MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 03: Turkey GP > Qualifying
MotoGPTurkeyApril 21, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park Qualifying

Rapid Dani On Front Row For Tough Turkish Task

Race Results >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) showed both speed and resolve to put himself on the front row as third fastest qualifier with only Valentino Rossi (on pole) and Colin Edwards ahead of him (both Yamaha).



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

In a hard-fought hour of qualifying Dani made sure he gave himself every chance of a strong result in tomorrow’s 22-lap race by staying at the sharp end of the timesheet. And it’s conceivable the Spanish star might have headed the grid had he not run into traffic while on schedule for a possible pole time.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) was much less comfortable than Dani in this session and for much of the time he was way off the pace, languishing as far down the order as 19th with just ten minutes to go. But the reigning World Champion showed typical fighting spirit to haul himself up the order to sixth for a second row start.

In sunny conditions with the track at 34 degrees and ambient temperature a comfortable 20 degrees, riders peeled out of pit-lane to tackle this imposing 5.430km track. As has become a regular feature of qualifying Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) was the first to make the early running before Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) and then Loris Capirossi (Ducati) upped the pace.

Rossi showed he’d be in contention and Dani and Casey Stoner (Ducati) were in the early reckoning too. At the halfway point riders continued to circulate at a likely race pace before the switch to qualifying rubber began and again de Puniet was the first to make the move.

The order was de Puniet, Rossi, Stoner, Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), then Capirossi and Dani. Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) and Nicky lay 15th and 16th at this stage. And with 15 minutes left de Puniet still led the field. But the major runners had yet to perform. Stoner and Rossi then upped the pace, their times dipping into low 1m 53s bracket. Edwards made his bid for the front row elevating himself to third in the order as the final ten minutes of action began to unfold.

The American’s team-mate Rossi then circulated at 1m 52.795s to record the fastest lap shatter Sete Gibernau’s 2005 qualifying record by 0.461 seconds. This was 0.8 seconds faster than Dani’s best so far, but the young Spaniard, who lay second fastest, had more to produce.

Scorching towards a probable pole time, Dani was unintentionally baulked by John Hopkins (Suzuki). The American has a deserved reputation as one of the hardest rider to pass on the brakes and try as Dani did, he could find no way past the Suzuki man despite being visibly faster. But the front row should be good enough for Dani to figure at the front in the early stages of the race.

This track, notoriously hard on front tyres, posed problems for the rest of the Honda riders with only Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) figuring in the top ten qualifiers and even then only as 10th fastest man. His best time of 1m 53.835s is more than a second shy of the pole mark.

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) managed the 12th fastest time for a fourth row start, Melandri, who has twice won here in the premier class, could only qualify 14th. Checa ended up 16th, while Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR212V) struggled to 18th.

Dani said, “I think everybody had quite a lot of traffic at the end of the session because there were many riders going for a fast lap, so it wasn't just a problem for me. Without this I think I could have been a little faster, but I’m on the front row which is the important thing for the start of the race. Also, I’m in a much better position than last year when I was right at the back.”

His team-mate Hayden, sixth fastest, said, “That's the best I’ve qualified this year so it’s nice to be starting up near the front. It would be good to get one of the starts I had at the last race in Jerez and get stuck in there, though my race pace hasn’t been as fast as I’d like which means it could be a chore tomorrow. We’ve made some changes to the bike to improve things and a big thanks goes to the team because they’ve definitely been working hard this weekend, changing a lot of things and working long hours.”

Elias, in 10th place on the grid, said, “Tenth is a real handicap for the race but I’ll just try and get a good start, stay calm and make up as many positions as I can. I’m quite happy because I set a good pace and this is the important thing. I’ll try and make the most of the hard-braking areas to pass people and I’m confident I can do it. The team is working well and we have a clear idea about tyre choice. I’m just disappointed I couldn’t make better use of the qualifying tyre.”

“We changed so much in the morning,” said 12th fastest Shinya Nakano. “Adjusting the suspension settings, springs and spring rates as well as the tyres. Try as we might we couldn’t get a very good feeling from the bike until this afternoon when things began to feel more positive. It’s not perfect, but it has improved a lot. Tomorrow we will change a few things for morning warm-up, not great big steps, but hopefully we can find some small improvements. I still can’t carry the corner-speed I want which is our problem at the moment, but we will be trying 100% and I’m hoping to get into the top 10 at least by the chequered flag.”

Melandri, in 14th spot, said, “It's been a difficult day because I haven’t managed to find the right feeling with the bike. I’m not confident enough to push hard and get the best out of the bike. We’ve done a lot of laps and the tyres are holding out well but we tried a few different solutions with the bike set-up and didn’t find the improvement we need. The team is working really well though and in the warm-up we’ll try going back to the set-up we had on Friday.”

Checa, in 16th, said, “For sure from 16th position on the grid the main thing I can do is overtake some riders! Overall today was positive but qualifying was disappointing. I am very satisfied with my race set-up and tyre choice, but the big handicap is starting so far behind. However I have a lot of confidence that I can recover many positions and I’m confident of my braking points for overtaking.”

Roberts, down in 18th, said, “We took a big gamble here, fitting swingarms substantially different to anything since the first Honda Team Roberts bike. It’s an area we think is related to a grip problem. It seems to help, but it creates other problems. The change is the right direction. It’s just now a matter of trying to get the bike to work with those swingarms. We’re just a little off the pace, but a long way off in position.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) spoiled Jorge Lorenzo’s so far perfect record of two poles and two wins in the 250cc class when he grabbed pole from the reigning Spanish World Champion with a lap of 1m 57.473s. Lorenzo (Aprilia) lines up alongside as second fastest man with Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) third fastest and Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) made row two as seventh quickest qualifier while Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) and Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) start from 11th and 12th in tomorrow’s 20-lap race.

Dovi said, “I am really happy with this pole position. The bike is really good. I have a problem with the rear tyre but
so do all the other riders. The chassis is good and the front tyre too and I’m confident we’ll have a good rear for the race. Today we improved lap by lap and eventually took pole position. Normally I work towards getting the bike perfect for the race and not chasing pole position so I am very happy to be on pole for tomorrow.”

Mattia Pasini scorched to pole in the 125cc class ahead of Hector Faubel who qualified second fastest, Simone Corsi third fastest and with Gabor Talmacsi completing the front row (all Aprilia).

Pasini had set the early pace in this second timed session, but Talmacsi had shown he too had the speed to figure at the front of the grid. At the halfway stage of this final half-hour stint the Hungarian headed the grid with a 2m 05.374s lap.

Faubel too temporarily led the field and with three minutes left it seemed as if his 2m 04.951s time might be enough to secure him pole, but Pasini had the last say in the matter with a 2m 04.722s time that no one could better.

Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) was the best Honda qualifier in 13th for a fourth row start, while Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified in 19th place.

Smith said, “A bit of a disaster really, I only managed to get in about three or four really good laps. I guess it was my own fault because I was waiting for a fast rider to get a tow. I needed help on the straight because we were a little down on power this afternoon. The handling is good. It was slightly better in the morning session but we know what we have to do with the chassis set-up. Maybe I can knuckle down to a good pace in the morning warm up.”



Toni ELIAS (Team Honda Gresini)


Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Scot Racing Team)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd:
"I think everybody had quite a lot of traffic at the end of the session because there were many riders going for a fast lap, so it wasn't just a problem for me. I slowed up and tried to get some free space for my lap but Hopkins came in front of me and I was with him for the whole lap. Without this I think I could have been a little faster, but I'm on the front row which is the important thing for the start of the race tomorrow. Also, I'm in a much better position than last year when I was right at the back. Hopefully I can make a great start and get away well because the first corner here is very difficult. Our bike set-up is quite good and the Michelin tyres too, so I hope I can have a good race tomorrow."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 6th:
"That's the best I've qualified this year so it's nice to be starting up near the front. It would be good to get one the starts that I had at the last race in Jerez and get stuck in there, though my race pace hasn't been as fast as I'd like which means it could be a chore tomorrow. We've made some changes to the bike to improve things and a big thanks goes to the team because they've definitely been working hard this weekend, changing a lot of things and working long hours. And the Michelin qualifier worked well today which helped me. We changed the transmission around on the bike to try to increase the top speed but it didn't really help and we're still giving up a lot. Still, we'll come here tomorrow and try to make a good start and fight with those guys at the front."

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 10th:
"Tenth place is a real handicap for the race but I'll just try and get a good start, stay calm and make up as many positions as I can. I'm quite happy because I set a good pace and this is the important thing. I'll try and make the most of the hard-braking areas to pass people and I'm confident I can do it. The team is working well and we have a clear idea about tyre choice. I'm just disappointed I couldn't make better use of the qualifying tyre."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 12th:
"We changed so much in morning warm-up, adjusting the suspension settings, springs and spring rates as well as the tyres. Try as we might we couldn’t get a very good feeling from the bike until this afternoon when things began to feel more positive. It’s not perfect, but it has improved a lot. Tomorrow we will change a few things for morning warm-up, not great big steps, but hopefully we can find some small improvements. I still can’t carry the corner-speed I want which is our problem at the moment, but we will be trying 100% and I’m hoping to get into the top 10 at least by the chequered flag.”

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 14th:
"It's been a difficult day because I haven't managed to find the right feeling with the bike. I'm not confident enough to push hard and get the best out of the bike. We've done a lot of laps and the tyres are holding out well but we tried a few different solutions with the bike set-up and didn't find the improvement we need. The team is working really well though and in the warm up we'll try going back to the set-up we had on Friday before the two crashes."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 16th:
"For sure from 16th position on the grid the main thing I can do is overtake some riders! Overall today was positive but qualifying was disappointing. I am very satisfied with my race set-up and tyre choice, but the big handicap is starting so far behind. However I have a lot of confidence that I can recover many positions, I'm confident of my braking points for overtaking. On my final qualifying run I lost a few tenths of a second behind Kenny Roberts. Normally Kenny takes care of the riders behind, but today he was in the middle of the track and this cost me some time."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 18th:
“We took a big gamble here, with swing-arms substantially different to anything since the first Honda Team Roberts bike. It’s an area we have never changed, that we think is related to the grip problem. It seems to help that area, but it creates a lot of problems with how I load the bike. I can load the rear harder, but the bike’s not in the right position. It’s as though it’s set up to not overload that area, because we had developed the bike not to overload the tyre. Both my qualifying tyres looked brand new at the end, which means something’s not right.”

“Certainly, the change is the right direction. It’s just now a matter of trying to get the bike to work with those swing-arms. There is a key front fork setting that really stands out to me, so we’re going to change that tonight for the warm-up. We did a 1’55.7 on race tyres. That’s not fantastic, but it was similar to some of the other Hondas at the time. We’re just a little off, but a long way off in position.”

Chuck Aksland: Team Manager :
“The swing-arms have been modified to change stiffness. Even last year he was struggling for grip, and it was one of the areas that hadn’t changed much, so we made a big jump and brought it here. The positive thing is it seems to have made some difference, but with the set-up of the bike and suspension having compensated around that weakness, and it seems we need some other changes. With the first session wet, we just ran out of time. We’ll try a few steps in the morning, and hope it will improve.”

250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Scot Honda: 1st:
“I am really happy with this pole position the bike is really good. I have a problem with the rear tyre but so do all the other riders. The chassis is good and the front tyre but I’m confident that we will have a good rear for the race. Today we improved lap by lap and eventually took pole position. Normally I work towards getting the bike perfect for the race and not chasing pole position so I am very happy I’m on pole for tomorrow.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 8th:
“We haven’t been able to finish these practices the way we would have liked to, because we have been in the front throughout the weekend, but not this afternoon. We were not able to do the same in the last qualifying practice, but we know the problem. It was a tyre which we think is defect and we’ll have to check it. What we know for sure is that I haven't felt on the track the way I used to feel. I'm sorry for the team because they helped me a lot to learn this track quickly with this new bike. However, I think that we can make a great race tomorrow with good tyres, because we have a good pace and we are very much looking forward to it. Starting from the second row, I’ll try to get a place among the leading riders on the first few laps and push.”

Yukio Takahashi, Scot Honda: 11th:
“Today I as much faster compared to yesterday, but not fast enough. If you take out the top two I feel I can run with the rest because we are very close. Because of this I am confident about this for the race. We have a good chassis setting and the engine is OK. It will be very important for me to get a good start, if I do that then I will have a good race.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 12th:
“I had a few problems with the engine at the beginning of the practice. Then, in the fast corner, I noticed that the rear tyre was not working well and I crashed. After the crash I tried to improve my lap times and despite improving compared to yesterday, it wasn’t enough. But I feel well on the bike. Maybe there is some thing we have to try to improve on the bike, but it’s nothing important. In any case, I’ll try to push harder tomorrow to get a good result. ”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 17th:
"In the late stages of the session, I struggled a bit to improve my lap time and defend 16th position. I believe I could have gone faster, but the result is good and the team did a great job. This morning we tested various tyres in order to find the right combination for tomorrow's race. In this area, we have quite a clear idea of what to do. This morning the wind bothered us a bit, but it was the same for everybody and we had to do our best regardless of the conditions. I guess tomorrow's race pace will be in 1m 59s times and I hope I'll get a good result."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 21st:
"I was in a group of fast riders and I improved my times every lap, but also got held up in traffic a couple of times. I'm happy with the bike, we just need to make a final tyre choice for the race distance. This is a great track, a lot of fun to ride and very physical in the downhill braking areas."

125cc:

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 13th:
“A bit of a disaster really, I only managed to get in about three or four really good laps. I guess it was my own fault because I was waiting for a fast rider to get a tow. I needed help on the straight because we were a little down on power this afternoon. The handling is good, it was slightly better in the morning session but we know what we have to do with the chassis set up. Maybe I can knuckle down and get a good pace in the morning warm up.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 19th:
“I had a few problems today. We are trying a new chassis but did not have enough time to set it up the way I need it to be to go fast. The problem was made bigger because I seized the engine in that bike and had to run with my spare machine. Obviously this did not have the best set up for qualifying so I slipped down to 19th on the grid.”

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 21st:
“We had many problems this afternoon and I did not get the result I was hoping for. We have been working hard on the chassis and suspension settings because I just cannot hold my race line. We have a lot of work to do tonight but I am confident that the team will improve the bike for the warm up tomorrow.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 24th:
“Not too bad this afternoon. We made changes to the set up of the bike and it feels much better everywhere. The engine is really good, it’s fast. We have a little change to make to the gearbox but I have to say the bike is good. I set my lap time alone so I am pleased with that. Sure I know I could have been at least a half second faster with a tow but I am happy with today and I’m ready to race.”

DKevin Coghlan replacement rider for Mike Di Meglio, Scot Honda: 27th:
“I’m not satisfied about today’s qualifying, I worse in the afternoon because of suspension problems. For tomorrow I’m confident, I think that if we solve this inconvenient problem we have the potential to have a good race.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 30th:
“At the beginning of the session a rider passed me down the straight but was holding me up in the corners so I came into the pit made a slight change to the suspension then went out again looking for a fast rider to run with so I could get a better time. Ii didn’t find one so I’m a long way back on the grid. The engine is fast and the only thing we have to work on is the suspension but not too much, just a couple o small things.”

Dino Lombardi, Scot Honda: 32nd:
“This morning everything was quite good, then because of the straight I lost precious seconds. Anyway, I thought to make a good qualifying lap but instead I got worse. I don’t know why but in the official session the tension stopped me and I’m not able to drive as I want. I hope tomorrow to improve.”


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

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

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