MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 04: China GP > Qualifying
MotoGPChinaMay 5, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 04
China Grand Prix at Shanghai Qualifying

Honda Men Dani And Marco Make It Onto Row Two

Race Results >>

In a MotoGP qualifying session dominated by Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who qualified on pole, Honda riders Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) managed the fifth and sixth fastest times here at Shanghai. John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Rossi’s team-mate Colin Edwards complete the front row.



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini)

In dry conditions with the track at 29 degrees and ambient temperature at 24 degrees bathed in hazy sunshine Hopkins headed the timesheet early on in this hour-long timed session. But the early qualifying tyre runners ousted him from the top of the order even before the halfway mark.

Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) sped to a 1m 59.985s lap, the first under the two minute mark, with 35 minutes of the hour remaining. Alex Hofmann (Ducati) too hoisted himself to a provisional second fastest time behind de Puniet before the serious runners upped their game.

With twenty minutes to go the order was de Puniet, Hofmann, Casey Stoner (Ducati), Rossi, Hopkins, Melandri, Alex Barros (Ducati), Dani and then Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V). Then, as is the routine, most riders pitted for qualifying rubber with 15 minutes to go.

De Puniet’s time looked hard to beat as Nicky hoisted himself to second and Hopkins rose to third in the order. That was until Rossi recorded his pole record time of 1m 58.424s with nine minutes remaining.

The order then was Rossi, Melandri, de Puniet, Edwards, Hopkins and then Hayden in the top six places. Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki) was not on track having injured his right arm in yesterday’s untimed session and Stoner was on his number two machine after encountering problems with his number one bike.

With five minutes to go riders fitted the last of their qualifiers and made final bids to improve their times. And Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) tangled and fell as they both made efforts to put themselves up the order.

With just one minute left on the clock Edwards elevated himself to second fastest, before Hopkins dislodged his fellow American. No one however could come within touching distance of Rossi’s pole time. Hopkins time is 0.891 seconds shy of the pole.

Dani said, “We were lucky to have two dry sessions in which to work on machine settings and tyre choice. This allowed us to test all the tyre options from Michelin and we’ve improved the bike set-up and have a pretty good idea of which tyres we’ll use in the race – so let’s hope it stays dry tomorrow too. I struggled a little bit on my qualifying runs and braked too deep at the end of the straight on both laps, which cost me a better time. However Rossi did a very fast time today and there are several riders with a good pace on race tyres.

Marco said, “I’m satisfied with this result. We have met our primary objective, which was to qualify on the front two rows. We’re improving a lot and with the first qualifying tyre I set a good time without realising I was going that fast. On the second lap I made a couple of mistakes, which meant I wasn't able to improve the time. We still have a little work to do on the suspension but I’m happy with how the bike is working at this demanding circuit. Tomorrow I hope to get a good start to stay with the lead group from the beginning.”

Nicky, ninth fastest, said, “The day hasn’t gone quite as we’d hoped and we didn’t make much of an improvement over yesterday. We tried a few changes to get the bike turning better and improve the edge grip though we haven’t found what we needed so that’s not great. There are a lot of guys going fast and I’ll definitely be sitting down with the team tonight to see if I can come up with a few ideas to improve the machine for tomorrow. My qualifying runs didn’t go perfectly. My ideal time would have put me sixth but I was the next guy through after Vermeulen and Capirossi crashed.”

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) qualified 10th and said, “We had a meeting after practice yesterday and decided to go back to our previous standard settings which helped. I also tried to improve my riding and checked all my braking points and found my lap times getting better and better. We also had improved top speed today thanks to some gearing changes. We have found a tyre for the race tomorrow, which should be good as I have quite a good feeling with it. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, but I think everyone would prefer a dry race.”

“We have improved a little compared to yesterday said Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V), who was 12th fastest. “But we’re still having some small problems that are not allowing me to ride as I like. Unfortunately it seems our tyre choice for this race is not the best but tomorrow I will do all I can to get the best result possible.”

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) qualified 13th. He said, “Again I struggled with a lot of chatter at the front on the qualifying tyres. I expected some chatter, but not at this level and it was impossible to use the full potential of the bike and the tyres. But my race pace is OK, not enough to win, but the chassis and tyres are consistent. The LCR team and Ramon Forcada have worked very hard to find solutions but one thing we are missing is more engine performance, and perhaps a little more grip at the rear. It is possible to pass here, but first you have be close to the rider in front.”

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR212V) was 16th quickest and said, “We’ve been around this level for a while now as far as qualifying goes. You ride at 100% and slide the rear everywhere and you’re pushing the front and you’re doing your best and you’re on the last part of the grid. I wouldn’t
say there’s anything we could really pinpoint as far as where we are at the moment. But we're trying everything we know.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) dominated the 250cc session and sped to his third pole of the season with a scorching lap time of 2m 04.543s. Hector Barbera (both Aprilia) was second fastest, Mika Kallio (KTM) third quickest and Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) fourth fastest, 1.044 seconds off the pole time.

Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) heads the second row with a fifth place performance and Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) qualified ninth and will start from the third row.

Simon said, “It’s not been that easy today. But the team has worked really well and I’m happy. As I said, it’s been harder to improve times today because I had some trouble with the bike and I didn’t expect it to feel as good as it did. But, well, fourth is motivating and I expect to be in the leading group tomorrow. I hope to finish the race well and close the good weekend with a good result.”

Dovi said, “Track condition were hotter than yesterday and I had some rear grip problems. Before today’s qualifying I had a good rhythm so I am not happy with 5th place. Set-up of the machine is OK except for rear grip and I think I have chosen right tyre for tomorrow. I like this track but the straights are too long for me at the moment. The gap between Lorenzo and me is more than one second and that is too much so it will be difficult for me to win again here but I will try to get a good start and see how it goes.”

Aoyama said, “We made some changes at the beginning of the qualifying session and I was able to improve the feeling of the bike. However, the times are still slow compared to those of the riders in the lead, but I think that we’ll be able to do better tomorrow. I still have to improve my riding style and some things on the bike, although I’ll have to give my best during the warm-up and the race.”

Mattia Pasini put his machine on pole in the125cc class and fellow Aprilia rider Hector Faubel will line up alongside him as second fastest qualifier. Lukas Pesek (Derbi) was third fastest and series points leader Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) completes the front row.

Fastest Honda man was British rider Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) who continues his rapid rise to prominence in the class with a strong ride to fifth on the grid. His team-mate Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) managed 12th place.

Other Honda men are Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) who qualified down in 22nd spot and Mike di Meglio (Scot Honda RS125R) who is returning from injury. He qualified 23rd.

Smith said, “It’s the first time I managed to be fifth in the combined practice results and on the second row since I entered the World Championship so I must be happy. My lap times are good and I’m very close to the top riders. There’s a very long straight and you can use the slipstreams to recover what you may lose in other places so I think there’ll be a large group racing tomorrow. We’ll have to wait and see. Our intention is to be there in the top group.”



Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th.
"Well, the weather forecasts were wrong and the rain never came so we were lucky to have two dry sessions in which to work on machine settings and tyres choice. This allowed us to test all the tyre options from Michelin and we've improved the bike set-up here and have a pretty good idea of which tyres we'll use in the race - so let's hope it stays dry tomorrow too. I struggled a little bit on my qualifying runs and braked too deep at the end of the straight on both laps which cost me a better time. However Rossi did a very fast time today and there are several riders with a good pace on race tyres. A front row position would have been nice but I'll look to get a good start tomorrow and hopefully we can have a good race - it looks like it could be close."

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 6th.
"I'm satisfied with this result. We have met our primary objective, which was to qualify on the front two rows. We are improving a lot and with the first qualifying tyre I set a good time without realising I was going that fast. On the second lap I made a couple of mistakes which meant I wasn't able to improve the time. We still have a little work to do on the suspension but I'm happy with how the bike is working at this demanding circuit. Tomorrow I hope to get a good start in order to stay with the lead group from the beginning. It will be a really tough group race because there are a lot of fast riders out there. For this Grand Prix I'm using a special helmet inspired by this country. The idea is to bring Europe and China together. Also, red and yellow are the colours of Ravenna, my home town."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 9th.
"The day hasn't gone quite as we'd hope and we didn't make much of an improvement over yesterday. We tried a few changes to get the bike turning better and improve the edge grip though we haven't found what we needed so that's not great. There are a lot of guys going fast and I'll definitely be sitting down with the team tonight to see if I can come up with a few ideas to improve the machine for tomorrow. My qualifying runs didn't go perfectly. My ideal time would have put me sixth but I was the next guy through after Vermeulen and Capirossi crashed. Looking back now it shouldn't have slowed me down but when I was approaching that corner there were bikes sliding across the track and they came together. I didn't know if one bike was going to stay in the middle of the track or if they were both going to slow down and really that ruined my second flying lap. I did my best lap on my first qualifying tyre and normally you can go faster on the second one. So, I need an awesome start tomorrow and we'll try to hang in there."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 10th.
"We had a meeting after practice yesterday and decided to go back to our previous standard settings which helped. I also tried to improve my riding and checked all my braking points and found my lap times getting better and better. I think we made too many changes yesterday so the team helped me and things improved when we reverted to the previous set-up. We also had improved top speed today thanks to some gearing changes. We have found a tyre for the race tomorrow, which should be good as I have quite a good feeling with it. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, but I would prefer a dry race – I think everybody does!"

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 12th.
"We have improved a little compared to yesterday but we're still having some small problems that are not allowing me to ride as I like. Unfortunately it seems our tyre choice for this race is not the best but tomorrow I will do all I can to get the best result possible."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 13th.
"Again I struggled with a lot of chatter at the front on the qualifying tyres. I expected some chatter, but not at this level and it was impossible to use the full potential of the bike and the tyres. But my race pace is OK, not enough to win, but the chassis and tyres are consistent. The LCR team and Ramon Forcada have worked very hard to find solutions but one thing we are missing is more engine performance, and perhaps a little more grip at the rear. It is possible to pass here, but first you have be close to the rider in front."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 16th.
"We've been around this level for a while now as far as qualifying goes. You ride at 100% and slide the rear everywhere and you're pushing the front and you're doing your best and you're on the last part of the grid. I wouldn't say there's anything we could really pinpoint as far as where we are at the moment. But we're trying everything we know. I don't have any teammate to ask and the tire rule is difficult for us. Everything at the moment is difficult, but I know the team's working hard and I'm hoping we can turn it around pretty soon."

Chuck Aksland: Team Manager
"Started off yesterday morning and everything didn't look too bad, because we came off a pretty good test in Turkey. We were able to get through a lot of tires in the first session. So right away we were kind of limited on the amount of tires that we could actually use to address the bike, because you tend to get into a scenario where you make adjustments on the bike and then you have a different tire and you're not sure if the tire's affected or the suspension. So what's going to happen is we haven't progressed as much as we need to. We're still down a bit on acceleration and top speed. He doesn't really have a problem running some riders down the back straight. Otherwise it makes it pretty difficult for us."


250cc:

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 4th.
"The truth is that it’s not been that easy today. But the team has worked really well and I'm happy. As I said, it’s been harder to improve times today because I had some trouble with the bike and I didn’t manage to feel as well as I did. But, well, fourth is motivating and I expect to be in the leading group tomorrow. I hope to finish the race well and close the good weekend with a good result."

Andrea Dovizioso, Kopron Scot Honda: 5th.
"Today track condition was hotter than yesterday and I had some rear grip problem. Before today’s qualifying I had a good rhythm so I am not happy with 5th place. Set-up of the machine is OK except rear grip and I think I have chosen right tyre for tomorrow s race. I like this track but the straights are too long for me at the moment. The gap between Lorenzo and me is more than one second and that is too much so it will be difficult for me to win again here but I will try to get a good start and see how it goes."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 9th.
"We made some changes at the beginning of the qualifying session and I was able to improve the feelings. However, the times are still slow compared to those of the riders in the lead, but I think that we’ll be able to do better tomorrow. I still have to improve my riding style and some things on the bike, although I’ll have to give my best during the warm-up and the race."

Yukio Takahashi, Kopron Scot Honda: 16th. Crashed.
"I crashed during the fourth or fifth lap. I was going normally into the first corner and suddenly I was thrown out of the machine. I don’t know what had happened. The worst part is I broke left forearm which I broke during the 8 hr testing. There is still a plate inside and it looks like it is bent. I will go back to Japan tonight and have operation. Then I will move to Italy for rehabilitation. I cannot race in Le Mans but am hoping to race in Mugello."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 17th.
" Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 15th. "It's a good result, even if I expected to improve a bit on my final run, when there were 14 minutes to go. The track conditions changed compared to this morning and yesterday and I think that's why I struggled to make it on the fourth row. With higher track temperatures, the rear was sliding more, but anyway I'm happy with today's result and the job the team did, I'm now looking forward to the race."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 22nd.
"I improved 0.7s from yesterday but it is not where I want to be. I only got one fast lap with a tow behind Anthony West and I still have problems with the race set-up, I need a better compromise with the chassis and gearbox."


125cc:

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 5th.
"It is the first time I managed to be fifth in the combined practice results and on the second row since I entered the World Championship so I must be happy. Moreover, my lap times are good and I'm very close to the top riders. There’s a very long straight and you can make use of the slipstreams to recover what you may loose in other places so I think that there will be a large group racing tomorrow. We’ll have to wait and see, though we’ll try to do a good start. Our intention is to be there like in Turkey, when I managed to be in the top group. We’ll try to fight for a podium finish because I almost made it in Turkey and I know that I can do it. I have to make good use of my good position for tomorrow and fight to the limit."

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 12th.
"The truth is that things weren’t that bad this morning. I was able to set a good pace and prepare the race well. I also had a good pace on the track this afternoon, all by myself, and I managed to improve, although I still lack experience. I still have a lot more to learn on this circuit; we’ll try to continue improving as much as possible tomorrow."

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 22nd.
"This weekend started quite good with 8th position for the first free practice yesterday. Then I was 12th during yesterday’s qualifying. This morning was also not so bad with 13th place. Then this afternoon I chose hard rear tyre which was sliding a lot at fast corners. So I am quite disappointed with my position today. Front suspension is not so bad and I am quite comfortable at corner entry. Tomorrow I have to make a good start and stay with a group because this track has long straights and if you have a gap between yourself and the rider in front of you, it is hard to catch up. So there will be several groups tomorrow."

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 23rd.
"The free practice was good, we improved our lap time compared to yesterday and I was satisfied. This afternoon at the beginning of the session I was touched by another rider and because of this I broke the pot of my first bike. Then I changed bike but the second one was not good, it was sliding on the back and I couldn't ride at my best. I'm a little bit demoralized but now we try to solve the problems for tomorrow morning in order to make a good warm up and a good performance in race."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 29th.
"This morning was Ok but during the qualifying session I had rear brake problem. Also the tyre I tried was not working so well. Suspension was OK and I hope the tyre I will use tomorrow would work. I like this track but the back straight is too long for 125. I like more technical tracks where there are a lot of corners. Tomorrow I will enjoy the race and get the best possible result."

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 30th.
"I crashed during the qualifying on my out lap. Then I came in to the pit and went out again and crashed again with engine problem. It was the end of the main straight and speed was quite fast. My left toe is hurting now but I am OK for the race. This is my first race in Shanghai and I find this track not so difficult. Tomorrow, I will try to get a good start and improve my position during the first two laps."

Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 31st.
"The morning session was positive, I gained one second and we worked well. It's a pity for the qualifying in which I had some stability problems and in turns I wasn't able to go fast as I wanted, so now I'm in the last row. It will not be easy tomorrow regain positions, but I'll try."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 04
China Grand Prix at Shanghai Qualifying

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


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