MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 02: Spanish GP > Qualifying
MotoGPSpainMarch 24, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 02
Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez

Dani Takes A Firm Grip In Spain With ‘Home’ Pole

Race Results >>

The MotoGP class served up a typically hard-fought hour of qualifying with Spanish sensation Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V) powering to pole here in Jerez. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) qualified second fastest with another Spanish star Carlos Checa (Honda LCR RC212V) completing the front row.



Nicky HAYDEN,Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)

With the 4.423km track notoriously sensitive to temperature changes, grip was not at the level provided during tests here earlier in the month when times were well up on last year’s. Dani’s pole time is 0.388 seconds slower than Loris Capirossi’s 2006 pole mark of 1m 39.064 seconds.

The track surface was at 24 degrees, ambient temperature at 40 degrees as the 800cc machines began the hour. Casey Stoner (Ducati) got things moving with a swift early lap of 1m 40.903 to head the timesheet until the halfway point. Rossi and yesterday’s quick-man Checa lay second and third fastest.

Dani, who had been parked in 13th spot opened the real attempts at pole with a 1m 40.899s time to grab the number one slot with 26 minutes gone. Rossi then responded by firing his machine to the second fastest time before the Kawasaki team launched Randy de Puniet out of pit lane with a qualifying tyre on for the Frenchman to put in a 1m 40.523s lap to take pole from Dani.

His team-mate Olivier Jacque slotted into a provisional second place before the bulk of the field began to pit for qualifiers with 15 minutes of the hour remaining. With 12 minutes left Stoner sped to a 1m 39.940s lap - good enough for pole - but only for now. John Hopkins (Suzuki) snatched second spot with Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC212V) now temporarily third fastest.

With ten minutes left on the clock things got serious with Marco Melandri (Team Honda Gresini RC212V) rocketing to second and then Rossi grabbing pole with a 1m 39.765s time. Then Colin Edwards (Yamaha) put in a 1m 39.765s lap to head the proceedings and it seemed many men had the speed to figure at the front of the rankings.

With five minutes left on the clock, the order was Edwards, Rossi, Melandri, Stoner, Pedrosa and Hayden. But Qatar winner Stoner had some more speed left to dial in a 1m 39.524s lap and go pole again. Then Rossi intervened with a 1m 39.453s time and as Hayden shot to fourth and Hopkins to third, Dani was on a hot lap…

The clock stopped at 1m 39.402 seconds and try as the rest of the grid might, no one had the legs on the homeboy. It’s a significant pole for Dani - and with Rossi second fastest and Checa completing the front row - the race promises to be a firecracker of a contest. Just 1.003 seconds covers the first 16 riders. It is also the closest the top ten riders have been on a grid in the entire history of the premier class.

Dani said, “The race set-up we have for the bike is quite good and the tyre choice looks OK as well so we’ll have to see how their performance continues over the race distance. The times are very close so a good start will be very important tomorrow. The crowd was amazing today. On the last lap coming into the pits I was more relaxed and I could actually notice how many people there were. It’s great for the Spanish riders and the others to have so much support and I think the atmosphere tomorrow will be very special.”

Checa said, “This front row is a very good feeling, especially for my home race. Predictions are difficult but if the weather and track are the same for the race as in practice, then we have a very good set-up, and a chance to fight for the podium. The LCR team has done a great job, especially to give me more confidence with the front-end. And until today I have struggled with a lot of chatter on the soft rear qualifying tyre but, with the support of Michelin, we have made a lot of progress in this area.”

Shinya Nakano, seventh fastest on row three, said, “That was so much better than yesterday! Overnight the team explained what my problem has been. I think that maybe I was pushing too hard in some areas. From the data and by following some of the top guys I could see that something was missing from my technique with this new 800cc bike. I was losing a little confidence, but then I could see that I was entering the corners way too fast and then as a result I could not get on the throttle early enough. As soon as I stopped trying so hard and relaxed a little the times improved.”

Toni Elias (Team Honda Gresini RC212V) qualified eighth quickest and said, “I’m happy to confirm the improvements we made. And I’m happy with the lap time, only two-tenths of a second off pole, but not happy with my grid position on the third row. Our target was the first or second row so I have to make a good start and follow the front guys but that depends on the rhythm they set. My pace is quite good but I’m not sure how fast the race pace will be.”

“I’m very happy with the bike,” said his team-mate Melandri in eighth. “This morning we made a long run on race set-up, about 13 laps, and I was quite fast. With the qualifying tyres we made a big step forward from Qatar and the IRTA test. The first qualifying tyre was good and I was confident I would improve my performance with the second qualifying tyre but I used up too much rubber too quickly and lost time at the last corner where I didn’t have enough grip. Tomorrow’s race will be between a few riders not just Pedrosa and Rossi.”

Kenny Roberts (Team Roberts KR212V), whose team has now acquired three new sponsors, managed ninth for a third row start. The American former World Champion said, “We’re three tenths off pole, and on the fourth row! It could have been worse, but I'm proud of the guys. And we’re better off than we were in Qatar. At least we were able to shine when everything was right on Friday. We have to keep plugging away and hopefully the sponsorship stuff kicks in. Everything looks good and the bike looks fine. I think it’s going the right direction.”

Reigning World Champion Hayden is having a troubled start to his title defence. He qualified 11th fastest and said, “We’ve made some improvements with the bike today and the feeling is pretty good. I wasn’t totally satisfied with my qualifying laps and of course I’m definitely a little disappointed with my grid position - 0.4s doesn’t sound like a long way off but right now in this league at this track it’s a lot. It’s frustrating to be this far back especially knowing how tight it could be on the first lap - you’ve got to be smart in turn one, but you can’t go in there tip-toeing either.”

In the 250cc class Honda battler Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team RS250RW) hauled himself onto the front row of the grid as fourth fastest man behind Jorge Lorenzo on pole, Hector Barbera (Aprilia) second fastest and speedy 125cc graduate Julian Simon (Repsol Honda 250 RS250RW) third fastest.

The two Honda men are just over half a second off the pole time and should be well in contention tomorrow if they can get off the line in close contact with their Aprilia rivals. Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda 250 RS250RW) qualified eighth fastest for a second row start.

An injured Simon, after a qualifying tumble, said, “The team has made a great job. I have to thank them for what they've done both in Qatar and here, because they have taken care of me and have been trying to help me to ease the pain of my collarbone on the bike. And we are managing to do so. The main target for tomorrow is finishing the race and withstanding the pain, because despite the good results in practice the race may be very hard for my shoulder.”

Dovi said, “I had many problems all day today in practice and qualifying - always setting around 10th best time. Then on the last lap my time was good enough for fourth place - that was a big surprise to me. The truth is I am not in good shape here, the front-end is not as good as I need it to be and I have a little problem finding traction. This has probably got a lot to do with me not liking this track too much.”

Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) secured pole in the 125cc class. The Italian rider was fastest in yesterday’s session and today he turned in a best lap of 1m 47.245s to head the field in qualifying. Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) qualified second fastest with Lukas Pesek (Derbi) third on the grid and Sergio Gadea (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) is the best Honda qualifier in 11th, with Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) 16th fastest, Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) lining up as 19th fastest rider and Mike di Meglio (Scot Racing Team RS125R) qualifying 20th despite a huge crash in the final five minutes of the session today. He broke a collarbone however and will not ride tomorrow.

Smith said, “My feeling with the bike is good, even on a cold track I set good times. In the afternoon I could have been better but it’s OK. The track conditions were not so good in qualifying as before and I’m not quick enough to adjust to changing conditions yet. I’m on the third row, like at Qatar, but I hope for a better start here than I got there.”



Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250)


Andrea DOVIZIOSO(Scot Racing Team)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 1st:
“I think we did a good job and I’m very happy to have qualified on pole position of course, though the really important thing is to be on the front row - that was our main aim today. The race set-up we have for the bike is quite good and the tyre choice looks ok as well so we’ll have to see how their performance continues over the race distance. I don’t think there’s any extra pressure that comes from being on pole position but the times are very close so a good start will be very important tomorrow. The crowd was amazing today. On the last lap coming into the pits I was more relaxed and I could actually notice how many people there were. It’s great for the Spanish riders and the others to have so much support and I think the atmosphere tomorrow will be very special. I hope I can make a great start and fight for the win.”

Carlos Checa, Honda LCR: 3rd:
"This front row is a very good feeling, especially for my home race. Predictions are difficult but if the weather and track are the same for the race as in practice, then we have a very good set-up, and a chance to fight for the podium. The LCR team has done a great job, especially to give me more confidence with the front-end. And until today I have struggled with a lot of chatter on the soft rear qualifying tyre but, with the support of Michelin, we have made a lot of progress in this area. "

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 7th:
“That was so much better than yesterday! Overnight the team explained what my problem has been. I think that maybe I was pushing too hard in some areas. From the data and by following some of the top guys I could see that something was missing from my technique with this new 800cc bike. I was losing a little confidence, but then I could see that I was entering the corners way too fast and then as a result I could not get on the throttle early enough. As soon as I stopped trying so hard and relaxed a little the times improved. From seventh on the grid the start will be so important and if I make a start like I’ve made during practice then we should be able to get away with the top riders. Race pace will be low 1m 41s I think, so maybe I need to improve by a couple of tenths. I want to have a good race as my father is over from Japan to watch me!”

Toni Elias, Team Honda Gresini: 8th:
“I’m happy to confirm the improvements we made. Happy with the lap time, only two-tenths of a second off pole but not happy with my grid position on the third row. Our target was the first or second row so I have to make a good start and follow the front guys but that depends on the rhythm they set. My pace is quite good but I’m not sure how fast the race pace will be. We are still improving and working hard with Bridgestone and we are confident we will improve at the next races.”

Marco Melandri, Team Honda Gresini: 9th:
“I’m very happy with the bike. This morning we made a long run on race set up, about 13 laps, and I was quite fast. With the qualifying tyres we made a big step forward from Qatar and the IRTA test. With the first qualifying tyre I was good and I was confident that I would improve performance with the second qualifying tyre but I used up too much tyre too quickly and lost time at the last corner where I didn’t have enough grip. Tomorrow the race will be between a few riders not just Pedrosa and Rossi. The only problem will be in the warm up. With the clocks going back it will be like 8.45 and the bike will feel very different in the race! I’m not 100% fit yet - my fever is less than this morning but I am still having trouble breathing.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr, Team Roberts: 10th:
“That was more difficult than it looked. We’re at 100 percent capacity within our group, but sometimes we don’t have enough manpower to pick up on things. We think there was an error made going into qualifying with the rear suspension. According to the computer, it wasn’t sitting where it should. The guys picked up on it halfway through the session, but I was already on my good tyre and had already done everything up until qualifying at that point. They made an adjustment, and I was able to do one lap, and it felt like it was in the right position, so then we just jumped right into qualifying.”

“I shouldn’t be in this position after what we were able to do Friday, but everybody in this garage is trying 100 percent. We’re three tenths off pole, and on the fourth row! It could have been worse, but I’m proud of the guys. And we’re better off than we were in Qatar. At least we were able to shine when everything was right on Friday. We have to keep plugging away and hopefully the sponsorship stuff kicks in. Everything looks good the bike looks fine. I think it’s going the right direction.”

Kenny Roberts Senior: Team Owner:
“We’re living up to our sponsor - in Las Vegas, sometimes you win, sometime’s you lose. We were fourth, until the last splits. But with 15 guys within one second, it doesn’t take much to change your place. All in all, after Qatar, we’re back in touch.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 11th:
“We’ve made some improvements with the bike today and the feeling is pretty good. I’m wasn’t totally satisfied with my qualifying laps and of course I’m definitely a little disappointed with my grid position - 0.4s doesn’t sound like a long way off but right now in this league at this track it’s a lot. It’s frustrating to be this far back especially knowing how tight it could be on the first lap - you’ve got to be smart in turn one, but you can’t go in there tip-toeing either. Nonetheless I’ll be trying to get an awesome start and ride hard for 27 laps and try to move forward. I’m due for a good start so I’ll be banking on that tomorrow. I haven’t got any excuses on the qualifying laps - I didn’t hit traffic though the last laps I didn’t get perfect. ”

250cc:

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda 250: 3rd:
“The practices have been good so far. The team has made a great job. I have to thank them for what they've done both in Qatar and here, because they have taken care of me and have been trying to help me to ease the pain of my collarbone on the bike. And we are managing to do so. The main target for tomorrow is finishing the race and standing the pain, because despite the good results of the practices the race may be very hard for my shoulder. But I’m motivated with the third place and I hope to be in the leading group tomorrow - just like during the practices - and finish the race the best I can.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Scot Racing Team: 4th:
"I had many problems all day today in practice and qualifying always setting around 10th best time. Then on the last lap my time was good enough for fourth place -- that was a big surprise to me. The truth is I am not in good shape here, the front end is not as good as I need it to be and I have a little problem with finding traction. This has pobably got a lot to do with me not liking this track too much."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda 250: 8th:
“It’s not been very good. The settings of the bike and the engine were the same as yesterday and the feelings were also the same, but I haven't been able to improve my laptimes. I think that the problem is my riding style. We will work with the telemetry this evening to see if we can see were we can improve looking at the data. As regards the tyres, we’ll have to see tomorrow’s weather conditions to decide which tyre will fit best. ”

Yukio Takahashi, Scot Racing Team: 15th:
"Compared to Qatar Jerez is hard work for me. My right foot has little feeling and when it touches the track I don't always feel it. Today I tried to change my riding style a little to help. Usually I square off some of the corners at this track but now I am running smooth lines through the turns to help improve my feeling on the bike."

Ratthapark, Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 19th:
"I'm satisfied with today's result as I was convinced I could dip under the 1m 46s mark. The session was a bit more complicated than usual as we had some problems with the carburettor, but the team was able to solve the issue promptly. On my last run I was able to make significant progress. The set-up of the bike for the race is quite good; my goal is to improve every day and tomorrow I will try to get into the point-scoring positions."

Eugene Laverty, Honda LCR: 25th:
"This morning's crash was a big highside between turns three and four, I just made a silly mistake. I improved my times this afternoon but I still have a problem with rear end grip, I know I can do better."

125cc:

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 11th:
“My lap time and my feelings are better. This morning was positive; we managed to be quite fast despite the cold. I might have done better in the afternoon, but I’m happy. It’s true that I’m a bit further away from the front row than expected, but the track conditions weren’t as good as before. I’ll be starting from the third row tomorrow, like in Qatar, and I really hope to make a better start, to be able to stay with the other riders. Let’s see if I manage to set a good pace and stay in the group and make a good race.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda:16th:
“I’m fairly disappointed for this first European Grand Prix because my first day of practice was very positive after I managed to qualify tenth. But today, in the closing stages of the session we didn’t anticipate enough on our tyre choice. I’m finally 16th on the grid after qualifying 15th for the seasons opening race in Qatar, but here the lap times are closer. It’s going to be tough tomorrow. Tonight we will keep working on the chassis set-up in order to further improve my lap times in tomorrow morning’s warm-up. For the race It’s extremely important that I have a good start, in order to keep pace with the leaders.”

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 19th:
“This morning was good and we were able to make a good job. But I was eager to do things right in the afternoon and we had several problems that hindered me from being fast. I hope to be able to solve everything tonight to make a good race tomorrow.”

Mike Di Meglio, Scot Racing Team: 20th:
Di Meglio crashed heavily on the 10th lap of final qualifying sustaining a badly gashed chin that required hospital treatment. He will not race tomorrow.

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 30th:
“I had a crash and could not better my time qualifying today. I hit my team-mate (Joey Litjens) I got a better drive off a corner than Joey did and clipped the rear end of his bike. Pity because my bike was really good in that session. We had improved the set up with a few suspension changes and the engine was really good. I’m a long way back on the grid so I’ll need a good start. But I have raced here before and like the track. ”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 31st:
“I was half a second faster today than at the IRTA test last month so I am happy about that. I made my best times alone I just didn’t find anybody to slipstream. On my fast lap I made a mistake coming into the two fast right hand corners near the end of the lap, I accidentally downshifted two gears instead of one.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 02
Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
3 Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)
4 Colin EDWARDS (Fiat Yamaha Team)
5 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7 Shinya NAKANO (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
8 Toni ELIAS (Team Honda Gresini)
9 Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini)
10 Kenny ROBERTS JR (Team Roberts)
11 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
12 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
13 Alex BARROS (Pramac d'Antin)
14 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
15 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
16 Olivier JACQUE (Kawasaki Racing Team)
17 Makoto TAMADA (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
18 Alex HOFMANN (Pramac d'Antin)
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
20 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
 
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
2 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
3 Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Scot Racing Team)
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar)
6 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
7 Roberto LOCATELLII (Metis Gilera)
8 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda 250)
9 Alex DEBON (Aprilia Racing)
10 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia)
15 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Scot Racing Team)
 
125cc
1 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
2 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar)
3 Lukas PESEK (Valsir Seedorf Derbi)
4 Sergio GADEA (Bancaja Aspar)
5 Hector FAUBEL (Bancaja Aspar)
6 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 125)
7 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Campetella Aprilia)
8 Simone CORSI (Skilled Racing Team)
9 Pablo NIETO (Blusens Aprilia)
10 Sandro CORTESE (Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia)
 

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