MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 10: Germany GP > Qualifying
MotoGPGermanyJuly 14, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
Germany Grand Prix at Sachsenring

Pedrosa and Melandri on Front Row in Germany

Race Results >>

This hour of MotoGP qualifying in intense heat at the Sachsenring in eastern Germany saw two Honda men Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) put themselves on the front row of the grid behind Casey Stoner (Ducati) on pole.



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Marco MELANDRI (Team Honda Gresini)

With the track at a parched 42 degrees, and in front of typically huge crowd, the session got underway with Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) and Stoner setting the early pace. This would be a crucial session not only in terms of grid position but also in finalising tyre choice for what promises to be another scorching day tomorrow.

The times were incredibly close throughout the hour and as the session ended only 1.1 seconds covered pole to 17th on the 19-rider grid. This is in part due to the compact nature of this twisting 3.671km track and also the sheer competitiveness of qualifying this season.

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) and Anthony West (Kawasaki) were on the pace within the first five minutes but then faded as the hour wore on to end the session tenth and 12th.

Stoner, who had been fastest in the three untimed sessions prior to this afternoon’s affair, was bested by Randy de Puniet, as the Kawasaki rider again was the first to opt for a set of qualifying tyres and set a provisional pole time of 1m 22.897s.

At the halfway stage the order was de Puniet from Dani Pedrosa, with Alex Barros (Ducati) third fastest, Stoner in fourth followed by Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Marco Melandri. And at this point the first 18 riders were covered by 1.6 seconds.

With 12 minutes to go Stoner put down his marker for pole with lap time of 1m 22.384 seconds and the action became intense as his rivals strove to beat that time. Dani came close with a 1m 22.561 and Melandri responded with a time of 1m 22.554s.

Carlos Checa pushed too hard in his bid to haul himself to a good grid slot and lost the front-end of his machine at the final turn crashing without injury but narrowly avoiding being hit by Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) as he crossed the track to return to the pits. He eventually qualified 15th. With four minutes left the provisional front row comprised Stoner, Pedrosa and de Puniet.

Then Melandri knocked de Puniet off the front row with a time of 1m 22.397s and the French Kawasaki man endured a spectacular crash at the fast left at the bottom of the hill as he attempted to get back onto the front row.

The final order was Stoner, Pedrosa, Melandri with a second row of de Puniet John Hopkins (Suzuki), Rossi and a third row of Loris Capirossi (Ducati), Barros and Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha).

Dani said: “I’m happy to be on the front row because this is a tight track where it’s quite difficult to overtake so to be up front is going to be important. Of course it would have been nice to be on pole position like last year, and we came very close, but I’m not disappointed with the result this afternoon. This morning was not so good and we tried a few things that didn’t immediately improve the machine. However, it helped us find a better direction in the afternoon and I was able to ride at a fast, consistent pace on race tyres, so I think our set-up is quite good - for the beginning of the race at least. The critical thing will be how things are going from the mid-point onwards because this is where we have struggled a little in some races.”

Marco said: “It’s a nice feeling to be back on the front row. Thanks to the new material we’ve been given here at the Sachsenring we’ve been able to make a big step forward. The bike is good fun to ride and I’ve got a good feeling. I made a small mistake in turn one on the qualifying tyre and only missed out on pole by a small fraction but I’m still satisfied with this result. On such a tight circuit, especially in the first sections, it is important to be starting from the front of the grid.”

Nakano, tenth fastest, said: “If I look behind me there are some very fast riders! My qualifying lap was not perfect, I made some small mistakes but I felt like I finally had the chance to push harder. We were faster than yesterday even with race tyres and we’ve improved the gearbox settings for some of the corners and altered the suspension so we’ve got good braking stability now, which is good. On some of the high-speed corners I’m slower than other guys so we will try a different rear setting for tomorrow.”

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) could only manage 14th place on the grid. He said: “This morning things were definitely going a bit better and I was able to go quite a bit faster with some decent consistency. We needed that session after losing a lot of time yesterday. This afternoon we made some more setting changes but it actually made us go backwards a little bit and I couldn’t get into a good rhythm. And then I had problems on both my qualifying runs. On the first qualifying tyre I had a decent lap going but in the last corner Checa actually ran across the track in front of me and I had to abort the lap. He’s a brave man. He’d crashed and to be honest I’d have probably done the same to get back to the pits in qualifying, but I’d probably look first.”

Checa in 15th said: “I feel comfortable and competitive here, the updated chassis from Honda has better balance and improved turning although we still have to discover how it reacts to set-up changes. Tomorrow I will do further comparisons with the new chassis against the standard RC212V, but so far it is a positive feeling. We still need to improve front tyre contact through the uphill turns, plus today the engine set-up was a little aggressive. Tyre performance was consistent and grip levels OK on the new surface, except for the bumps at turn 12.”

Michel Fabrizio, riding in place of the injured Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) qualified 17th and said: “Every time I’ve been out my feeling with the bike has improved and so has my rhythm. Compared to yesterday we’ve taken a big step forward, although I could have done with two more sessions to get to know the bike even more. The track was quite new for me too - I haven’t raced at the Sachsenring since 2003 - so I am happy with how things are going.”

Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V) in 19th spot said: “Once we got a front tyre that worked, it cured a lot of the handling problems. It's been real frustrating here all weekend, because we just keep going around in circles. Normally, every time we throw in a front qualifier, it chatters its brains out. But we were OK at the end. If we can get the thing to work like we did at the end of the session, we can race with those guys. If we can’t, it’s just going to be a lonely boring race.”

Mika Kallio (KTM) rode to a first ever pole in the 250cc class ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) with Alex de Angelis third fastest and current series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (both Aprilia) completing the front row.

Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) heads the second row while last year’s race winner here Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) will start the race from tenth on the grid. The first 12 riders are covered by less than one second.

Dovi said: “Not bad. I was not expecting to set that time because its not one of my best tracks. The engine is so-so and running a little bit hot but the bike is steering really well, the suspension works well - and you need that at this track. On the long fast left corners you are on the edge of the tyre and sliding for a long time - you have to use your body weight to hold a fast line.”

Simon said: “I’ve got a lot of confidence after today’s sessions - something very important as I’ve recently had some difficult training sessions and races. Tomorrow my main objective is to finish in the leading group, whatever the result may be, but I want to be at the front during the 30 laps, trying to win and racing with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Takahashi said: “I like this track and spent the session finding the best set-up for the race tomorrow. I found a good balance but we need a little work on the front suspension and then the bike will be just right for me. The most important thing is to get a good start and get into the first corner with the leaders, otherwise it will be difficult.”

Gabor Talmacsi grabbed his third pole of the 125cc season so far with a lap of 1m 26.839s. Mattia Pasini qualified second fastest with Hector Faubel (all Aprilia) third and Britain’s Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) completes the front row as fourth quickest qualifier.

Smith has made a rapid recovery from injuries sustained in Holland two weeks ago and for a man who was doubtful to ride this weekend, his lap of 1m 27.094s around this tiring track is a massive achievement. His team-mate Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) qualified tenth.

Smith said: “At the beginning of the session I was trying too hard and losing a few meters here and there. I started to improve as the session went on and got back up to speed. The bike is good, steers well and is helping my injured foot as I don’t have to put too much pressure on the footrest to move the bike around. At the end of the session, on the last lap, it all came together on one fast lap and I’m really pleased with this front row start.”

Rabat said: “The qualifying session was good - the bike is very good and I did many good laps. The only problem I have is a little rear wheel movement but we can fix that with better suspension and chassis settings. I prefer a hot race even if the temperature is more than 30 degrees. If I get a good start I will have a good race.”



Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Shinya NAKANO (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd.
"I'm happy to be on the front row because this is a tight track where it's quite difficult to overtake so to be up front is going to be important. Of course it would have been nice to be on pole position like last year, and we came very close, but I'm not disappointed with the result this afternoon. This morning was not so good and we tried a few things that didn't immediately improve the machine. However, it helped us find a better direction in the afternoon and I was able to ride at a fast, consistent pace on race tyres, so I think our set-up is quite good - for the beginning of the race at least. The critical thing will be how things are going from the mid-point onwards because this is where we have struggled a little in some races. It looks like it's going to be even hotter tomorrow, which means it could be hard work in the race because there's not a lot of time to take a rest at this track. Still, I'm looking forward to another good race tomorrow."

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 3rd.
"It's a nice feeling to be back on the front row. Thanks to the new material we've been given here at Sachsenring we've been able to make a big step forward. The bike is good fun to ride and I've got a good feeling. I made a small mistake in turn one on the qualifying tyre and only missed out on pole by a small fraction but I'm still satisfied with this result. On such a tight circuit, especially in the first sections, it is important to be starting from the front of the grid. I like the track and tomorrow I'm aiming for a top result. It will be a long race, with 30 demanding laps on a track which puts the riders and the tyres to the test and they are even predicting higher temperatures for tomorrow. I just want to say thanks to Honda and the team for their efforts and tomorrow I'd like to pay back Fausto Gresini with a good result."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 10th.
"If I look behind me there are some very fast riders! My qualifying lap was not perfect, I made some small mistakes but I felt like I finally had the chance to push harder. We were faster than yesterday even with race tyres and we’ve improved the gearbox settings for some of the corners and altered the suspension so we’ve got good braking stability now, which is good. On some of the high-speed corners I’m slower than other guys so we will try a different rear setting for tomorrow. Our second sector is a little slow, but I’ve regained confidence in some of the corners and am riding like usual again. We’re still missing something, but slowly we are making small steps forward."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 14th.
"This morning things were definitely going a bit better and I was able to go quite a bit faster with some decent consistency. We needed that session after losing a lot of time yesterday. This afternoon we made some more setting changes but it actually made us go backwards a little bit and I couldn't get into a good rhythm. And then I had problems on both my qualifying runs. On the first qualifying tyre I had a decent lap going but in the last corner Checa actually ran across the track in front of me and I had to abort the lap. He's a brave man. He'd crashed and to be honest I'd have probably done the same to get back to the pits in qualifying, but I'd probably look first. The first two splits of my second lap were pretty good but then in Turn 10 I made a big mistake which ruined that lap, so my best time this afternoon was on a race tyre. It's definitely not the grid position we need. Tonight we'll look to make some changes to the machine and see what happens tomorrow. A good start's going to be essential."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 15th.
"Starting from 15th will not be easy at this track but the new chassis has better balance and I should be able to fight with the second group for a place in top ten tomorrow. The crash was a shame, I felt confident that I could do a very competitive lap as the section times showed, but I just pushed too hard on the front at the final corner. Today I concentrated on set-up of the new chassis and tyre testing for the race, and there are still some things we need to understand as we learn about the new chassis."

Michel Fabrizio, replacement rider for Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 17th.
"Every time I've been out my feeling with the bike has improved and so has my rhythm. Compared to yesterday we've taken a big step forward, although I could have done with two more sessions to get to know the bike even more. The track was quite new for me too - I haven't raced at Sachsenring since 2003 - so I am happy with
how things are going."

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 19th.
"Once we got a front tire that worked, it cured a lot of the handling
problems. It's been real frustrating here all weekend, because we just keep going around in circles. And when the guys are out there watching, they're seeing the same thing I'm saying. They're confirming it. It's the same thing Kenny Jr. was complaining about, it's the same thing I've complained about from day one. It's just trying to get it out of it. And normally, every time we throw in a front qualifier, it's just chattered it's brains out. Today, the second corner, I realized this is what the bike needs to do the whole lap. And it did that for two laps. Actually, if I would have been able to get used to it, if the thing would have done it for half a session, then I would have known what lines to take. Now I'm off on some lines, because the thing would actually turn in where I wanted to and the next thing you know you'd be going too slow or too fast. If we can get the thing to work like we did at the end of the session, we can race with those guys. If we can't, it's just going to be a lonely boring race."

Chuck Aksland - Team Manager - Team Roberts.
"Once we got grip into it, the bike started behaving right. So hopefully some of the stuff that we're bringing to Laguna will increase the grip level or
help the set-up for the bike turning back. I'd say, given what we have, he did a good job. The plan for Laguna Seca is that I'm leaving England last so I can bring everything. It won't be a whole bike, it will be a frame and exhaust pipes and other parts. But it's all right down to the last minute. So hopefully I'll be bringing a big ole box with me. The plan is for the bike to get built on Thursday."


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Kopron Scot Honda: 2nd.
"Not bad I was not expecting to set that time because its not one of my best tracks. The engine is so- so running a little bit hot but the bike is steering really good, the suspension works well and you need that at this track. On the long fast left corners you are on the edge of the tyre and sliding for a long time - you have to use your body weight to hold a fast line but the suspension settings are working."

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 5th.
"This was a much more positive day than yesterday. The truth is that since this morning I have felt a lot better on the bike. We have been making progress and I have to thank the team for all the great work they have done, because they have helped me to understand the bike more and to feel much better when riding it. I still have to improve on one part of the circuit, to be specific the third section, but the time I set was a good one since we are fifth on the grid and we were on the first row until the last few minutes. Regarding tomorrow I am dying to race. I have got a lot of confidence with today`s afternoon training sessions, something very important as I have recently had some difficult training sessions and races. Tomorrow my main objective is to finish in the leading group, whatever the result may be, but I want to be at the front during the 30 laps, trying to win and racing with a lot of enthusiasm."

Yuki Takahashi, Kopron Scot Honda: 10th.
"I like this track and spent the session finding best set up for the race tomorrow. I found a good balance but we need a little work on the front suspension and the bike will be just right for me. The most important thing is to get a good start and get into the first corner with the leaders, otherwise it will be difficult."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 17th.
"I am not very happy even though I finished in a better position than yesterday. This morning my sensations on the bike were not so bad, but this afternoon we have changed some things but I was not able to improve. I noticed the bike moving around a lot and the result was that I was not able to set a good time. Today we tried a new chassis, identical to the one we used before. Tomorrow is the race so we will have to change some things because I have to go faster."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 22nd.
"The section with the consecutive left-handers was the part of the track where I was losing too much time. I tried to improve but I went off the racing line and I couldn't help crashing after getting off-track. Fortunately, I came out without any serious injuries but only a couple of contusions. It hurts pretty bad anyway and it was really tough in qualifying, I couldn't improve my lap times. I hope to be in better shape tomorrow."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 26th.
"The engine performance was much better today, and I’m enjoying the track, but I need a better suspension set-up to get the chassis working and today a problem with the rear brake also cost me some time."


125cc:

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 4th.
"At the beginning of the session I was trying to hard and loosing a few metres here and there. I started to improve as the session went on and got back to speed. The bike is good and steers well and is helping my injured foot as I don’t have to put too much pressure on the footrest to move the bike around. At the end of the session, on the last lap, it all came together on one fast lap and I’m really pleased with this front row start. Basically my condition is not perfect my foot is still painful and the race is 27-laps but when the race starts you don’t think about it you do what you have to do."

Esteve Rabat, Repsol Honda: 10th.
"The qualifying session was good - the bike is very good and I did many good laps. The only problem I have is a little rear wheel movement but we can fix that with better suspension settings. I prefer a hot race even if the temperature will be over 30 degrees. If I get a good start I will have a good race."

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 19th.
"Today we tried a new hard tyre, but it slid a lot and didn’t allow me to go fast. When we put in the tyres we used in the morning session we improved, the grip increased even if there still was a little bit of chattering. Unfortunately at the exit of a fast sloping turn, when I closed the gas, the bike jumped at the rear and I crashed. I had only some scratches and bruises, but nothing important. In machine setting we are quite ok, I hope tomorrow to give a good performance."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 25th.
"Pretty good I was running 1m 29.1s lap times in free practice and 29.3 in qualifying. I am not so happy on the fast sections as I need more help from the suspension - it was better in the qualifying session so we have only slight adjustments and I will run consistent 1m 29s laps. I will have to make on of my ‘Special’ fast starts because I like this track and I can run in the top 20 for sure."

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 26th.
"It feels like I’m riding quite well but the lap times simply won’t improve. It’s a really difficult weekend for me and the whole team. I’m finding it very difficult to find the right lines in the slow parts and when you’re off line in a corner you can’t perform in the following four. And yet this racetrack is usually very interesting, the surface is new and all the awkward bumps have been eliminated. But this year I can’t get to grips with the track. I’m working on my riding style a lot but the pace was very high this afternoon in the final qualifying session. I had a small crash yesterday and my back hurts. On top of that I had a slight technical problem which made me lose some time, and at the end of the day the outcome isn’t what I expected. I don't know what to think about tomorrow's race but I will give my maximum because I need to really understand my machine’s behaviour in order to find solutions to improve."

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 34th.
"I am pretty happy with my lap time but not my grid position. I ran 1m 30.2s in the morning session 30.3 in qualifying. I am really close to a bunch in front of me. The last section of the track is tight I just cannot get it right and I am not fast enough there but I really like the fast section. The bike is very good and I can run consistent lap times. If I get a good start and get with the group of about ten riders close to me in lap times ahead of me I will have a good race."

Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 35th.
"I’m weak and I haven’t strength to ride fast as I would like and I can, in fact today I made only 6 laps. In order to regain 100% fitness I think I need training and more confidence in my possibilities. Riding in a such a slow way I fear to be a danger on track, tomorrow we’ll see how the warm-up will go."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
Germany Grand Prix at Sachsenring

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

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