MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 08: British GP > Qualifying
MotoGPU.K.June 23, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
British Grand Prix at Donington Park

Pedrosa On Front Row, Hayden Starts Fourth

Race Results >>

After monsoon conditions yesterday Donington Park was dry for the hour of MotoGP timed qualifying and it was Colin Edwards who prevailed to record his second pole of the season ahead of his team-mate Valentino Rossi (both Yamaha), with last year’s race-winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) third fastest qualifier completing the front row.



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

The session began at frenetic pace with riders conscious that dry track time was at an absolute premium after the rain. Dani was one of the early pacesetters along with Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V), Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet and Alex Barros (Ducati).

Pedrosa showed no signs of backing off after experiencing a huge wobble in the morning session at Craner Curves. Only Dani’s sheer ability on a bike kept him from parting company with his RC212V and with fifty minutes of the hour gone Dani was back on top of the standings from Barros, with Rossi lying third.

Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) was sixth quickest in these early stages, reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) fifth fastest, Checa and Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) both in the top ten.

Rossi then turned in a lap of 1m 29.389s to go pole before a scorching 1m 29.061 from Stoner elevated the Aussie World Championship points leader to the top of the chart. Stoner would hold pole with this time set on race rubber until the final ten minutes of the session.

At the halfway point it was Stoner from Rossi, then Checa and John Hopkins (Suzuki), with Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden lurking in provisional fifth and sixth spots. Series of laps on race rubber were the norm for most riders at this stage, until, as has become the usual pattern, Kawasaki was the first team to go for qualifying tyres with twenty minutes to go.

Randy de Puniet snatched third on the green machine, but he was soon displaced by Pedrosa who recorded a 1m 29.363s time to put himself on the front row. Then with twelve minutes left on the clock half the field pitted to make their best bids for the front of the grid with sticky rubber.

Rossi’s 1m 28.677s time set with nine minutes left looked good for pole, and try as his rivals might, not even Dani or Stoner could dislodge the former Champ from the head of the grid. Stoner had the best chance until he lost, and then skillfully recovered, the sliding front-end of his machine at Goddards while on course for a pole lap. The mistake cost him a massive 0.7 seconds.

Nicky grabbed third with a 1m 29.02s time, Dani temporarily put his hands on second and it looked as if both Repsol riders would start from the front row until Colin Edwards re-arranged the grid with a pole lap of 1m 28.531s with just 50 seconds left on the clock.

Dani, on the front row with a best lap of 1m 28.863s, said: “It would be good to repeat my result here in 2006, but today went well both in the morning and this afternoon. I had a slight problem with the qualifying tyre, but I’m on the front row and that’s the main thing. I hope the weather will be good tomorrow, but wet or dry we did a good job so we look to be in good shape.”

His team-mate Nicky heads row two as fourth fastest man with a time of 1m 29.025s. He said: “The session went pretty well and fourth is definitely my best qualifying position for a while so I’ve got to be happy with that. This has been the closest we’ve been for a while and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race. With a decent start I can at least get in there at the front, see what I’ve been missing and learn some stuff from the boys. So far every race this season they’ve just disappeared after the first corner and I haven’t really learned much but hopefully tomorrow I can go to school and stick right with them.”

Carlos Checa qualified seventh with a best time of 1m 29.281s and said: “I think I can be competitive in the race here because like at Jerez top speed is not critical and I have a very good feeling in the dry. I didn’t get the best from my qualifiers – my time was only 0.2 seconds better than on my race tyre, which is very positive for tomorrow. Yesterday I had no feeling, today I’m back in the top ten after switching to the base settings we know work on this bike.”

Marco Melandri managed ninth. The top nine riders being covered by just less than one second. The Italian said: “Today we worked on the dry setting but the forecast is for more rain tomorrow so I don’t really know what to expect for the race. In the fast sections I can let the bike run and I am fast but we’re still struggling to set the bike up for the braking. It's a problem we’ve had since the start of the season and it doesn’t allow me to ride as I like. It will be a tough race tomorrow – even more so if it rains, because the track here is very slippery.”

His team-mate Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V), tenth on the grid, said: “We tried to make the most of the two hours we had on a dry track to prepare as good as possible for a dry race. We struggled a bit this morning because we couldn’t get the tyres up to optimum temperature. In the afternoon the situation improved and we’re ready if it’s dry tomorrow. Unfortunately we had a technical problem at the end and only got the chance to use one qualifying tyre, which means I was unable to set a good lap. I’m disappointed by that but I’m hoping for a dry race tomorrow.”

Shinya Nakano, in 11th, said: “More changeable weather conditions! But it’s been dry. This morning we tried three new tyres for the first time and we struggled a little. This is our first time here with the 800cc Honda and my first time here on Michelin tyres in the dry, so it took time to adjust. We made some gearbox adjustments too. We normally do this on the first day, but the conditions have been so different we needed to do it again. I am a little disappointed with the final grid position, but we have closed the gap a little and that’s important.”

Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V), the sole KR rider this weekend, qualified 19th. He said: “This afternoon we got closer to the guys the machine has been running with lately. A lot of that’s just me learning where I’m going. I’m still missing the line sometimes, going in a little late, because I’m trying to do it all so fast. I don’t know how the weather’s going to be tomorrow. I think either way we will be up a little higher than we are in qualifying, just by being able to think about the track tonight. Wet or dry, we will have to put our heads down and race for it. Everyone’s on the same track.”

Alex de Angelis will start from pole in the 27-lap 250cc race tomorrow. It’s the Italian’s fourth pole in this class. Series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (both Aprilia) starts from second, while Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) makes his third front row start of this season as third fastest man. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) completes the front row.

De Angelis was in control from the very start of this 45-minute session and try as his Aprilia rivals might, not even Lorenzo could match his pace around the swooping 4.023km of this parkland track. Lorenzo is 0.4 seconds away from his time of 1m 32.391s and Simon just over six tenths of a second short.

Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) will start from sixth on the second row, Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) from 11th on the grid, and Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW), who crashed in the final minute of the session, without injury, from 12th. Rookie Eugene Laverty (LCR Honda RS250RW) starts his ‘home’ race from 15th.

Front row man Simon said: “My time is not so bad. I have a good second row grid position. The only problem I have is getting the bike to hold the racing line in some corners. But I’m sure we will be OK for the morning warm up. The engine is OK and if I get a good start I can run with the leading group - then we will see what happens in the race. ”

Dovi said: “We’re not quite there with the balance of the bike yet. It was not that good this morning but we managed to make small improvements this afternoon. We’re still a bit far away and that’s not so much fun, but if we can improve before the warm up then I might be OK. I was never really up there with the fastest riders and if we don’t improve before the warm up I’m not that confident about my chances.”

Mattia Pasini secured his fifth pole of the season in the 125cc class, with Simone Corsi (both Aprilia) second fastest, Tommy Koyama (KTM) third on the grid and series points leader Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) completing the front row as fourth fastest qualifier.

The 125cc competitors were the first to sample timed qualifying in the dry and they wasted no time in getting up to speed. But Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) fell within the first few minutes of the half-hour session and it compromised his chances of a good grid slot. He eventually managed 28th.

Better luck befell his team-mate Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) who ran second fastest for much of the session before getting bumped down the order as the pace quickened towards the end of the stint. The young British rider suffered a huge crash at Coppice on his final lap, but will start tomorrow’s 25-lap race from ninth on the grid.

Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified eighth and said: “Not so bad today. My engine is really fast, on a par with the KTM I was running with. The only small disadvantage is on acceleration off the Melbourne loop. I have some front-end chatter but it’s nothing much and I’m sure we can fix that before the warm up tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the race.”

Smith said: “I high-sided off the bike and landed on my back and right foot and I’m a bit sore but I’ll be OK to race. My team mate Tito (Rabat) and me have three bikes between us and we’ve both crashed today so the team have a lot to do to get us ready for tomorrow.”



Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)


Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini),Shinya NAKANO (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
“Today went pretty well and I'm very pleased to be on the front row for the race because this is always important. The practice sessions were OK and stayed dry which meant we could find a good set-up and work up to a fairly consistent race pace, though I had a big moment this morning when the temperature was colder. The qualifying laps at the end of the afternoon session were a little difficult for me and I made a few little mistakes with both qualifiers which may have cost me a shot at pole position. With my second qualifier I tried to do a second fast lap and the time was quite good until the last split when the tyre began to go off - but this was not a big surprise because they're only designed to do one lap. I hope it stays dry tomorrow but we've had the chance to practice in both wet and dry conditions so we should be ready whatever happens with the weather. There are a few riders with a good pace here so it will be an interesting race. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th.
“The session went pretty well and fourth is definitely my best qualifying position for a while so I've got to be happy with that. It felt good to be fastest this morning too, although I didn't really improve a lot this afternoon and I'd have liked to have gone a little bit quicker. Also I only improved by two tenths on my second qualifying tyre and you've got to do more than that to get on the front row. Regardless, this has been the closest we've been for a while and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's race. With a decent start I can at least get in there at the front, see what I've been missing and learn some stuff from the boys. So far every race this season they've just disappeared after the first corner and I haven't really learned much, but hopefully tomorrow I can go to school and stick right with them. I've felt pretty good straight away this weekend. The chassis changes really have not made a huge amount of difference - we just tried a lot of different stuff in the two days of testing after Barcelona, and not just settings. We took away some of the traction control and now the bike's working well and seems to suit me better so that I can control it more with the throttle. A really big thanks to the guys on my team for working so hard and making a few changes on the bike to give me a better feeling.”

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 7th.
“I think I can be competitive in the race here because like at Jerez top speed is not critical and I have a very good feeling in the dry. I didn’t get the best from my qualifying tyres – my time was only 0.2 seconds better than on my race tyre, which is very positive for tomorrow. Yesterday I had no feeling, today I’m back in the top ten after switching to the base settings we know work on this bike.”

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 9th.
“Today we worked on the dry setting but the forecast is for more rain tomorrow so I don't really know what to expect for the race. In the fast sections I can let the bikes run and I am fast but we're still struggling to set the bike up for the long braking. It's a problem we've had since the start of the season and it doesn't allow me to ride as I like. It will be a tough race tomorrow - even more so if it rains, because the track here is very slippery.”

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 10th.
“We tried to make the most of the two hours we had on a dry track to prepare as good as possible for a dry race. We struggled a bit this morning because we couldn't get the tyres up to optimum temperature. In the afternoon the situation improved and we're quite ready if it is dry tomorrow. Unfortunately we had a technical problem at the end and only got chance to use only one qualifying tyre, which means I was unable to set a good lap. I'm disappointed by that but I'm hoping for a dry race tomorrow.”

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 11th.
“More changeable weather conditions! But saying that I have been pleased that it’s been dry. This morning we tried three new tyres for the first time and we struggled a little. This is because this is our first time here with the 800cc Honda and my first time here on Michelin tyres in the dry, so it took time to adjust. We made some gearbox adjustments also, we normally do this on the first day, but the conditions have been so different we needed to do it again. I am a little disappointed with the final grid position, we are still not up with the top group, but we have closed the gap a little and that is important. When you have a bike that works well around Donington, it’s one of the most exciting tracks to ride around, so it should be a very thrilling race!”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 19th.
“We made a lot of improvements today. The wet yesterday hurt us, because I’m still trying to get used to this bike, as well as the track. I’ve been here twice in ten years … once in ‘97 and once in ’04. It’s kind of tough having to relearn the track in just one day. But this afternoon we got closer to the guys the machine has been running with lately. A lot of that’s just me learning where I’m going. I’m still missing the line sometimes, going in a little late, because I’m trying to do it all so fast.” “I don’t know how the weather’s going to be tomorrow. I think either way we will be up a little higher than we are in qualifying, just by being able to think about the track tonight. I like this track. It’s just getting the corner speeds and stuff down. You’ve got to figure that out. Wet or dry, we will have to put our heads down and race for it. Everyone’s on the same track.”

Chuck Aksland – Team Manager
“Bike-wise, we’re running what we’ve had all year. There won’t be any significant changes until the new chassis comes. Kurtis is doing a good job. He picked up a lot of time from this morning to the afternoon in the dry sessions. I think he was just starting to get confidence with the race tyres when we had to throw in the qualifying tyres. That puts a whole different element in. On race tyres, he generally picked up the pace. We’ll see how he goes tomorrow.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: Will not race at the British GP and is replaced by younger brother Kurtis.


250cc:

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
“My time is not so bad I have a good second row grid position. The only problem I have is getting the bike to hold the racing line in some corners. But I’m sure we will be OK for the morning warm up. The engine is OK and if I get a good start I can run with the leading group then we will see what happens in the race.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Kopron Scot Honda: 6th.
“We are not OK with the balance of the bike. It was not at all good this morning but we managed to make small improvements this afternoon. We are still far away but it’s just a mistake on chassis and suspension settings. It’s not fun but if we can improve before the warm up then I might be OK. The engine I cannot really say too much because I was never with the fastest riders. But if we do not improve before the warm up I am not confident about my chances.”

Yukio Takahashi, Kopron Scot Honda: 11th.
“The bike is very good. This morning in the dry conditions I found really good chassis and suspension settings or this track and this afternoon we only had small things to change. I ran my best lap times with a hard tyre that didn’t have much grip. On my last lap I was running with Bautista but I made a small mistake with the front but I have a good race set up and I hope to have a good race. I am slowly regaining feeling in my injured foot and my wrist is much better – so the important thing is not to crash tomorrow.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 12th.
“That was not so good – I crashed on the last lap of qualifying. The front end just turned in and I was down. We have never had that problem with this bike but all day I felt the front end wanting to turn in. Now I think it is a problem with the suspension because we tried many settings and different tyres but it was still a problem. The engine is good but we must fix the front end if I am to have a good race. ”

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 15th.
“This qualifying session shows what I can do when I know the circuit and the bike set up, I think it shows my potential in grands prix. My lap times are very consistent and I think I can race for a top 12 position in the dry. If it rains the race is wide open.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 17th.
“Today's result shows that I only had once a day of dry practice on this track, but in those circumstances, it's not too bad. What really matters is the fact that I gained some experience in the wet yesterday, which could prove crucial tomorrow as the weather forecast is uncertain. I feel confident for the race, regardless of the weather conditions.”


125cc:

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 8th.
“Not so bad today. My engine is really fast, the same as the KTM I was running with. The only small disadvantage is on acceleration off the Melbourne loop. I have some front end chatter but it’s nothing much and I am sure we can fix that before the warm up tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the race.”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 9th.
“"Its been difficult today because we needed to get a move on after loosing so much time to the weather yesterday. We had many different things to try but didn't have a perfect set up. I high-sided of the bike coming out of Coppice and landed on my back and foot I'm a bit sore but I will be OK to race. My team mate Tito (Rabat) and me have three bikes between us and we have both crashed today so the team have a lot to do to get us ready for tomorrow."

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 15th.
“After the Catalunya GP we stayed on at the circuit to test various set up changes and found some improvements. We started practice here with the new settings but nothing worked. The team soon gave me a good bike and I felt OK. Everything was normal, very good this morning and I started the qualifying session with the same settings as this morning on an old tyre. When I came into the box to new change tyres the team adjusted the front and rear suspension trying for a little more grip but the feeling from the bike was not so good. We will go back to the original setting for the warm up and hope to find the same feeling I had this morning.”

Enrique Jerez replacement rider for the injured Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 24th.
“I am very pleased with the experience I am gaining here in the GP. The team have worked really hard for me and have fixed the suspension problems I have had. I think that tomorrow I will have a good race because today I found a good feeling with the bike and the track.”

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 28th.
“I didn't have a very good feeling on the bike in practice today. Then on the second lap of qualifying I clashed with another rider and crashed. My bike ran straight and hit the wall. I went back to the pit box to take the second bike that I share with my team-mate Bradley (Smith) but the bike was set up for his riding style so I could not really set a fast time. I just used the time to learn the track in dry conditions.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 29th.
“I am loosing too much time off the sow corners particularly coming off the Melbourne loop. I have no bottom end power – many riders pull away from me at those points and it is impossible to try and make up ground on the brakes every lap. Pity because on top speed the bike is very good and the handling is also good. I hope it rains for the race tomorrow then I will have a better result than in dry conditions.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 32nd.
“I could be faster than I was, even if I have improved my lap time with every session. The bike is good but the circuit doesn’t have much grip. I am running constant 1m 41.1 lap times but I need to be inside 1m 40s, but I set my time riding alone so that’s a good thing. Just one tenth of a second faster in qualifying and I would be four places higher up the grid – that’s how competitive it is. I have to push a little harder in the race than I did today. I am English but I have only ever riding two 20 minute training sessions at Donington”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
British Grand Prix at Donington Park

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

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