MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 18: Valencia GP > Qualifying
MotoGPValenciaNovember 3, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencia Grand Prix at Comunitat Valenciana Qualifying

Peerless Pedrosa Takes Fourth Pole in a Row

Race Results >>

No one could match Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) here today at Valencia as the Spanish superstar put in a 1m 31.517s lap to put his prowess around this tight 4.005km circuit beyond doubt. Casey Stoner (Ducati) was second fastest and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) completes the front row.



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

In temperate conditions with the track surface at 26 degrees and with riders enjoying an ambient temperature of 21 degrees under sunny skies it was Stoner who topped the early order here in Valencia. But his early marker of 1m 33.378s was soon bettered by John Hopkins the Suzuki rider.

With 51 minutes of the hour-long session remaining former World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) crashed heavily coming out of turn one. He broke bones in his right hand and jarred his back in the crash and will make a decision on whether or not to ride tomorrow.

This could have a significant bearing on the destination of runner-up spot in the World Championship. If Rossi does not ride and Dani wins the race, then he would overhaul Rossi for second overall in the points standings. But these are all ‘ifs' at this stage.

Dani ran off track and then pitted just after Rossi's big crash and the order at the front of the grid at that stage was Hopkins, Stoner and Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V). As race distance work occupied most riders it was left to Kawasaki man Randy de Puniet to go for an early qualifying tyre and shoot for a pole time.

He managed a 1m 32.968s time with 38 minutes of the session left to run, but was shortly outdone by another maverick qualifier in the form of Yamaha rider Sylvain Guintoli who turned a 1m 32.821s lap to temporarily deprive his fellow Frenchman of provisional pole.

De Puniet responded with a 1m 32.497s lap and then Guintoli raised the stakes again with 17 minutes to go, upping the ante to 1m 32.444s. Melandri was still holding third until Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) ousted the Italian man.

There was more to come from Guintoli though, the French ace lowered his time to 1m 32.188s to tighten his grip on pole and with ten minutes remaining of the session he was in command of the grid. But as Hayden lifted himself to second it was clear that Guintoli's time would not stand for long.

Sure enough it was Dani who first destroyed it when he notched a 1m 32.128s time. Stoner responded with a 1m 32.088s lap and with five minutes left on the clock the order was: Stoner, Pedrosa, Guintoli, Hayden, Melandri then de Puniet.

Nicky had more left though and his 1m 31.903s effort was enough to grab pole until Stoner shaved two tenths off Hayden's best effort to steal number one slot again. But it was left to Pedrosa to put the issue beyond doubt with his 1m 31.517s masterclass that would remain the unbeaten time.

Dani said: “Well, I'm very happy to be on pole position again - especially here in front of my home fans. We must try to improve our machine settings further and find that little bit extra for the race because the lap times are still very close and we cannot relax at all. This afternoon was positive and I was able to go fast on race tyres as well. The Michelin qualifiers also worked very well again and I was able to improve on my second lap by quite a lot - which was just enough for pole position. The weekend has gone well so far and I hope I can make a good start and challenge for the win tomorrow.”

Nicky said: “When I put the qualifiers on, the bike was really good and fun to ride - that was by far the most fun I've had this weekend and I dropped my lap time by two and a half seconds. But it's honestly been a bit of a nightmare this weekend up to now. For whatever reason I cannot get the race tyres to work for me here. I've had a lot of luck with the 16-inch rear tyre at the last few races but here it's been really tough. Being on the front row is a big advantage here, though I know these guys are going to make it tough. Race day is always a different story and anything can happen so we'll just try to stick our nose in there, put a bid in and try to finish off the year really well.”

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) riding in his last Grand Prix, and in spite of a debilitating stomach illness, qualified 9th. He said: “Last night I suffered excruciating stomach pains. I was amazed this morning when I had recovered enough to ride and I'm very satisfied to be ninth on the grid. I will return to the hospital for secondary blood tests tonight so that doctors can confirm their diagnosis. I can only have a liquid diet and continue to take a medicine, with some mild laxative, and hope that I can complete the 30 laps tomorrow.”

Melandri ended up tenth and said: “We've got a good race pace and we showed that on a long run on used tyres today. Unfortunately the extra grip on a qualifying tyre made the chattering worse and that prevented me from setting a good lap time. I'm disappointed because to start from the fourth row is a big handicap. It's difficult to get the right side of the tyre warmed up at this circuit over the first few laps but I think we can use this to our advantage and cut down the gap to some of the riders at the front.”

Nakano qualified 13th and said: “I had a good rhythm in the first and second sectors on that last qualifying lap, and pushed hard in that final third sector. We didn't make many changes to the bike today as we found a good balance on Friday and we've also found a good tyre for the race. The start is vitally important here, as things can get busy in the first turn and for the whole of the first lap. I will have to be pushing hard right from the beginning of the race.”

Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) managed 14th on the grid. He said: “It's been a tough weekend - we're struggling because we don't have enough traction and the feeling is even worse on a qualifying tyre. We'll keep working with the team to find a solution for tomorrow and we still haven't made a tyre choice for the race, which will be crucial. I just hope we can come up with something that allows me to be consistent over 30 long laps in the race.”

Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V) qualified 18th and said: “It's always frustrating, but from the team's and my standpoint, it's been good. It's frustrating when you're out with guys and you're easily as fast as them... until you get to the last corner onto the straightaway. If we could accelerate with them it would be a lot more fun. But we're doing competitive times with the next four or five guys ahead of us, so tomorrow hopefully we'll be able to race those guys, and get a good result for what we're on.”

Mika Kallio (KTM took pole in the 250cc class with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) second fastest, Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) signaling a welcome return to form with a front row performance as third fastest, and Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) completing the front row.

Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) qualified seventh, while Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) will start from row three as tenth fastest qualifier. Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) who crashed in the final ten minutes of the three-quarter hour session starts from 15th.

Takahashi said: “The bike is very good. We had a good machine set-up from the start. The only small problem I had was some front wheel judder when braking hard but the team fixed that quickly. This front row shows I'm again in perfect condition and have not lost my talent. The secret of the race tomorrow will be the start.”

Simon said: “My pace was not so bad but I had a front tyre problem all weekend until qualifying today when we tried a new tyre from Dunlop - so now I'm happy. The suspension feels good. The only real problem I have is at turn 13 where I can't run the line I need to - I'm very slow through there and it's costing me time.”

Dovi said: “This track is very difficult for me I just don't like it. I find it difficult to find the fast lines in some corners. We have to try some big changes to the geometry tonight to try in the warm-up. The balance of the bike is not good we need to transfer more weight to the front-end. The big problem is I'm starting from the third row and the first and second corners are vital here. This is my last race in the 250cc class and it's very important for me to do well.”

125cc qualifying was the preserve of series points leader Gabor Talmacsi who took pole from his team-mate and title rival Hector Faubel. Sergio Gadea (all Aprilia) was third fastest qualifier with Lukas Pesek (Derbi) completing the front row.

Faubel headed the timesheet early in the half-hour session with Talmacsi second quickest, and so things remained until with seven minutes to go the Hungarian displaced Spaniard Faubel at the top with a 1m 39.162 s lap. Then just to reinforce his dominance here, Talmacsi went faster again with 1m 39.029s time that remains one third of a second faster than Faubel's best.

Esteve Rabat (Repsol Honda RS125R) qualified 11th with his team-mate Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) just behind him as 12th fastest qualifier. Mike di Meglio (Scot Honda RS125R) crashed at the end of the session and starts from 20th on the grid, behind MotoGP Academy rookie Takaaki Nakagami riding a Honda RS125R

Rabat said: “Today was difficult for me. In the morning the track was cold and the tyre I tried wouldn't get hot enough. In the qualifying session I had some problems with chatter when I was braking very hard into the corners. Everything else is OK. Chassis and suspension are good and in the warm-up we just have to check out which tyre will be best for the race. The engine accelerates well and you need that at this circuit. Maybe the rider could have been better!”

Smith said: “When I first went out in the qualifying session I felt there was something not right with the front-end and guessed it was the tyre. I'm not a rider who can go fast from the start so it took me a while to get up to speed. With six minutes left I had time for three fast laps, two were good but I made a mistake on the last lap and didn't better my time. I'm 12th on the grid and not too worried, I should be OK in the race.”



Carlos CHECA (Repsol Honda Team)


Yuki TAKAHASHI & Andrea DOVIZIOSO
(Kopron Scot Honda)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 1st.
“Well, I'm very happy to be on pole position again - and especially here in front of my home fans because I really want to give them a good result. There are already many people here looking for Spanish success and tomorrow I'm sure there will be even more. We must try to improve our machine settings further and find that little bit extra for the race because the lap times are still very close and we cannot relax at all. Thirty laps makes it a long race and tyre choice will be critical of course to give us the best chance of maintaining our pace right until the end. The practice was positive this afternoon and I was able to go fast on race tyres as well. The Michelin qualifiers also worked very well again and I was able to improve on my second lap by quite a lot - which was just enough for pole position. The weekend has gone well so far and I hope I can make a good start and challenge for the win tomorrow.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
”When I put the qualifiers on, the bike was really good and fun to ride - that was by far the most fun I've had this weekend and I dropped my lap time by two and a half seconds. But it's honestly been a bit of a nightmare this weekend up to now. For whatever reason I cannot get the race tyres to work for me here. I've had a lot of luck with the 16-inch rear tyre at the last few races but at Valencia it's been really tough. Still, I've got some good guys around me and an excellent team so we'll definitely be trying something huge to improve things for tomorrow. Being on the front row is a big advantage here, though I know these guys are going to make it tough. Race day is always a different story and anything can happen so we'll just try to stick our nose in there, put a bid in and try to finish off the year really well. I'm excited about the race - I wish I was quicker on race tyres but we'll see what happens when the light goes out. Whatever happens, I'd like to dedicate this performance to Merlyn Plumlee, my mechanic from AMA Superbike who died from cancer last week. He will be sadly missed and I'm definitely thinking about him and his family.”

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 9th.
“Last night I suffered excruciating stomach pains which appears to be from an infection or obstruction in my intestine. I was amazed this morning when I had recovered enough to ride and I'm very satisfied to be ninth on the grid. I will return to the hospital for a secondary blood tests tonight so that doctors can confirm their diagnosis. I can only have a liquid diet and continue to take a medicine, with some mild laxative, and hope that I can complete the 30 laps tomorrow. This is my final grand prix so it is important for me and my fans and friends here. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile staff who treated me at circuit and also remained with me until 3 am in the hospital.”

Marco Melandri, Team Honda Gresini: 10th.
“We've got a good race pace and we showed that on a long run on used tyres today. Unfortunately the extra grip on a qualifying tyre made the chattering worse and that prevented me from setting a good lap time. I'm disappointed because to start from the fourth row is a big handicap. It's difficult to get the right side of the tyre warmed up at this circuit over the first few laps but I think we can use this to our advantage and cut down the gap to some of the riders at the front. It will be important to get a good start and get past the riders with a slower pace than me as early as possible in the race. The podium is not impossible, it will be a long and demanding race from a physical point of view because it's a tight and twisty track. I feel ready for the final race of the year.”

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 13th.
“I had a good rhythm in the first and second sectors on that last qualifying lap, and pushed hard in that final third sector - I was giving 120%! Things felt really good but then after the back straight under braking I lost the front, which meant I lost around four or five tenths of a second. On the positive side of things, conditions were much better today with higher temperatures which has given us more grip so I could push much harder than yesterday. We didn't make many changes to the bike today as we found a good balance on Friday and we've also found a good tyre for the race. The start is vitally important here, as things can get busy in the first turn and for the whole of the first lap. I will have to be pushing hard right from the beginning of the race.”

Toni Elias, Team Honda Gresini: 14th.
”It has been a tough weekend - we are struggling because we don't have enough traction and the feeling is even worse on a qualifying tyre. We'll keep working with the team to find a solution for tomorrow and we still haven't made a tyre choice for the race, which will be crucial. I just hope we can come up with something that allows me to be consistent over 30 long laps in the race.”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: 18th.
”It's always frustrating, but from the team's and my standpoint, it's been good. It's frustrating when you're out with guys and you're easily as fast as them ... until you get to the last corner onto the straightaway. If we could accelerate with them it would be a lot more fun. But we're doing competitive times with the next four or five guys ahead of us, so tomorrow hopefully we'll be able to race with Colin (Edwards) and them guys, and get a good result for what we're on. I like this track - it's a fun layout, one of the better race-tracks. It's small, but it has a good variety of corners. Turn One is really fast and you can brake in deep. It has some slow corners, but they're not all one line, which is nice. You can get in too hot and still make the corner, and not lose any time. Normally it's all one line.”

Chuck Aksland -Team Manager Team Roberts.
“I think today is probably the best riding I've seen Kurtis do in a long time. He was not that far away before everyone put their qualifying tyres on. He was only three tenths behind Nicky Hayden. You have to consider where we are in the engine spec. If we had some more acceleration it would be worth a lot round here. His riding here today is something to be proud of.”

250cc:

Yuki Takahashi, Scot Honda: 3rd.
”The bike is very good. I am happy with the whole weekend we had a good machine set up from the start. The only small problem I had was some front wheel judder when braking hard but the team fixed that quickly. This front row shows I am again in perfect condition and have not lost my talent. The secret of the race tomorrow will be the start I hope to get a good start and then decide my tactics. I have to thank my team and my friends who have supported me through some difficult times - I hope to be on the podium tomorrow as a thank you to them.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 7th.
“My pace was not so bad and the lap time. I had a front tyre problem all weekend until qualifying today when we tried a new tyre from Dunlop so now I am happy. The engine is good and the chassis settings and suspension feel good. The only real problem I have is at T13 I cannot run the line I need to - I am very slow through there and its costing me time.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Scot Honda: 10th.
“This track is very difficult for me I just don't like it. I find it difficult to find the fast lines in some corners. We have to try some big changes on the geometry tonight to try in the warm up. The balance of the bike is not good we need to transfer more weight to the front end. The big problem is I am starting from the third row and the first and second corners are vital here. This is my last race in the 250cc class and its very important for m to do well.”

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 12th.
“This afternoon I pushed really hard to improve on my good lap time of yesterday but I was not able to I crashed at the fast right hand corner when I braked too hard. I went back to the pit to take my second bike but it was not set up as well as my number one machine. My race bike is good and I know the tyres I will race with.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, PTT-SAG Honda: 19th.
“This afternoon I could lap as quick as this morning and it was quite frustrating as I believe I could have lapped under 1'36. However, the bike set-up is pretty good for the race and tomorrow, I think the fact I tested here before will eventually show. The whole team feels at home this weekend and I want to finish the Championship on a high.”

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 26th.
”Finally in the qualifying session we found a positive direction with the front-end set-up, it's much better, although I'm still 0.5s off my best time in pre-season testing.”

125cc.

Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 11th.
“Today was a difficult day for me. In the morning the track was cold. I tried an H tyre but it would not get enough heat. In the qualifying session I had some problems with chatter when I was braking very hard into the corners. For the rest everything is OK. Chassis and suspension are good, in the warm up we just have to check out which tyre will be best for the race. The engine accelerates and you need that at this circuit. Maybe the rider could have been better!”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 12th.
“When I first went out in the qualifying session I felt there was something not right with the front end and guessed it was the tyre, maybe it had a defect. We had planned to run five laps and come in but when I did we had to change the tyres and that cost me time. When I got back onto the track I didn't have much time left. I'm not a rider who can go fast from the start so it took m a while to get up to speed. With six minutes left I had time for three fast laps, two were good but I made a mistake on the last lap and didn't better my time. I'm 12th on the grid and not too worried, I should be OK because the engine accelerates and we have found a good front tyre.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 18th.
“After my good performance from yesterday we tested a new rear tyre this morning during free practice, but it wasn't totally satisfying. For the last qualifying session we went back to yesterday's rear tyre and set-up. And yet the sensations weren't the same, maybe this is due to the slight temperature rise. Anyway I didn't have a good feeling with the front and as I was trying to push some more in a corner to be in a better position to accelerate on the exit, I lost the front. By the time I was back in the pits to take my spare bike, I only had one fast lap before the end of the session and was unable to improve my lap time.”

Mike di Meglio, Scot Honda: 21st.
“I don't know what it's happening in these days. We have worked hard trying some different machine settings but we were not able to solve the problems. We changed the geometry to make the bike shorter and turn faster and it felt better but my lap time did not improve very much. Today at the end of the qualifying session I crashed on the run down lap because the front closed on me. I'm disappointed because I really wanted to have a good weekend race at the conclusion to this difficult year.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 28th.
“I'm not really satisfied with qualifying. I went out behind Krommenacher and tried to close him down and set fast times but I only took one tenth of a second off my best time. We had changed the front suspension to softer settings after the morning practice and I was running the Dunlop H tyre. It was good for 15 mints after that it lost grip and the front was chattering under braking. I came I for new tyres but there was not much time left and I could not find a fast group - everybody was sitting behind me waiting for a fast rider. Chassis, suspension and tyres we know and the engine is flying so I hope for a good race tomorrow.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 32nd.
“Not so bad at the end of the session I was in the group with Danny (Webb) and set my best time but at the end of the session I crashed at the left hander after the fast right. I'm OK I banged my head but no concussion I'm just bruised so I think I will be racing tomorrow. The bike is good and I pushed very hard today. The engine is fast, the suspension and tyres are working good. It's just a pity about the crash because I had such a good rhythm.”

Dino Lombardi, Kopron Scot Honda: 34th.
“I'm angry and demoralized, there are many setting problems that today have slowed down me by about two tenths of a second compared to yesterday's lap time. I'm sorry because I would have liked to finish the season with a good performance. I hope that next year will be better.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencia Grand Prix at Comunitat Valenciana Qualifying

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

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