MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 16: Australia GP > Qualifying
MotoGPAustraliaOctober 13, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Australia Grand Prix at Phillip Island Qualifying

Dani Takes Pole for Second Successive Race

Race Results >>

This was a MotoGP qualifying session to savour and it was a triumph for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) as he squeezed both former Champ Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and newly crowned World number one Casey Stoner (Ducati) into second and third slots with a masterful lap of this challenging circuit.



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

Stoner had set the early pace with a swift 1m 29.998s lap and the order behind him was Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki), Loris Capirossi (Ducati), then Rossi and local hotshot Anthony West (Kawasaki). Dani lay ninth and his team-mate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) was seventh.

Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) was holding eighth spot when with 15 minutes to go the action got hotter in sunny, but chilly and windy, conditions with an ambient temperature of 16 degrees and with the track surface at just 24 degrees.

With sticky qualifying rubber fitted for the final ten minutes of flat out flying lap mayhem, Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha) hoisted himself to seventh while Dani put a claim on the front row with a lap good enough for third. Rossi lay fifth.

But with nine minutes of this hour-long session left to run, Rossi put in a 1m 29.816s time of this 4.448km coastal track to grab pole. It looked as if these qualifying laps from the front runners might hover around the high 1m 29s region as Stoner then replied to Rossi’s marker with a 1m 29.816s time with six minutes left on the clock.

But Pedrosa was on a mission and Dani’s amazing talent yielded a 1m 29.201s lap to put pole way beyond the reach of his rivals. Rossi came closest when he dislodged Stoner from second on the grid with three minutes remaining.

Capirossi too was back in the mix and the veteran Italian elevated himself to fourth before slipping down the order to fifth when Nicky posted a 1m 29.932s time to head the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s 27-lap encounter at this imposing venue.

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) left his best lap until right at the end and within the final minute, the Japanese man took eighth place on the grid with a 1m 30.612s lap.

But the Gresini pairing of Melandri and Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) couldn’t get on terms with the fast men here today. Melandri will start from 12th place while his Spanish team-mate is way down in 18th.

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V), who retires from MotoGP at the end of the season, qualified 13th for a fifth row start. While Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V) will launch his Honda-powered machine into the fray just behind Elias in 19th place.

Dani’s lap rapid lap was 0.218 seconds better than Rossi’s effort and 0.615 seconds faster than Stoner’s. And after the disappointment of not finishing the last race at Motegi, the dominant Pedrosa will be determined to work this advantage in the race.

Dani said: “My best ever lap time at this track so I’m happy. Considering how complicated the sessions have been prior to this afternoon, it’s a relief that this one went smoothly. We really needed some consistent dry track time and that’s what we got at last. I was able to improve my speed quite a lot from the first qualifying lap to the second one and I think I got just about the maximum from Michelin’s qualifying tyres, so I’m very pleased. For the race I really hope the weather stays stable. We were on pole position at the last race in Japan but the race-day weather didn’t help us, so I hope tomorrow it’s clear and we can concentrate simply on riding. My pace today on race tyres was quite consistent so hopefully we’re looking OK.”

Nicky said: “That’s by far the best session we’ve had this weekend. Fourth on the grid is not a disaster and if I get a good start I should be OK, though I’d have liked to be on the front row of course. My second qualifying lap was feeling pretty good but the left side of the tyre went off a little bit through the last section and the back of the bike was moving a lot through those last couple of corners - but I held on and was able to get on the second row. Hopefully the weather will stay clear and we can put on a good show tomorrow for these die-hard fans who’ve been braving the cold. I’m ready to put up a fight.”

Nakano, in eighth, said: “I am happy with that! Once more it’s very close, but it’s also very good to be inside the top ten in qualifying again! With the cold conditions it is difficult to choose the tyres here, because if you go for a harder compound it is very difficult to get them warm. We’ve not decided on the race tyre yet - we shall see what the weather has in store for us tomorrow - but our suspension settings have improved a lot. Tomorrow I would prefer dry or wet conditions - not in between, or us changing bikes, as that makes the race a gamble. I’m ready for both conditions and will hope for a good start.”

Melandri in 12th spot said: “Things didn't go as well in qualifying as they did in free practice. We struggled despite all our hard work and we couldn’t fix a vibration problem that’s preventing me from pushing as hard as I would like. We’ve got two solutions to try out in the warm-up tomorrow. The race will depend very much on the weather because it is always so uncertain here.”

Checa, 13th on the grid, said: “Unfortunately we have not made a lot of progress from yesterday and the main problem is still a lack of front grip, I have little confidence in the fast corners. I have had some long, front-end slides and nearly crashed a couple times. We have some set-up ideas to try in the warm-up and hopefully this will improve things for the race. I like this track and know that in the right conditions I can be much faster, but it is not easy when you do not have a comfortable feeling with the bike.”

Elias in 18th said: “It's been a tough weekend. We have a major general problem with the set-up. We've worked really hard with the team to fix it but I've just not been able to get enough feeling to ride with the confidence you need on such a technical circuit. Phillip Island is really fast, probably the fastest circuit on the calendar, so it is imperative to have the right setting. Hopefully we can have a dry race tomorrow and I can get a good start and make up plenty of positions.”

Kurtis Roberts, one place behind Elias, said: “I haven’t been here in ten years so I don’t know if it’s the lines I’m choosing, but getting the thing to hook up and move forward is not going well, that’s plain. The thing is moving around all over the place. The big slides look cool on TV, but looking cool and going fast are different things unfortunately, right now. Things are slowly moving forward, but it hasn’t been the easiest weekend to come to grips with the thing, with the changing weather. If it rains for the race, it’ll help us, but I just want it to be a safe weekend for everybody.”

Jorge Lorenzo took control of 250cc qualifying setting a pole time that was a staggering 0.886 seconds quicker than the second fastest man Hector Barbera could achieve. Alvaro Bautista and Alex de Angelis (all Aprilia) complete the front row.

Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) starts tomorrow’s race from the second row of the grid, 1.269 seconds off his title rival Lorenzo’s lap time of 1m 32.884s. Dovi will not relish being that far adrift of the pole time, but he will give his all to get on terms in the race.

Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) made the ninth fastest time and his team-mate Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) got himself into the top ten and will line up alongside Simon for the 25-lap race.

Dovi said: “I’m not happy about this race, we have a lot of setting problems that we are not able to solve completely. The gap from Lorenzo is too big but then we are very close with many other riders and only a good start tomorrow can make the difference. Today, even if we were not OK, we have improved by one second compared to yesterday, but it has not been enough. Anyway, we don’t lose hope and tomorrow we’ll give our best as always.”

Simon said: “This morning I was second fastest in the free practice and felt very confident going into the qualifying session. The chassis and suspension settings were very good and the engine and gearbox ratios also. I went out in the qualifying session and hoped to improve but my number on machine had a fuel starvation problem and I had to switch to my second bike and could not improve my time. But still I am confident for the race. If I get a good start and get with the top group I will have a good day.”

Aoyama said: “My feeling with the bike is not so bad, better than yesterday. My target for qualifying was 1m 33.8 or 38.9s but I didn’t make it. My best time was 33.3s and I’m in tenth place on the grid. The only little problem I have is at the slow corners the bike is sliding on the exit, a few times the back end stepped out. But in general the balance is good everywhere else. In the warm up we will change the front and rear suspension springs for something softer. The tyre choice will depend on the weather tomorrow.”

125cc qualifying was the domain of current ‘form’ rider Mattia Pasini, who knocked fellow Aprilia rider Rafaelle de Rosa off pole with a 1m 38.078s lap with four minutes to go. Derbi man Lukas Pesek qualified third fastest and KTM man Tommy Koyama completes the front row.

Honda riders did not enjoy the best of times during this half-hour of feverish activity. Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) made eleventh on the grid, albeit 1.276 seconds shy of the pole time, while Mike di Meglio (Scot Honda RS125R) managed 12th, and Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) 13th.

Rabat said: “My qualifying session was not good, I am not so happy. In the second part of the session I waited too long to find a fast rider when I got with a fast group I couldn’t find a good rhythm. The engine is not too bad, just down a little on acceleration. But we have some work to do on the suspension because at the last long corners the rear end is sliding too much and I have to be faster there.”

Di Meglio said: “This afternoon there was a lot of wind like yesterday, but there was more grip and this has improved the situation. We are good with the settings, today we have tested two different kind of tyres finding the right one for the race. If it’s dry we have to improve again, but we are quite OK if it rains. We have great possibilities to have a good race and finish well.”

Smith said: “Qualifying was almost a complete disaster for me trying to find the best set up and machine balance. I started with the same set-up as this morning. It was better when we raised the rear-end to try and get the front to turn better into the wind - I only weight 50 kg and it can be difficult.”



Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda)


Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250) & Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Scot Honda)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1st.
“Well I’m happy to get pole position again and it was a good lap for sure - my best ever lap time at this track so I’m happy. Considering how complicated the sessions have been prior to this afternoon, it’s a relief, that this one went smoothly. We really needed some consistent dry track time and that’s what we got at last. I was able to improve my speed quite a lot from the first qualifying lap to the second one and I think I got just about, the maximum from Michelin’s qualifying tyres, so I’m very pleased. For the race I really hope the weather stays stable. We were on pole position at the last race in Japan but the race-day weather didn’t help us, so I hope tomorrow it’s clear and we can concentrate simply on riding. We’ll be looking at the conditions and temperature tomorrow to make the final choice of race tyre. My pace today on race tyres was quite consistent so hopefully we’re looking okay. The top three riders in the championship are on the front row so it’s set up to be a good battle. I’m looking forward to it.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th.
”That’s by far the best session we’ve had this weekend. Fourth on the grid is not a disaster and if I get a good start I should be okay, though I’d have liked to be on the front row of course. My second qualifying lap was feeling pretty good but the left side of the tyre went off a little bit through the last section and the back of the bike was moving a lot through those last couple of corners - but I held on and was able to get on the second row which is okay. It’s been a big challenge with so little dry track time this weekend for all the teams, tyre technicians, riders - everybody. On race tyres we definitely looked pretty competitive this afternoon so I really hope tomorrow we can have a good result - but I know hoping won’t do it on its own. We’ve got to get back into the garage, work on the machine and keep improving. Hopefully the weather will stay clear and we can put on a good show tomorrow for these die-hard fans who’ve been braving the cold. I’m ready to put up a fight.”

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 8th.
“I am happy with that! Once more it’s very close, but it’s also very good to be inside the top ten in qualifying again! With the cold conditions it is difficult to choose the tyres here, because if you go for a harder compound it is very difficult to get them warm. We’ve not decided on the race tyre yet - we shall see what the weather has in store for us tomorrow - but our suspension settings have improved a lot. With our qualifying tyres things improved each time and we could cut a lot from our Friday lap-time. We suffered a little with traffic with one of the qualifiers, but this is what happens. Tomorrow I would prefer dry or wet conditions - not in between or us changing bikes, as that makes the race a gamble. I’m ready for both conditions and will hope for a good start.”

Marco Melandri, Team Honda Gresini: 12th.
“Things didn't go as well in qualifying as they did in free practice. We struggled despite all our hard work and we couldn't fix a vibration problem that is preventing me from pushing as hard as I would like. We've got two solutions to try out in the warm-up tomorrow. The race will depend very much on the weather because it is always so uncertain here.”

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 13th.
“Unfortunately we have not made a lot of progress from yesterday and the main problem is still a lack of front grip, I have little confidence in the fast corners. I have had some long, front-end slides and nearly crashed a couple times. We have some set-up ideas to try in the warm-up and hopefully this will improve things for the race. I like this track and know that in the right conditions I can be much faster, but it is not easy when you do not have a comfortable feeling with the bike.”

Toni Elias, Team Honda Gresini: 18th.
”It's been a tough weekend. We have a major general problem with the set-up. We've worked really hard with the team to fix it but I've just not been able to get enough feeling to ride with the confidence you need on such a technical circuit. Phillip Island is really fast, probably the fastest circuit on the calendar, so it is imperative to have the right setting. Hopefully we can have a dry race tomorrow and I can get a good start and make up plenty of positions.”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 19th.
”I haven’t been here in ten years so I don’t know if it’s the lines I’m choosing, but getting the thing to hook up and move forward is not going well, that’s plain. The thing is moving around all over the place. The big slides look cool on TV, but looking cool and going fast are different things unfortunately, right now. Things are slowly moving forward, but it hasn’t been the easiest weekend to come to grips with the thing, with the changing weather. If it rains for the race, it’ll help us, but I just want it to be a safe weekend for everybody. It was almost like it was hailing here yesterday. I’ve said all year, it’s not a good thing to have to want it to rain. I have to work harder, and we all have to work to get the thing to go round the race-track better in normal conditions.”

Chuck Aksland -Team Manager Team Roberts.
“We’re struggling for grip, definitely. Yesterday was an up-and-down day with the weather conditions - same for everybody, but we struggled with the rain tyre, and with dry tyres we’re struggling for grip. Even the qualifier didn’t have grip for the full lap. We need to find where the problem is in that area, whether it is the tyre or the bike. When we do add grip with qualifiers, the bike starts behaving normally, for as long as the qualifiers hold out. We have to find an improvement somewhere, see what tomorrow brings, and I’m sure Kurtis will give us his best.”

250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Scot Honda: 7th.
“I’m not happy about this weekends race, we have a lot of setting problems that we are not able to solve completely. The gap from Lorenzo is too big but then we are very close with many other riders and only a good start tomorrow can make the difference. Today, even if we were not ok, we have improved by one second compared to yesterday, but it has not been enough. Anyway, we don’t lose hope and tomorrow we’ll give our best as always.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 9th.
“This morning I was second fastest in the free practice and felt very confident going into the qualifying session. The chassis and suspension settings were very good and the engine and gearbox ratios also. I went out in the qualifying session and hoped to improve but my number on machine had a fuel starvation problem and I had to switch to my second bike and could not improve my time. But still I am confident for the race. If I get a good start and get with the top group I will have a good day.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 10th.
“My feeling with the bike is not so bad, better than yesterday. My target for qualifying was 1m 33.8 or 38.9s but I didn’t make it. My best time was 33.3s and I’m in tenth place on the grid. The only little problem I have is at the slow corners the bike is sliding on the exit, a few times the back end stepped out. But in general the balance is good everywhere else. In the warm up we will change the front and rear suspension springs for something softer. The tyre choice will depend on the weather tomorrow.”

Yuki Takahashi, Scot Honda: 12th.
”Yesterday was not good, w went the wrong way on the set up and balance of the bike. We changed front and rear balance and made the suspension settings with softer springs on both. Now the bike feels so much smoother to ride. The settings will allow me to use the middle compound from Dunlop, not too hard - or soft. The engine feels the same as yesterday just a little down on top speed and acceleration. I made a mistake in qualifying I was waiting and waiting for a fast rider to run with but had to try for a time alone at the end of the session. I was pushing hard and the front end turned in and I lost time.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, PTT-SAG Honda: 23rd.
“I'm not sure about what happened because I suddenly lost the front. I was on the same line as in the previous laps and riding at the same speed. The track must have been dirty there. My right hand is sore but the doctors told me it wasn't injured. I just have to make sure it doesn't get more painful so I can ride tomorrow.”

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 24th.
”Today was much better, the engine was running perfectly and I made a lot of progress, improving my times by seconds over practice this morning. It’s pity we lost time on Friday but that’s racing. if we can find a little more rear traction I know I can have a good race, I really like the circuit.”

125cc.

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 11th.
“My qualifying session was not good, I am not so happy. In the second part of the session I waited too long to find a fast rider when I got with a fast group I couldn’t find a good rhythm. The engine is not to bad just down a little on acceleration. But we have some work to do on the suspension because at the last long corners the rear end is sliding too much and have to be faster there.”

Mike di Meglio, Scot Honda: 12th.
“We tried two different types of tyre and I have chosen to use the 125 because it has better endurance. W changed the suspension to raise the rear end a little but it makes the front end feel as if it wants to turn in on me. I almost lost the front end once But the bike is better this way. The engine is a little faster than yesterday and I can stay in the slipstream of the fastst bikes. If I get a fast start I can stay with the fast group - if not then it will be hard work for me tomorrow.”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 13th.
“Qualifying was almost a complete disaster for me trying to find the best set up and machine balance. I started with the same set up as this morning trying with the H tyres but that was wrong and changed to thee F. The bike was better but not rally what I needed. So we ran with the D. That was better when we raised the rear end to try and get the front end to turn better into the wind - I only weight 50 kg and it can be difficult” The bike is better in the wet. If its dry we have to change the suspension and the gearbox ratios. But ere it can be wet one minute and dry the next.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 21st.
“In the first free practice session yesterday on a slightly damp track, I wasn’t very confident. On the other hand I felt comfortable on the bike this morning in the pouring rain and 15th spot was rather encouraging. But for the last qualifying session this afternoon the track had dried up with a rather strong head wind. I did some good lap times at first hand and regularly improved to stand in 16th position halfway through the session. After that, while I thought I could benefit from slipstreaming with the riders ahead of me on the track, some of them got in my way and I was unable to improve my lap times. For the race tomorrow I need to have a good start to move up the leader board and catch a good group of riders.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 23rd
“Good, very good. We have worked too find a better balance for the conditions here and like Danny (Webb) have put more weight on the front end down in this high wind. In the wet I have a really good set up and we are close in the dry we just had to make some small suspension changes front and rear. On my fast lap Lombardi passed me into turn one and then braked hard, that cost me a little time. I need one of my lightning fast starts tomorrow. If I make one then I can have a good result here - its my favourite circuit.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 25th.
“That was good, actually it was quite good. On set up we have been trying to find a good balance with a little more weight on the front end. Its still a bit loose on the back but I can live with that. The engine is pretty good. I got in behind Nieto on my fast lap and could run with him in the fast corners but he was faster than me on acceleration on the exit to the slower corners. But I’m happy with the bike and qualifying.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16
Australia Grand Prix at Phillip Island Qualifying

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

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