MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 12: Czech Republic GP > Qualifying
F1Czech RepublicAugust 18, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 12
Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno

HAYDEN AND PEDROSA STORM TO FRONT ROW STARTS

Race Results >>

The much-awaited hour of MotoGP qualifying at the first Grand Prix after the summer break proved to be business as usual for Casey Stoner (Ducati) who took his third consecutive pole position. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) joins him on the front row as second fastest qualifier and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) as third quickest.



Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

In bright, dry conditions, with the track temperature at 35 degrees, riders filtered out onto the imposing 5.043km of Brno tarmac. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) made the early running before a fired-up Hayden dislodged him from the top of the timesheets, putting in a 1m 58.848s lap to show his desire to get up to the sharp end of the grid and stay there.

Loris Capirossi (Ducati) then notched up a 1m 58.074s lap to take the early provisional pole slot from Nicky and establish himself as one of the contenders for at least a front row start. At the halfway point of the session, the order was Capirossi, Stoner, John Hopkins (Suzuki) and then Nicky and Dani.

Dani then got into the groove to move up to third, relegating Nicky to fifth as the duo worked on finding the best set-up with a raft of new HRC parts and settings developed by the factory before and during the month-long lay-off before this Grand Prix.

The surprise of the session was Yamaha rider Sylvain Guintoli who was fastest yesterday and proved to be a quick man today too when he moved up to second fastest with just over 20 minutes to go. But Vermeulen laid a claim on second just minutes later until Guintoli responded by snatching pole with a swift 1m 58.044s lap.

Suzuki man Hopkins then grabbed the top slot with a 1m 57.857s lap before Stoner deprived the American of his brief tenure at the front with a 1m 57.066s lap. The pace was getting hotter and both Dani and Nicky were ready to respond.

Stoner’s time was already 0.875 seconds better than Rossi’s pole time of 2006 and as Nicky moved up to second with 15 minutes left to run, qualifying rubber was ready to be fitted and riders prepared to make the most of these super-sticky tyres.

Capirossi showed his hand by climbing to third place with ten minutes to go and the gritty Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V), riding while only 60% recovered from the broken leg he suffered at Assen in June, moved up to eighth.

With Dani lying second and Nicky fourth, both Repsol riders were poised to make the most of this strong position and as Stoner romped to a 1m 56.884s time, the first rider to dip into the fifty-sixes, Nicky showed he was right in the hunt for pole with a 1m 57.164s effort which consolidated second for the reigning World Champion.

With two minutes left on the clock Dani took third with a 1m 57.1798s time. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) struggled to fifth on the grid, while Hopkins fell in the final minute making efforts to get on terms at the front.

Two Honda men then had a hold on the front row, but there would be no other Honda riders in the top ten. Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) managed 11th, Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) 12th, the tough Elias 14th and Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V) 17th.

Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) sat out this session and will not ride in tomorrow’s 22-lap race after suffering a herniated disc in his back. The Italian will rest and prepare for the Misano, Italy event in early September.

Nicky Hayden, just 0.280 seconds shy of pole, said: “This weekend, even though we haven’t put in the one quick lap in every session, we’ve been reasonably close to the pace and perhaps a bit better than it looked on paper. I quite enjoyed my qualifying laps. My first run went pretty well and on my second one I hung it out a little bit further and was able to go a couple of tenths faster – it was fun. For the afternoon session we changed the bike geometry around which seemed to help us. We’ll see what happens in the race tomorrow, but nonetheless that’s my first front row of the season so I’ll try to get a good start and turn it into a good result.”

Dani Pedrosa said: “In qualifying we improved our position quite a lot and the Michelin qualifying tyres worked very well. I’m happy to be on the front row of course and this gives us a good chance to get away at the front in the race. We still need to make the final decisions on which race tyres to choose, based on what we learned today. A good start is going to be essential tomorrow and I hope that we can find a package that will let us fight with the front group and challenge for the win. It’s going to be a tough race and I’m looking forward to it.”

Nakano, in 11th, just over a second off the pole time, said: “We’ve gone much better than yesterday. To be honest we expected a difficult session or two with the new parts as it obviously takes time to find the perfect set-up. Today was an improvement as we’ve found a much better balance between the front and rear of the bike, so I’m feeling more comfortable. The improvement from the engine is very noticeable: it’s provides smoother acceleration and better engine braking. Overall, this makes the bike much easier to ride. The only problem we have now is a little chattering still from the front-end of the bike.”

Checa, 12th fastest, said: “The warmer weather today helped the tyre performance and a hotter race day will even be better. On race tyres I was running times in the top seven, but I couldn’t improve on the final qualifying tyre. There was some traffic plus I didn’t have enough mid-corner speed today. We tried many adjustments and made some small gains, but the set-up is still not perfect. The top speed and engine response is much better but we still need to find some solutions. I think we have a good tyre choice for the race and a strong top ten finish should be achievable.”

Elias, in 14th, said: “I am quite satisfied with my qualifying but I hope for a better result in the race. Today I had much more pain in my injured leg because of the stress I put on the leg yesterday. I know it will be a very difficult race and I have only put in four laps in a row in practice and qualifying and the race tomorrow is 22 laps! I worked very hard on my condition in the month before Brno but I know I cannot expect too much from the race.”

Roberts, who qualified 17th fastest, said: “We’ve been on the new chassis since Laguna, but doesn’t make up for the lack of horsepower. That’s been an issue all year. We can only do so much with what we have, and we’re doing it. I prefer the feel of the new chassis. It holds a corner line a little better. We still need more, but it’s an improvement.”

A philosophical, but understandably disappointed, Melandri said: “I’m very sorry to give up on this race. I really wanted to try qualifying but the pain was too much. The movement on my helmet while braking put pressure on the compressed nerve and sent too much pain down my left arm. Riding like that would be dangerous for myself – and the others. Now I’ll get ready for Misano.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) took pole in the 250cc class with fellow Aprilia rider Alex Debon second on the grid, Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) qualified third fastest with Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) completing the front row in fourth.

Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) will start from sixth on the grid and Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) and Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) will join the Japanese man on row two as seventh and eighth fastest qualifiers. Takahashi is 1.2 seconds off the pole time though.

Dovizioso said: "I'm very satisfied about the lap time I made today on race tyres, we have been very fast considering that this isn't our favourite track. So for that reason this result make me confident. I'm happy about the team's work and the improvements made session after session, there is still some work to do in order to find increased the grip but for the rest I think we are quite ok. Tomorrow it will be a long, difficult and tiring race. For me, for the team and for the final standing I have to win and I'll try until the end."

Takahashi said: "I'm very happy to start from the second row, it was my aim and I reached it. Tomorrow it is very important to start well. In the second part of the Championship and to gain points as many points as possible for the general standing. The bike is quite good, there still some work to do on suspension in order to improve the bike and find a little better set-up. I'm confident, physically I have recovered a lot in this summer break and I want to demonstrate that tomorrow."

Simon said: “I think we could have gone a little faster but it was not to be. Improve a few things and we can go faster. I’m pleased though because I did my best and looking forward to tomorrow we’ll try a few new things in warm-up so I feel comfortable on the bike. Then I can tackle the race in a strong frame of mind.”

Aoyama said: “I had some problems in the afternoon with the rear-end settings, right up to the end of the session – both tyre and suspension – but we made some changes and things went better. I don’t know what type of race it will be tomorrow but I’m sure it won’t be easy as the times set were all pretty similar.”

Hungarian hotshot Gabor Talmacsi took pole in the 125cc class with Hector Faubel second fastest man with Mattia Pasini (all Aprilia) third on the grid and Lukas Pesek (Derbi) completing the front row.

Local man Pesek headed the timesheet early in the session with a 2m 08.201s time from yesterday’s session with Faubel in touch with a 2m 08.413s best. Then Pesek fell with 16 minutes left and Talmacsi posted a 2m 07.434s lap time to snatch pole.

Faubel then went faster until Talmacsi recorded a 2m 06.861s lap to make the number one grid slot his own with two minutes of the half-hour session left. Britain’s Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) qualified 13th and Alex Masbou (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) from 15th.

Smith said: “I only found a fast lap time over the last four laps of final qualifying. No matter what I tried yesterday I could not get the bike to turn, even changing lines and braking points, I could do nothing to improve that. The bad weather overnight left the track in a different condition and I could not run as fast. At the places I normally run fast and have good braking points I was slower than expected. We changed the front forks and raised the rear-end a bit and that helped me. I can’t do anymore, I’m riding hard.”

His team-mate Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda RS125R) qualified 18th and said: “This morning everything was feeling OK but in the qualifying session I had a few problems with front-end chatter and I couldn’t get the bike to turn fast enough. I only improved my time by a tenth of a second from morning practice. The engine is OK but I can’t make use of anyone’s slipstream. We have the warm-up to check the improvements to the front-end and I’m sure the team will find a solution.”



Shinya NAKANO (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)


Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 2nd.
"This weekend, even though we haven't put in the one quick lap in every session, we've quietly been reasonably close to the pace and perhaps a bit better than it looked on paper. This afternoon the warmer temperature helped us, the tyres worked better and straight away we were able to get down into those 1m 58s laps where we need to be. I quite enjoyed my qualifying laps. My first run went pretty well and on my second one I hung it out a little bit further and was able to go a couple of tenths faster - it was fun. For the afternoon session we changed the bike geometry around which seemed to help us. We'll see what happens in the race tomorrow, but nonetheless that's my first front row of the season so I'll try to get a good start and turn it into a good result."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
"In qualifying we improved our position quite a lot and the Michelin qualifying tyres worked very well. I'm happy to be on the front row of course and this gives us a good chance to get away at the front in the race. The warmer conditions also helped our performance as expected this afternoon, though we must continue to work on our race settings tonight and tomorrow morning. We still need to make the final decisions on which race tyres to choose, based on what we learned today. A good start is going to be essential tomorrow and I hope that we can find a package that will let us fight with the front group and challenge for the win. It's going to be a tough race and I'm looking forward to it."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 12th.
"The warmer weather today helped the tyre performance and a hotter race day will even be better. On race tyres I was running times in the top seven, but I couldn't improve on the final qualifying tyre, there was some traffic plus I didn't have a enough mid-corner speed today. We tried many adjustments and made some small gains, but the set-up is still not perfect. The top speed and engine response is much better but we still need to find some solutions. I think we have a good tyre choice for the race and a strong top ten finish should be achievable."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 11th.
“We’ve gone much better than yesterday. To be honest we expected a difficult session or two with the new parts as it obviously takes time to find the perfect set-up. Today was an improvement as we’ve found a much better balance between the front and rear of the bike, so I’m feeling more comfortable. The improvement from the engine is very noticeable: it’s provides smoother acceleration and better engine braking. Overall, this makes the bike much easier to ride. The only problem we have now is a little chattering still from the front-end of the bike. This chattering effectively limits the corner entry and mid-corner speed, while the improved motor makes things easier for us than before on the corner exit. This chatter means I cannot push as I would like in the corner, but we have some options to try and a different tyre to look at tomorrow. We are hoping that tomorrow’s weather conditions and track temperatures should be similar to today, which would be better for us.”

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 14th.
“I am quite satisfied with my qualifying but I hope for a better result in the race. Today I had much more pain in my injured leg because of the stress I put on the leg yesterday. I know it will be a very difficult race and I have only put in four laps in a row in practice and qualifying and the race tomorrow is 22 laps! I worked very hard on my condition in the month before Brno but I know I cannot expect too much from the race.”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 17th.
“We've been on the new chassis since Laguna, but doesn't make up for the lack of horsepower. That's been an issue all year. We can only do so much with what we have, and we're doing it. I prefer the feel of the new chassis. It holds a corner line a little better. We still need more, but it's an improvement. One problem is Michelin brought us three or four bike turn. There's so much now: how the motor's working, the tyres, the construction all affect the way the bike turns. And ours is different every week. It's hard to get a base line and get consistent, when we keep having these surprises thrown at us.”

Chuck Aksland - Team Manager - Team Roberts.
He was having a good qualifying run when he got behind Anthony West. I think he expected Anthony would pull him along a bit, but in hindsight it probably held him up. That's part of what he's referring to ... if he'd had a bit of horsepower to get around Anthony he'd have a better time. Still, we've improved things for the tyres we have here. It's a big part of the game. We started with a lot of different compounds and a lot of different rear-tyre constructions. Some are working better than others. That seems the biggest area we could improve things, apart from horsepower. It seems every racetrack we go to there's something different and we start from zero again. But he's closing the gap, he's closer to other satellite Hondas, and he's doing a good job. All the signs point to the new chassis being better. On Monday we should have plenty of time to confirm we are going the right way. Hopefully we'll be able to work through a range of tyres too, to give us a baseline in that area.

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda:
“I’m very sorry to give up on this race. I really wanted to try qualifying but the pain was too much. The movement on my helmet while braking put pressure on the compressed nerve and sent too much pain down my left arm. Riding like that would be dangerous for myself – and the others. Now I’ll get ready for Misano.”


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Kopron Scot Honda: 3rd.
"I'm very satisfied about the lap time I made today on race tyres, we have been very fast considering that this isn't our favourite track. So for that reason this result make me confident. I'm happy about the team's work and the improvements made session after session, there is still some work to do in order to find increased the grip but for the rest I think we are quite ok. Tomorrow it will be a long, difficult and tiring race. For me, for the team and for the final standing I have to win and I'll try until the end."

Yukio Takahashi, Kopron Scot Honda: 6th.
"I'm very happy to start from the second row, it was my aim and I reached it. Tomorrow it is very important to start well. In the second part of the Championship and to gain points as many points as possible for the general standing. The bike is quite good, there still some work to do on suspension in order to improve the bike and find a little better set-up. I'm confident, physically I have recovered a lot in this summer break and I want to demonstrate that tomorrow."

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 7th.
“These were tough training sessions where the riders were very fast. Those at the front beat the record for the circuit. Both the mechanics and I did all we could. I think that we could have gone a little faster but it was not to be. Improving a few things we can go faster. I am pleased because I did my best and looking forward to tomorrow we will try a few new things in the warm-up so that I feel comfortable on the bike and can tackle the race in a better frame of mind. I am very motivated, the holidays have been good for me and tomorrow I am dying to get among the leaders and fight for a podium finish.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“This morning the result was not so good, but the sensations on the bike were better. Perhaps I could have gone a little faster seeing the times I set. I had some problems in the afternoon, right to the end of the session, with the rear end settings – both the tyre and the suspension – but we made some changes and things went better. I do not know what type of race it will be tomorrow but I am sure it will not be easy as the times set were all very similar.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 19th.
"I'm satisfied with today's result and the work we did to improve the bike set-up. This morning, there wasn't much grip out there and I was kind of short on mileage as yesterday the rain prevented us to do everything we had planned. Despite all of this, I finished the session just 3.5s off the pole position time, in a relatively good position. Tomorrow I hope I can do a good start and join the battle for points as soon as possible."

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 25th.
"I know I can go much faster than this and hopefully we can find a front set-up to handle the bumps here, that is my big problem. I've learnt the track no problem, but as soon as I try to go faster I struggle with the bumps."


125cc:

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 13th.
“I only found a fast lap time over the last four laps of final qualifying. No matter what I tried yesterday I could not get the bike to turn, changing lines braking points, I could do nothing to improve. The overnight bad weather left the track different condition and I could not run as fast. At the places I normally run fast and have good braking points I was slower than I expected. We changed the front forks and raised the rear end a bit and that helped me. I cant do anymore, I’m riding hard.”

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 18th.
“This morning everything was feeling OK but in the qualifying session I ad a few problems with front end chatter and I couldn’t get the bike to turn fast enough. I only improved my time by a tenth of a second from morning practice. The engine is OK but I cannot make use of the slipstream. We have the warm up to check the improvements to the front end and I’m sure the team will find a solution.”

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 19th.
"This afternoon I went fast at the beginning of the session and in fact I lowered my lap time quickly. Sure we have improved but not enough, it won't be easy starting from 19th place tomorrow. We had a small carburation problem but that’s OK now. The engine is good enough to pass other riders from the slipstream. I normally don’t like the track, it’s very bumpy but this weekend I feel I can make a good result here. All I need is a good start and get with the fast group.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 15th.
“The summer break was very positive. I had time to relax and feel much more confident and detached for this Grand Prix. We worked on the Honda¹s chassis and if that bothered me during the first sessions it worked out as an advantage in the end. In fact I realised that I was using the full potential of this new set-up, because even if the bike felt easier to flick between the corners, I still found it wouldn¹t turn as I would have liked. In the last session I thought things over in my mind, we worked on the front end again and eventually it all worked out. In the warm-up tomorrow morning I will concentrate on riding several laps at the same pace as my qualifying time. I hope to obtain a good race result on this racetrack, which I really appreciate and which puts the accent on corner entries, which is my good point!”

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron Scot Honda: 19th.
“My qualifying was so – so much as the weekend. I don’t really know why I’m not faster, maybe I’m thinking I don’t want to crash again even though my injuries have healed. We had a small carburation problem but that’s OK now. The engine is good enough to pass other riders from the slipstream. I normally don’t like the track, it’s very bumpy but this weekend I feel I can make a good result here. All I need is a good start and get with the fast group.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 28th.
“I started the morning free practice only looking to find the best possible set up for the race. I found a good setting very quickly and was aiming to run low 2m 11s times but I was into 2m 10s. So after that I came in changed tyres made a few carburation adjustments. I only beat my best time by one tenth of a second but made a mistake at T3, which is normally my fastest section so I am very confident I can run faster times tomorrow. The bike is good, engine chassis and tyres. I need one of my fast starts because it’s a long way to the first corner.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 30th.
“I am so frustrated with today, free practice and qualifying. In the morning I had an electrical problem that caused the engine revs to drop off for a few seconds then fire up again. The team changed some things on the bike for the qualifying session but the bike stopped at turn one on the first lap out. We got the bike back to the box quickly and changed the entire ignition system and the kill switch. But all that cost me time and I only got in four flying laps. The time is better than yesterday and now the problems are fixed I am confident thebike will be good for the warm up and race.”

Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 34th.
"The problems I had yesterday still persist. This morning I improved my time by about two tenths of a second and I thought to improve today but on the contrary I wasn't able to. I hope only to have a good start tomorrow and don't lose the contact with the group in order to try a recover."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 12
Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno

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

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