MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 07: Catalunya GP > Qualifying
MotoGPCatalunyaJune 7, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 07
Catalunya Grand Prix at Catalunya

Pedrosa and Hayden Show Rapid Front Row Form

Race Results >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and team-mate Nicky Hayden qualified second and third behind Casey Stoner (Ducati) for a dual front row start that signals Dani’s domestic intent and marks a welcome return to form for the Kentucky Kid.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

This was a pulsating hour of hard riding for grid advantage and no one pushed harder than Dani. The Spanish superstar fell yesterday and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V), who ended today fourth fastest, hit the ground twice yesterday, Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) once today. There was no lack of effort.

There was no Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) either. Dani’s Spanish rival crashed heavily yesterday and will take no further part in this weekend’s activities. His team-mate Valentino Rossi appeared to be short of qualifying speed today. He will start from ninth on the grid in tomorrow’s showdown but the Italian may well have a better race pace.

Stoner was much more comfortable than Dani early in this session. The Australian reigning World Champion sat on provisional pole with a 1m 42.710s lap with 40 minutes of the stint remaining while Dani had to mount his number two machine when a problem with his number one bike surfaced.

De Puniet showed his mettle after a disappointing Mugello last weekend with a 1m 42.861s effort to go second and at the halfway stage he was the highest-placed Honda rider with the next best man Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) an encouraging sixth.

Then, as appears customary now, super-adhesive qualifying rubber appeared sooner in the session rather than later; James Toseland (Yamaha) taking pole with a 1m 42.361s time before the flying de Puniet relieved the rookie Englishman of the top slot.

Another revitalized runner was De Angelis. No doubt buoyed by his fighting fourth place last weekend, the San Marinese charger slotted himself into third just before Colin Edwards (Yamaha) relegated de Puniet to second. Nicky was now fourth fastest and edging himself up the order with a newfound purpose.

With 18 minutes left on the clock all six Honda men were in the top ten. But as the extra pace on qualifying rubber began to tell, those who have not yet got the measure of how best to use the prodigious grip it provides, were never going to remain at the sharp end of the grid.

Sure enough, Edwards blew apart the old outright lap record with a 1m 41.609s lap before Dani showed everyone the way around this 4.727km track with a blisteringly fast 1m 41.561s lap. Then Nicky who held fifth scorched to a 1m 41.558s time to recapture the combative form that made him 2006 World Champion.

While the resurgent Nicky looked more like his old self, former Honda man Marco Melandri who transferred to Ducati for this season was in an unenviable position - right at the wrong end of the timesheet - before tumbling off his machine in what is turning out to be a nightmare season for the talented Italian, a frequent podium-finisher in 2007 and Grand Prix winner in seasons past.

While Nicky waited to see if he could net his first pole since Portugal last year Dani was on a charge and the Catalan man’s 1m 41.269s lap looked as if it might be enough to take him to his second pole of the season. But as the clock drew down its final seconds Stoner sped to a 1m 41.186s time to deprive Dani of a home pole.

Dani said: “That was quite a difficult session for me because I had an electrical problem with one of my bikes. That cost me crucial time, so I was a bit nervous when I got back on track, it took me a while to find my rhythm again and ride some fast laps. Luckily I was fast again and we were able to get very close to scoring pole position. Starting from the front row is an excellent result from a complicated session and I’m very happy because it’s important to start from the front row at my home race.”

Nicky said: “It’s nice to be up there and so close to pole position. I really enjoyed those laps today with the qualifiers. It’s fun when it goes like that and being competitive is nice. Things went relatively smooth this weekend, the bottom line is that we need to turn it into a result tomorrow. We’ll see about tyre choice, that’s going to be the biggest mission tonight - trying to make the perfect choice. Then we’ve got to get a good start, stick our nose in there and see what happens. It’s nice to be on the front row, hopefully this can be something to get things headed back in the right direction.”

Fourth fastest De Puniet said: “I’m very happy because it’s my best result so far this year in qualifying and I also had a very good feeling on race tyres as I lapped consistently fast. My crew made a perfect set-up job on the bike after yesterday’s problems and now I feel more comfortable. They adjusted the chassis set-up and we found good rear grip. We still have to fix some points but now the overall package works pretty well.”

Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) qualified seventh fastest and said: “We did much better today and I was able to lap in the low 1m 43 second bracket which allows me to stay with the leaders. I think tomorrow we’ll have a good race as the small troubles I had with the front-end of the bike have been reduced. I think the people who will be competitive in the race will be Pedrosa, Rossi and Stoner up front. On the other hand some other riders who did well in qualifying today may not be so competitive in the race.”

Alex De Angelis ended up tenth and said: “Qualifying was a little unlucky for me today because I crashed on my out lap when I had just fitted a qualifying tyre, so I missed the chance to improve my time. The tyre was still not up to temperature so I probably should have stayed calmer and not pushed so hard. Luckily the crash wasn't at high speed and I've avoided injury. Anyway my race pace is good and I’m sure I can have a good race tomorrow.”

His team-mate Nakano was 11th. He said: “The general feeling with the bike is good, although I’m losing some important tenths in the final two corners. The positive thing looking to tomorrow is there isn’t a big difference between my time on qualifiers and race tyres, which are really working well. I know it will be a tough race tomorrow because there are so many riders in just a couple of tenths but that means if we can stay in the fast group then a good result is within our grasp.”

250cc

This session was the preserve of Alvaro Bautista who took his third pole of the year ahead of Alex Debon, third fastest man Hector Barbera (all Aprilia) and fourth quickest qualifier Marco Simoncelli (Gilera). Bautista was always in charge of the session, only Debon, who ended up 0.131 seconds shy of pole, looking like he had the measure of the Spaniard.

Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) finished the three-quarter hour session a creditable seventh on the grid with a time just over a second short of Bautista’s effort. Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing RS250RW) will start from 17th spot.

Takahashi said: “During the morning we worked on the final tuning of the bike to make a good race package but also a good qualifying package, too. I tried to ride around alone on the track to find a proper rhythm for the race, but I made a mistake entering a bumpy corner and I lost grip on the front and crashed. I was hoping for the front row this afternoon, but during my flying lap a lot of traffic slowed me down and this is why we’re on the second row. But I’m ready and relaxed for tomorrow’s race.”

Wilairot said: “The bike is very good and I’m riding very well. I had a slight problem with rear wheel chatter when I changed tyres but we fixed that. My problem today was that I could not find a fast rider to slipstream to get a good lap time. But I have to be pleased with my lap time set while riding alone on the track.”

125cc

Local man Pol Espargaro riding a Spanish Derbi machine clinched his first ever pole position with a 1m 50.557s lap ahead of series points leader Mike Di Meglio and Nicloas Terol. British rider Scott Redding (all Aprilia) took his second front row start in his rookie year with fourth on the grid.

Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) managed 36th on the grid, 3.6 seconds off the pole time. He said: “I’m disappointed because we had an excellent start to the weekend. Yesterday we were 4 seconds off pole position and this morning only 2.7 seconds, and I knew I still had room to improve. Unfortunately I fell during the last qualifying session. For the race tomorrow I’ll have to make a good start. Provided I can keep up with a good pack, I should get a decent result because I know I can ride faster than I did today. What’s for sure is that I’ll not slacken off at all during the race.”

Randy De Puniet (LCR Honda) Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda)


Randy De Puniet (LCR Honda)


Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd.
“That was quite a difficult session for me because I had an electrical problem with one of my bikes, so I had to leave it by the track and I took a while to get back to the pits. That cost me crucial time, so I was a bit nervous when I got back on track, it took me a while to find my rhythm again and ride some fast laps. Luckily I was fast again and we were able to get very close to scoring pole position. Starting from the front row is an excellent result from a complicated session and I’m very happy because it’s important to start from the front row at my home race. We are happy enough with our race set-up, but we have to wait and see what the weather will do. I’m I really looking forward to racing in front of the Spanish fans.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd.
“It’s nice to be up there and so close to pole position, I’m pretty happy. I really enjoyed those laps today with the qualifiers. It’s fun when it goes like that and being competitive is nice. Things went relatively smooth this weekend, the bottom line is that we need to turn it into a result tomorrow. We’ll see about tyre choice, that’s going to be the biggest mission tonight - trying to make the perfect choice. Then we’ve got to get a good start, stick our nose in there and see what happens. It’s nice to be on the front row, hopefully this can be something to get things headed back in the right direction. Thanks to my team and everyone in my corner for their support, I know I got a lot of people riding with me.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 4th.
“I am very happy because it’s my best result so far this year in qualifying and I also had a very good feeling on race tyres as I lapped consistently fast. My crew made a perfect set-up job on the bike after yesterday’s problems and now I feel more comfortable. I can easily handle the front-end in the braking setting my pace lap by lap. They adjusted the chassis set-up and we found acceptable rear grip. We still have to fix some points but now the overall package works pretty well. My hands still ache but it’s not a big problem. We will see after the race.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda:
“We did much better today and I was able to constantly lap with the pace in the low 1m 43s bracket which allows me to stay with the leaders. This is why I think that tomorrow we will have a good race as the small troubles I had with the front-end of the bike have been reduced. I think the people who will be competitive in the race will be Pedrosa, Rossi and Stoner up front. On the other hand some other riders who did well in qualifying today may not be so competitive in the race. Tomorrow the tyre choice is important according to the temperature and the overall weather conditions. In fact, what has been apparent over the last two days is how the conditions can change the grip levels so much. I’m very satisfied with our performance even on qualifying tyres and at least I can now say that I=92ve made a step forward. In tomorrow morning warm-up we may make some small adjustments to make further improvements.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 10th.
"Qualifying was a little unlucky for me today because I crashed on my out lap when I had just fitted a qualifying tyre, so I missed the chance to improve my time. The tyre was still not up to temperature so I probably should have stayed calmer and not pushed so hard. Luckily the crash wasn't at high speed and I've avoided injury. Anyway my race pace is good and I'm sure I can have a good race tomorrow."

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 11th.
"Considering the progress we made at Mugello, I was expecting a better result today. Here at Montmelo we haven't showed the same kind of progression as a week ago in Italy. In any case the general feeling with the bike is good, although I am losing some important tenths in the final two corners. The positive thing looking to tomorrow is that there isn't a big difference between my time on qualifiers and race tyres, which are really working well. I know it will be a tough race tomorrow because there are so many riders in just a couple of tenths but that means if we can stay in the fast group then a good result is within our grasp."

250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 7th
“During the morning we worked on the final tuning of the bike to make a good race package but also a good qualifying package, too. I tried to ride around alone on the track to find a proper rhythm for the race, but I made a mistake entering a bumpy corner and I lost grip on the front and crashed. I was hoping for the front row this afternoon, but during my flying lap a lot of traffic slowed me down and this is why we’re on the second row. But I’m ready and relaxed for tomorrow’s race.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 14th.
"The bike is very good and I'm riding very well. I had a slight problem with rear wheel chatter when I changed tyres but we fixed that. My problem today was that I could not find a fast rider to slipstream to get a good lap time. But I have to be pleased with my lap time set while alone on the track. "

125cc.

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 36th.
“I am disappointed because we had an excellent start to the weekend. Yesterday we were 4 seconds off pole position and this morning only 2.7 seconds, and I knew I still had room to improve. Unfortunately I fell during the last qualifying session. I didn't get any injuries but I had to carry on with my second bike which has different settings. For the race tomorrow I'll have to make a good start. Provided I can keep up with a good pack, I should get a decent result because I know I can ride faster than I did today. What's for sure is that I will not slacken at all during the race.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 07
Catalunya Grand Prix at Catalunya

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

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