn't go so much faster in the next session. This is actually why I finished twentieth but I think we have sorted the problem now, looking at telemetry and other things. We will try to improve again during the warm-up. The race is later, and that's nice because I can watch the races before, and learn where I can pass, because I need to pass many riders tomorrow and go from there."

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World, 32nd:
"I like this track but I make some mistakes and I'm too slow in curves. Probably the set up doesn't help me. We will see tomorrow what will happens during the race!"

Kazuma Watanabe, Humangest Honda, 35th:
"This morning I made a big progress and I was able to lap with a good pace and I could understand better the character of this machine. In the afternoon, though, there were traffic and only in the last lap I found the track clear. I tried to push hard, but before the chicane the front of the bike start moving too much and entering the curve I lost the control of the front-end and crashed out. I'm okay, though, and tomorrow I'll do my best to get a good result."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Camel Yamaha Team)
2 Colin EDWARDS (Camel Yamaha Team)
3 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Casey STONER (Honda LCR)
6 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8 Sete GIBERNAU (Ducati Marlboro Team)
9 Carlos CHECA (Tech 3 Yamaha)
10 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
11 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
12 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
13 Kenny ROBERTS JR (Team Roberts)
14 Makoto TAMADA (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
15 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)
16 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
17 James ELLISON (Tech 3 Yamaha)
18 Alex HOFMANN (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
19 Jose Luis CARDOSO (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
20 Garry McCOY (Ilmor SRT)
 
250cc
1 Roberto LOCATELLI (Team Toth)
2 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM GP 250)
3 Marco SIMONCELLI (Squadra Corse Metis Gilera)
4 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
5 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Aprilia)
6 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)
8 Aleix ESPARGARO (Wurth Honda BQR)
9 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
10 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Equipe GP De France - Scrab)
12 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Humangest Racing Team)
13 David DE GEA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
 
125cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
2 Hector FAUBEL (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
3 Lukas PESEK (Derbi Racing)
4 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
5 Mattia PASINI (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Fabrizio LAI (Valsir Seedorf Racing)
7 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Malaguti Ajo Corse)
8 Gabor TALMACSI (Humangest Racing Team)
9 Mike DI MEGLIO (FFM Honda Grand Prix 125)
10 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
 

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