MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 06: Italy GP > Qualifying
MotoGPItalyJune 2, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 06
Italy Grand Prix at Mugello

Wet Weather Plays Havoc with Qualifying in Italy

Race Results >>

The MotoGP grid was almost washed out here at a sopping wet Mugello, but in semi-wet and then tough, slippery conditions it was Casey Stoner (Ducati) who took his first pole position of the season, with Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) qualifying second fastest and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) completing the front row.



Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

As the hour long MotoGP qualifying session got underway the track was still damp after a thorough downpour earlier and riders emerged on wet tyres to cope with the soaking track. The early pacesetters were Stoner, Vermeulen and home rider Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V).

The track began to dry as the sun emerged, then halfway through the hour the heavens opened again to further compromise grip levels at this tricky 5.254km track. With water cascading across the difficult cambers of this roller-coaster circuit, staying on was as hard as setting a lap time decent enough for the front row.

And Stoner was the only man to dip below the two-minute mark today. The Australian was in command on his Ducati and his time of 2m 00.359s is more than a full second quicker than Vermeulen’s best effort of 2m 01.381s. And that is dominance of a considerable nature in any terms.

The best of the Honda runners was Melandri who ended the hour as sixth fastest man to start tomorrow’s 23-lap encounter on row two. His grid position is respectable enough to offer him hope – in wet or dry conditions.

Marco was riding with two knee sliders on each leg to cope with the grim conditions. The Italian is three-quarters of a second quicker than Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who was fastest in the morning free practice session and in the dry conditions yesterday. However, in the wet Pedrosa slid down the order before rallying again in the dying minutes as the rain ruined his day.

As the conditions were in such a state of flux, choosing the correct tyres proved hard. As the track dried for the second time in the hour at the end of the session, but some riders managed to shave vital tenths of a second off their best times to creep up the order.

Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki) starts from fourth on the grid tomorrow – his best qualifying effort for the team yet, while Stoner’s team-mate Loris Capirossi hauled himself up to fifth fastest although the veteran Italian was well short of his younger team-mate’s pace.

Dani has to be satisfied with eighth on the grid and although it is not what he might have wanted he will be happier than his team-mate and reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) who will start from 13th. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) will be ahead of the American champion in 12th spot.

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) starts from 14th on row five after swapping bikes mid-session and Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) will line up alongside him as 15th. Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR212V) managed 18th and his brother Kurtis on the second Roberts machine qualified 19th.

Best Honda qualifier Marco, in sixth, said, “That was a very difficult session, every lap felt like it was a different track, but it was a fun session at times. I’m very happy with the bike set-up I used today, we found some good settings for the wet after the race at Le Mans, but that is the same for all of us. We are also close in dry conditions. We will wait and see what weather the warm up brings us – but wet or dry I will be ready.”

Dani Pedrosa, in eighth, said, “In the dry I think we have a good pace and it would have been nice to have had some more time this afternoon to work on the dry set-up and tyre choice. Qualifying was really difficult because we had heavy rain and then it stopped completely. The track condition was changing on every lap and we never knew exactly which tyres to fit. It was always a bit of a gamble to be on the track at the right time on the right tyres. And then it rained again. I was able to improve my lap time a little towards the end of the session but it wasn’t enough to get to the front row so I am a little disappointed with the qualifying position.”

“The conditions were fairly crazy this afternoon,” said Nicky, 13th fastest man. “One minute the sun was out, the next minute it was raining, then the sun was out again – I just couldn’t believe it. And my grid position pretty well sucks. When it was fully wet I felt pretty good but when a dry line starts to appear I really struggle and I think it’s something I’ve got to improve on a lot. We’ve put ourselves in a hole for tomorrow so I’ll be looking to get an awesome start, get a good first couple of laps and try to pick off as many guys as possible.”

Shinya Nakano in 12th said, “As it dried towards the end of the timed session I tried a medium compound wet weather Michelin and made my best lap with this tyre. The conditions do make it difficult to choose the correct compound wet tyre, but I do have a good feeling on a half-wet, half-dry track and we did find a good dry tyre in the morning, so I’m confident in both these conditions. You don’t want full-wet conditions here as it’s a high-speed circuit and the rear will spin on these machines even down the straight in the high gears!”

Carlos Checa qualified in 14th place and said of his day: “In full wet conditions I feel comfortable, but in the dry we need to improve the set-up. I need a more positive feeling on the corner entry and some more rear stability – the bike feels more difficult to turn. Of course a wet race is a gamble for everyone and depending on the tyre choice and conditions it is difficult to predict. When I was forced to switch bikes I did not have a good feeling in the half-dry conditions, even using a soft tyre right at the end of the session.”

“A disastrous day for us,” said Tony Elias in 15th. “We had problems in both the wet and dry conditions, especially in the dry with rear-end chattering and no traction. In the wet session we made no progress and we still have the same problem, I didn't feel at all comfortable out there. We have to make a good move on set-up changes in the warm-up tomorrow, particularly on tyre choice – and then hope for a good start.”

The Roberts brothers were happy by the progress made: “With Kurtis on the second bike, right away he was able to help, so I’m only having to work 50 percent as hard and we're getting double the input,” said Kenny. “It’s moving forward,” said Kurtis: “Though it’s hard just to jump onto something like this and be right up front. I think if we’d been out in this session on the right tyres at the right time we might have been further up the field.”

The 250cc class was affected by the rain too and a fresh downpour towards the end of the session spoiled riders’ late bids for good grid positions – and in some notable cases prevented them from qualifying within the 107% time limit – series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) among them.

It was Spaniard Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) who snatched pole with a lap of 1m 57.435s, with Italian hero Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) lining up alongside as second fastest man. Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) showed a welcome return to form with his first ever front row qualifying performance as third fastest man.

Dovizioso said: “The team had no data for dry conditions but I was very confident with the bike set-up in the wet today. It’s impossible for me to speak about a dry race, I just cannot say if I will have a good rhythm in the dry. With Lorenzo so far back on the grid I cannot say I will be able to put in five fast laps at the start and go away. Lorenzo didn’t qualify and rules are rules and should be respected but in motorcycle racing there is always someway these people manage to start."

Front row debutant Aoyama was surprised to find himself along side Bautista and Dovizioso. The Japanese rider said: “I went out on a rain tyre for the first lap of qualifying but came straight back to fit slicks. When I went out I got into Bautista’s slipstream but could not quite stay with him. Then, after three laps, the rain started and I came into the pit to change tyres. When I saw I had set third fastest time I was very surprised. I was very lucky.”

Mike di Meglio (Scot Honda RS125R) made the most of his undoubted ability to notch the second fastest time in the 125cc class. The French ace recorded a best of 2m 16.053s to go faster than Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) in third but behind pole man Hector Faubel (Aprilia).

Home hope Dino Lombardi (Scot Honda RS125R) rode a strong session to put himself on the front row for the first time in his so-far brief career. The Italian rider somewhat overshadowed the performance of Britain’s Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) who qualified 11th fastest. Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 12th.

Di Meglio said: “That session was very good, it’s my best Grand Prix qualifying ever. The bike was good today, just a small problem with carburetion, but I felt good in the conditions. I don't really mind if it’s wet or dry for the race tomorrow. The important thing is to get a good start. If I do that then I will have a good race.”

Lombardi was delighted with his best ever qualifying performance. “I don’t understand it – I am very emotional! Starting from the front row at the Italian GP is fantastic.” Said the Scot Honda rider. “When I went out I didn’t run too hard because I wanted to take confidence with the bike in the conditions. But when I saw my signal board with my position I was very happy. I was five seconds faster than yesterday so I am hoping for rain tomorrow.”

Smith said: “I’m not so happy with myself with two stupid crashes in two days. Silly mistakes that were partly me pushing too hard and a little bit because of the bike set-up. The weather conditions were changing all the time and there was a lot of water on the track making things quite difficult.”



Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Scot Racing Team)


Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda 250)

MotoGP:

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 6th.
“That was a very difficult session, every lap felt like it was a different track but it was a fun session at times. I’m very happy with the bike set up I used today, we found some good settings for the wet after the race at Le Mans, but that is the same for all of us. We are also close in dry conditions. We will wait and see what weather the warm up brings us but wet or dry I will be ready.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th.
"In the dry I think that we have a good pace and it would have been nice to have had some more time this afternoon to work on the dry set-up and tyre choice. Qualifying was really difficult because we had heavy rain and then it stopped completely. The track condition was changing on every lap and we never knew exactly which tyres to fit. It was always a bit of a gamble to be on the track at the right time on the right tyres. And then it rained again. I was able to improve my lap time a little towards the end of the session but it wasn't enough to get to the front row so I am a little disappointed with the qualifying position. I must get a very good start in the race. I hope the conditions tomorrow are clear one way or the other - either dry or fully wet, rather than half and half like Le Mans two weeks ago. It could be
another very interesting race."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 12th.
“Rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine! Very strange weather today! I think if it had not rained in the middle of the qualifying session the end would have been completely dry. When it rained we came into the pits and waited for a while to see what the weather was going to do. As it dried towards the end of the timed session I tried a medium compound wet weather Michelin and made my best lap with this tyre. The conditions do make it difficult to choose the correct compound wet tyre, but I do have a good feeling on a half-wet, half-dry track and we did find a good dry tyre in the morning, so I’m confident in both these conditions. The only conditions you don’t want here are monsoon or full-wet conditions as it’s a high-speed circuit and the rear will spin on these GP machines even down the straight in the high gears!”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 13th.
"The conditions were fairly crazy this afternoon. One minute the sun was out, the next minute it was raining, then the sun was out again - I just couldn't believe it. And my grid position pretty well sucks. When it was fully wet I felt pretty good but when a dry line starts to appear I really struggle and I think it's something I've got to improve on a lot. We've put ourselves in a hole for tomorrow so I'll be looking to get an awesome start, get a good first couple of laps and try to pick off as many guys as possible. It's going to be a really tricky race tomorrow even if it is dry
because we haven't had a lot of dry set-up time and there's a few tyre options I haven't even tried. So we'll just see what conditions we get in the warm-up tomorrow and use that time well."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 14th.
"In full wet conditions I feel comfortable, but in the dry we need to improve the set-up. I need a more positive feeling on the corner entry and some more rear stability, the bike feels more difficult to turn. Of course a wet race is a gamble for everyone and depending on the tyre choice and conditions it is difficult to predict. When I was forced to switch bikes I did not have a good feeling in the half-dry conditions, even using a soft tyre right at the end of the session."

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 15th.
“A disastrous day for us! Today we had problems in both the wet and dry conditions, especially in the dry with rear end chattering and no traction. In the wet session we made no progress and we still have the same problem, I didn’t feel at all comfortable out there. We have to make a good move on set up changes in the warm up tomorrow, particularly on tyre choice – then hope for a good start.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 18th.
As I was saying from mid-season last year, we’ve needed two riders, but for some reason we were prohibited, and we’re paying for that now. With Kurtis on the second bike, right away he was able to help, so I’m only having to work 50 percent as hard and we’re getting double the input. In the rain when I was on soft tyres, Kurtis actually passed me and took off, and was doing quite good times compared to the other Hondas. So he’s able to give good feedback. Our situation is a reflection of the tyre rule and not having enough feedback to the engineers, so it’s good to have Kurtis here.

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 19th.
It’s been a strange weekend to come back, just because the weather is changing so much. It’s kind of hard to get used to everything with it dry and wet. Maybe after three days of this it’ll be easier, because we will have been through all the weather scenarios we could with this bike. But it’s been fun, and interesting. And it’s moving forward, I think, though it’s hard just to jump onto something like this and be right up front. It’s not like a Superbike. I think if we’d been out this session on the right tyres at the right time we might have been further up the field. At the same time, you can’t put too much pressure on when it’s your first race back, on a Honda-powered 800 you’ve never ridden before. My last ride was at the end of 2005 on the five-cylinder 990 Proton. This bike is a lot different – more than I expected. It doesn’t have nearly the torque that the old bikes did. It feels like a 250 almost, because you’re carrying so much corner speed. It’s something to get used to for me.

Chuck Aksland – Team Manager Team Roberts.
I think probably this weekend, even with the bad weather, we’ve probably learned more than we have in all the races combined. Kurtis is adding another voice to the debriefs, pretty much matching Kenny’s comments. The object is to try and make the bike better. We’ve always said we need two riders to back things up and give us a better perspective, and from that side it’s really helped. The weather hasn’t helped, though. We’ve had only one dry session, basically, and from that we had a lot of things we wanted to change for the next one, but obviously it was still raining.


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Kopron Scot Honda: 2nd.
“The team has no data for dry conditions but I was very confident with the bike set up in the wet today. It is impossible for me to speak about a dry race, I just cannot say if I will have a good rhythm in the dry. With (Jorge) Lorenzo so far back on the grid I cannot say right now that I will be able to put in five fast laps at the start and go away. Lorenzo didn’t qualify and rules are rules and should be respected its unfair but in motorcycle racing there always someway these people manage to start.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
“I went out on a rain tyre for the first lap of qualifying but came straight back to fit slicks. When I went out I got into Bautista’s slipstream but could not quite stay with him. Then, after three laps, the rain started and I came into the pit to change tyres. When I saw I had set third fastest time I was very surprised. I was very lucky.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 10th.
"It's been a rather negative second day. The track was dry this morning and wet in the afternoon. We made good use of the time this morning as long as
it remained dry and I set the fastest time. But it started to rain immediately after the start in the afternoon and I had no time to improve. I finished tenth, third row of the grid. I will be able to make a good race if the weather improves. If it doesn't and it is a wet race, I'll have to learn, because I had a really tough time today under these conditions. Let's see what happens tomorrow. The team is working very well; I'm very happy and looking forward to making a good race tomorrow."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 19th.
"It suddenly began to rain really heavily while I was leaning into a corner and I couldn't do anything but crash! The session kicked off in wet conditions but under sunny skies. The track was drying out and after switching to slick tyres, I was improving my lap times but it rained really hard when I was pushing and I crashed. Fortunately I'm alright and the bike isn't too badly damaged. We'll have to work hard in tomorrow's warm-up to get ready for the race."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 21st.
"It was terrible day and I still haven't done enough laps in
the dry to properly learn the track. The track was dry at the beginning of the session but then it rained and I lost time changing tyres, and then the rear puncture. I'm hoping for a wet race, that's
my birthday wish."

Yuki Takahashi, Kopron Scot Honda: 27th.
“I only did two laps in the qualifying session to record a lap time because I knew that riders with a time of over 107% would be allowed to start. That’s because the 125cc and MotoGP riders who didn’t qualify were allowed to start. I am not completely fit and I didn’t run a race simulation so I don’t know if I can finish the complete race.”


125cc:

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 2nd.
“That session was very good it’s my best GP qualifying ever. The bike was good today, just a small problem with carburation but I felt good in the conditions. I don’t really mind if it’s wet or dry for the race tomorrow the important thing is to get a good start. If I do that then I will have a good race.”

Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 4th.
“I don’t understand it – I am very emotional! Starting from the front row at the Italian GP is fantastic. When I went out I didn’t run too hard because I wanted to take confidence with the bike in the conditions. But when I saw my signal board with my position I as very happy. I was five seconds faster than yesterday so I am hoping for rain tomorrow.”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 11th.
“I’m not so happy with myself with two stupid crashes in two days. Silly crashes that were partly me pushing too hard and a little bit because of the bike set up. The weather conditions were changing all the time and there was a lot of water on the track making things quite difficult. If its dry tomorrow we have a few small setting changes to make for that weather.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 12th.
“I’m aching all over after crashing and landing on my head.
I entered the fast downhill chicane a little too fast and lost the front. I was really groggy! This afternoon I was off the pace at first and couldn’t find a clear lap. Someone got in my way on my last lap and otherwise I could have qualified well. But I’m feeling better and better in the rain. I¹ve got a good feeling at last and yet I don’t really appreciate these conditions, it’s just a case of trying to improve each time I go out on a wet track.Tomorrow¹s race is going to be something of a lottery because the weather forecast announces 40% probability of rain.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 18th.
"For the whole of the second qualifying session I stayed out on track. Everybody was riding on Dunlop rain tyres and it was going good. A lot of riders went under the good time I set yesterday. Everything went as it should go because on the wet track I had a very good feeling with the bike. All in all I am happy with 18th place because it is my best qualifying position ever."

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 29th.
”I went out to make five fast laps and then come into the pit. Then I caught the slipstream of Pesek which was perfect. I kept with him and rode top split times in the first two sections. But then Pesek ran straight on and as I was on his rear wheel riding ‘Blind’ I followed him over the kerbstone and crashed. Braking fault from Pesek – dumb move by me. When I got back to the pit and found I was outside the 107% qualifying rule I was devastated but then the race direction let all eight of us non-qualified riders start due to the bad conditions we had in both qualifying sessions.”

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda:
Will not race due to injuries sustained in a crash at the last grand prix at Le Mans, France. He is hopeful of making a return to the track at Grand Prix of Catalunya next week.


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 06
Italy Grand Prix at Mugello Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
2 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
3 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
4 Olivier JACQUE (Kawasaki Racing Team)
5 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini)
7 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
10 Alex BARROS (Pramac d'Antin)
11 Alex HOFMANN (Pramac d'Antin)
12 Shinya NAKANO (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
13 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
14 Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)
15 Toni ELIAS (Team Honda Gresini)
16 Colin EDWARDS (Fiat Yamaha Team)
17 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
18 Kenny ROBERTS JR (Team Roberts)
19 Kurtis ROBERTS (Team Roberts)
DNQ Makoto TAMADA (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
 
250cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - Mapfre Aspar)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Scot Racing Team)
3 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda 250)
4 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia)
5 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - Mapfre Aspar)
6 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
8 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
9 Anthony WEST (Team Sicilia)
10 Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250)
DNQ Yuki TAKAHASHI (Kopron Team Scot)
 
125cc
1 Hector FAUBEL (Bancaja Aspar)
2 Mike DI MEGLIO (Kopron Team Scot)
3 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar)
4 Dino LOMBARDI (Kopron Team Scot)
5 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 125)
6 Raffaele DE ROSA (Multimedia Racing)
7 Andrea IANNONE (WTR Team)
8 Lukas PESEK (Valsir Seedorf Derbi)
9 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
10 Joan OLIVE (Polaris World)
 

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