MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 01: Qatar GP > Qualifying
MotoGPQuatarMarch 8, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 01
Qatar Grand Prix at Losail Qualifying

De Puniet and Hayden Battle to Second Row

Race Results >>

The curtain-raising hour of final qualifying here under the floodlights at Losail proved that the established order of rank, at least this far, has changed. Newcomer to the class Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) grabbed pole at his first premier class Grand Prix.



Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

British star James Toseland, who held onto pole for much of the hour-long session, lines up second on the grid and Colin Edwards (both Yamaha) completes the front row. This stint was a struggle for the leading Honda men – but they did not buckle under early season pressure from the opposition.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) just edged ahead of former World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) claiming fifth spot on the grid with the American star sixth fastest. Casey Stoner (Ducati) secured fourth to head row two.

De Puniet proved he had the mettle to run with the pace-setters early on and another eager contender was Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) who proved he has adapted to the 2008 Honda RC212V having moved up from the 250c class. The French LCR man lay fifth at the halfway stage with De Angelis sixth.

Toseland’s lap time of 1m 54.562s was good enough to hold off the advances of Lorenzo and Edwards for all bar the final two minutes of this floodlit frenzy. The reigning World Superbike Champion even bettered his time to 1m 54.182s with 20 minutes left on the clock. But Lorenzo pounced at the close to run a 1m 53.927s lap that was out of reach of the field.

Valentino Rossi’s 2007 pole time of 1m 55.002s was obliterated by his new team-mate Lorenzo and for the multiple World Champion to be eclipsed by the new boy shows that the current crop of new faces have the speed to mix it with the big boys.

Nicky Hayden hoisted himself to sixth with a 1m 54.880s lap with one minute to go while Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) made eighth on the grid for a third row start, having suffered a crash yesterday. Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) lines up alongside the Spaniard as ninth fastest man. Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) qualified 15th.

With the track temperature at a chilly 14 degrees towards the end of the stint, riders knew that the onset of night would affect grip – having experienced similar conditions in yesterday’s session. Now it remains to be seen what happens under race conditions.

Randy De Puniet, with a time of 1m 54.818s for fifth on the grid, said: “It’s coming better but in the first part of qualifying I didn’t have a good feeling from the front tyre but the lap time was good. Last week at the test I was very happy with the bike and we didn’t change anything, but the bike felt different from the start of practice here. I had a big crash on my second bike and I have to thank my team who worked very hard to get it ready for me this afternoon. I used the bike to set fifth fastest time and feel more confident now. My qualifying time could possibly have been faster but I came across Toni Elias at turn three. I am ready and I hope to have a good race.”

Nicky Hayden, sixth on the grid, said: “We improved a lot this afternoon… heck, it’s the middle of the night! My first two runs on race tyres I improved quite a bit and in the end I was able to get a respectable lap on qualifiers, nothing great, but I was able to give ourselves a decent chance. The big thing around here for us is the straightaway, we’re losing quite a bit of time. A big thanks to my team and to HRC, these guys have worked so hard, it’s silly how hard they have worked over the last week to get more bikes here, get more options for us, and build a different chassis for Dani’s bike, which seems to be a good step.”

Dani Pedrosa, eighth with a time of 1m 55.170s said: “We struggled with qualifying tyres and we couldn’t improve my times so much, so we will start from the third row. We haven’t tested so much with qualifying tyres so we need more testing to improve our qualifying set-up. I’m not happy about my grid position but I’m better off than I was during last week’s tests here. I am happy about how the bike has improved in such a short time. Now we have another 20 minutes during warm-up to further improve it. As for race pace, we are not at the level of the fastest riders but we have improved. I’ve had a bad hand injury and we had problems testing here, so the situation isn’t so bad.”

Andrea Dovizioso, ninth with a 1m 55.185s time, said: “During free practice we decided to try some solutions which didn’t give us the expected results and in qualifying trim with qualifying tyres we were not in the best condition to use the maximum potential of those soft tyres. A small lack of confidence in the front qualifying tyre didn’t give me a chance to use the incredible potential of the rear tyre. We’re going to work on that as we have the chance to do much better. For the race we’re in good shape, which I think will allow us to be consistent. Obviously starting from the third row is not the best, but I hope to run up at the front as soon as I can in the early laps.”

Alex De Angelis finished up 12th with a best time of 1m 55.692s and said: “It’s been a good weekend for me. Every session I could run in fourth, fifth or sixth position on race tyres but when I tried hard with qualifying tyres I was always worse – so I am a little sad about the situation. I was faster yesterday with qualifying tyres than today. We have
to work together with Bridgestone to get better qualifying tyres and improve our qualifying times. I am only 12th on the grid but I know I can improve in the race because my rhythm is good on race tyres but it will be difficult for me off the start. The engine has good acceleration but I need more top speed.”

Shinya Nakano down in 15th on row five said: “I’m not happy with today because qualifying is so important and I couldn’t improve my pace as I wanted to. Both myself and the team have done our best but the chance has gone and now we have to think about the race. We’ll have to get a good start and I’ll do my best to achieve the best result possible in the first Grand Prix of 2008.”

250cc World Championship

Alex Debon notched pole with a time of 1m 59.470s with Alvaro Bautista second fastest and Hector Barbera third quickest man (all Aprilia). Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) managed eighth on the grid with a time of 2m 00.326s.

Takahashi said: “Qualifying was good and my lap time very good. The bike has been good all weekend, the only difficulty has been with carburation which has been
delicate in the changing temperatures here at night. I am on the second row and that is important for me and my race pace is good. I will race with soft tyres and I really like the front – it’s so good around here. If I get a good start I can run with the group around me on the grid.”

Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing RS250RW) qualified 19th and said: “I was not happy with myself yesterday because I chose the wrong suspension settings but I went OK today. I didn’t push too hard just looking for a fast lap time but I have a very good race rhythm. The level is quite high this year but the RS250RW is so much better than my RS of last year, the engine worked perfectly in qualifying. I’m two seconds off pole set by a full factory machine so I’m happy. I need a good start in the race for sure and this bike starts so much better than the RS I raced last year.”

125cc World Championship

British rider Bradley Smith put himself on pole for the first time in his career by carving a 2m 05.242s lap of this 5380m track despite a crash in the closing minutes of the half-hour session. He is joined reigning World Champion Gabor Talmacsi, Mike di Meglio and rookie Scott Redding on the front row.

Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 34th with a time of 2m 10.153s. Rossi said: “Today I set myself a target of 2m 09s but I just missed getting down to it. Still my best lap time was six tenths of a second faster in final qualifying and that was important. The difference between the French Championship and GP racing is very big and I have a lot to learn. I have improved braking a lot and can brake deeper into the corners and this has helped me today. I have also changed my riding style a little to do this, I lean off the bike more than before. The race will be hard but the bike is OK.”



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)

MotoGP:

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 5th - 1m 54.818s.
“It’s coming better but in the first part of qualifying I didn’t have a good feeling from the front tyre but the lap time was good. Last week at the test I was very happy with the bike and we didn’t change anything but the bike felt different from the start of practice here. I had a big crash on my second bike and I have to thank my team who worked very hard to get it ready for me this afternoon. I used the bike to set fifth fastest time and feel more confident with the bike now. My qualifying time could possibly have been faster but I came across Toni Elias at turn three. I am ready and I hope to have a good race.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 6th - 1m 54.880s.
“We improved a lot this afternoon… heck, it’s the middle of the night! My first two runs on race tyres I improved quite a bit and in the end I was able to get a respectable lap on qualifies, nothing great, but I was able to give ourselves a decent chance. The big thing around here for us is the straightaway, we’re losing quite a bit of time, the bike I’m using is what I had at Valencia. I’m really excited to be going racing. I’d like to have a better race pace and all that but it is what it is and it’s time to line up and go for it. I’m enjoying riding at night, I think it’s cool, I hope some more tracks decide to get some lighting systems going. A big thanks to my team and to HRC, these guys have worked so hard, it’s silly how hard they have worked over the last week to get more bikes here, get more options for us, build a different chassis for Dani’s bike which seems to be a good step so I’m sure the next time I get on the 08 I’ll try one of those.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th – 1m 55.170s.
“We struggled with qualifying tyres and we couldn’t improve my times so much, so we will start from the third row. We haven’t tested so much with qualifying tyres so we need more testing to improve our qualifying setup. I’m not happy about my grid position but I’m better off than I was during last week’s tests here. I am happy about how the bike has improved in such a short time. Now we have another 20 minutes during warm-up to further improve it. As for race pace, we are not at the level of the fastest riders but we have improved. And if we consider the fact that we didn’t so much testing during the winter, that I’ve had a bad hand injury and that we had problems in testing here, I think the situation isn’t so bad. After yesterday’s crash the hand was very painful. I’ve had some treatment on the hand and we will work some more on it tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to the race, the only problem could be the strength of my right arm over full-race distance.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 9th 1m 55.185s.
“During free practice we decided to try some solution which didn’t give us the expected results and in qualifying trim with qualifying tyres we were not in the best condition to use the maximum potential of those soft tyres. A small lack of confidence in the front qualifying tyre didn’t give me chance to use the incredible potential of the rear tyre. We’re going to work on that as we have the chance to do much better. For the race we’re in good shape, which I think will allow us to be consistent. Obviously starting from the third row is not the best, but I hope to run up the front as soon as I can in the early laps. The warm-up will be helpful to work a little more on suspension settings and get better stability in braking, which is the thing I need to sort out as it’s proved a little complicated to solve. I will start very relaxed as I’m convinced the tyre choice I made for 22-lap race and my setting in race configuration will give me massive confidence for the race itself.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 12th – 1m 55.692s.
“It’s been a good weekend for me every session I could run in fourth-fifth-sixth position on race tyres but when I try hard with qualifying tyres I am always worse so I am a little sad about the situation. I was faster yesterday with qualifying tyres than today. We have to work together with Bridgestone to get better qualifying tyres and improve our qualifying times. I am only 12th on the grid but I know I can improve in the race because my rhythm is good on race tyres but it will be difficult for me off the start. The engine has good acceleration but I need more top speed.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 15th – 1m 56.434s.
“I’m not happy with today because qualifying is so important and I couldn’t improve my pace as I wanted to. Both myself and the team have done our best but the chance has gone and now we have to think about the race. We’ll have to get a good start and I’ll do my best to achieve the best result possible in the first GP of 2008.”

250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 8th - 2m 00.326s.
“Qualifying was good and my lap time very good. The bike has been good al weekend the only difficulty has been with carburetion which has been delicate in the changing temperatures here at night. I am on the second row and that is important for me and my race pace is good. I will race with soft tyres and I really like the front it’s so good around here. If I get a good start I can run with the group around me on the grid.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 19th – 2m 01.487s.
“I was not happy with myself yesterday because I chose the wrong suspension settings but went OK today. I didn’t push too hard just looking for a fast lap time but I have a very good race rhythm. The level is quite high this year but the RS250RW is so much better than my RS of last year, the engine worked perfectly in qualifying. I’m two seconds off pole set by full factory machine so I am happy. I need a good start in the race for sure and this bike starts so much better than the RS I raced last year.”

125cc.

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 34th 2m 10.153s.
“Today I set myself a target of 2m 09s but I just missed getting down to that time. Still my best lap time was six tenths of a second faster in final qualifying and that was important. The difference between the French Championship and GP racing is very big and I have a lot to learn. I have improved braking a lot and can brake deeper into the corners and this has helped me today. I have also changed my riding style a little to do this, I lean off the bike more than before. The race will be hard but the bike is OK and I know which tyres I will use.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 01
Qatar Grand Prix at Losail Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
3 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
4 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
5 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
6 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
7 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
10 John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team)
11 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
12 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
13 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
15 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
16 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
17 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
18 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
 
250cc
1 Alex DEBON (Lotus Aprilia)
2 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
3 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
4 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
5 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
6 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
7 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte )
8 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
9 Aleix ESPARGARO (Lotus Aprilia)
10 Roberto LOCATELLI (Metis Gilera)
19 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
 
125cc
1 Bradley SMITH (Polaris World)
2 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar Team)
3 Mike DI MEGLIO (Ajo Motorsport)
4 Scott REDDING (Blusens Aprilia Junior)
5 Danny WEBB (Degraaf Grand Prix)
6 Raffaele DE ROSA (Onde 2000 KTM)
7 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
8 Sergio GADEA (Bancaja Aspar Team)
9 Joan OLIVE (Belson Derbi)
10 Simone CORSI (Jack & Jones WRB)
 

< MotoGP
Related Links

· Honda Worldwide | MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· Qatar


Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.