MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 08: British GP > Qualifying
MotoGPU.K.June 21, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
British Grand Prix at Donington Park

HAYDEN HEADS ROW TWO AS STONER RULES IN RAIN

Race Results >>

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) did his level best in wet conditions to secure a front row start but there was no catching reigning World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati) here at a rain-lashed Donington Park. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) qualified second fastest and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) completes the front row.

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team) Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda), Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)


Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda)
Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Stoner plainly had the measure of this track to an extent his rivals can only worry about. The Aussie champ was three-quarters of a second quicker than anyone else yesterday and he began this final hour of timed qualifying in similar vein with a 1m 40.809s time that became the early target.

Nicky showed well early, employing the new pneumatic-valve engine, and the 2006 World Champion was closing on Stoner’s time along with Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) and Kawasaki rider Anthony West. Vermeulen was at the sharp end of things too. Less so Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who ended the day ninth.

The track was soaking and showed no signs of drying out as the halfway point approached. Riders had no option but to fine tune wet set-up in the belief tomorrow will be wet too. But forecasts suggest the race (scheduled for 3:00pm) might get underway in the dry after overnight showers.

Either way it means no one on the grid has had the chance to maximize the effectiveness of either wet or dry race trim and the warm-up session tomorrow morning thus assumes huge importance (that is if the weather remains unchanged from morning to afternoon).

At the halfway stage Stoner headed Vermeulen and West with Rossi fourth fastest, Hayden in fifth, home hope James Toseland (Yamaha), who would endure two late session crashes in as many minutes, in sixth with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) seventh.

Honda man de Puniet was 11th, Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) 12th, Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) lay 13th and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was 14th fastest. All would latterly improve, but only ‘Dovi’ to any great extent.

Vermeulen soon began to get the measure of Stoner’s increasing speed, matching his new time exactly with a neat 1m 39.980s lap just before the final 20 minutes showed on the clock. Vermeulen’s temporary team-mate American Ben Spies, standing in for the injured Loris Capirossi, held seventh at this stage.

Vermeulen then grabbed pole with a 1m 39.876s time with 15 minutes to go before Stoner regained number one slot with a 1m 39.464s lap. This, however, was mere preamble to the 1m 38.869s he would ride to one lap later. This was now more than a second quicker than anyone else on track.

As the final minutes drew on, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) snatched second before Rossi relieved the Texan of that spot with a 1m 39.568s time. The rain was now easing off but the track remained damp and consequently short on grip throughout.

Dovizioso rocketed to sixth in the closing minutes and Nicky snatched second from Vermeulen with a swift 1m 39.270s lap before being bumped down to the second row. But Stoner was simply untouchable here today, carving a 1m 38.783s time, then a 1m 38.232s time to nail pole in convincing fashion – 0.6 seconds faster than anyone else.

Nicky said: “I had hoped to be on the front row. Fourth here isn’t so bad and we’ll be OK so long as we can get some stuff sorted out for the race. If it’s wet tomorrow we’re lucky it rained because we’re using a completely different engine and today was the first time I rode it in the rain. It took some adjusting to, just a few laps to get comfortable on it. The engine is a little bit aggressive but I was able to control it OK. We certainly need time to understand it some more but all in all it's not too bad. We knew this weekend we were going to be a little bit in the dark because we don't know what this bike is going to do on tyres over race distance.”

Sixth-placed Dovi said: “If it’s wet we’re in good shape for a very good race. In the afternoon the rain finally stopped, the grip conditions totally changed and we came to damp asphalt conditions. We had some difficulty finding the proper tyre for the most part of the afternoon session, which is why at the start we weren’t up at the top, but then I grabbed the final position on the second row. In dry conditions I don’t think we have the pace of the leaders but it will be crucial to get a good start and handle the race from there.”

Dani (9th fastest) said: “The race won’t be easy tomorrow because I’ve got to start from the third row of the grid. This is a tight, one-line racetrack where overtaking can be quite difficult. But the main unknown is the weather. If it’s dry we already have some fairly clear ideas about machine set-up and tyre choice from yesterday’s two dry sessions. Today the bike felt fine in the wet but some of the riders were going very fast with an impressive rhythm. So we’ll wait and see what the morning warm-up session brings. If I could choose, I would much prefer a dry race. As far as my physical condition goes, my back and hand are still hurting from yesterday’s crash, though I do feel a bit better today.”

Shinya Nakano qualified tenth and said: “Unfortunately the bad weather affected my riding in both free practice and qualifying today. Heavy rain this morning made it really difficult to control the bike and I had a small crash, fortunately escaping without injury. In the afternoon we changed the setting of the bike, improved the grip and that allowed me to go faster and set more respectable times. I lost my feeling with the bike a little bit, though, in the final few laps of qualifying because the track conditions were changing and there was less water on the surface.”

His team-mate De Angelis managed 13th on the grid and said: “Usually in wet conditions we are faster than this. Unfortunately we suffered some rear traction problems – the bike was spinning up under acceleration and we couldn't find a solution before the end of qualifying. Now we’ll work on the information we’ve gathered to try and come up with something that suits my riding style. We’re strong under braking so if we can improve the rear traction then we can look forward to a good race. A comeback is not impossible because there are a lot of places to overtake at this track."

Randy de Puniet starts from 14th. He said: “This morning I crashed twice and we could not improve our machine in the wet because we spent a lot of time adjusting both bikes. Then in the afternoon session we fixed some points in the chassis set-up but it's still not perfect. At the end of the session the track surface was still wet but getting better and we probably didn’t choose the right tyre in those conditions. Basically we are paying for the track time we lost this morning and maybe it’s cost us some grid positions.”

250cc

Rain compromised this three-quarter hour final session of qualifying but Alvaro Bautista maintained his 100% record of front row starts this season with his fourth pole setting the best time of 1m 31.834s. The Spaniard heads Marco Simoncelli who was second fastest, Hector Barbera in third and Thomas Luthi (all Aprilia) completing the front row.

Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW), who was second fastest in the morning session qualified fifth, just over a second shy of the pole time. He heads row two while Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing RS250RW) qualified 18th.

Takahashi said: “I’m satisfied with these two days of practice because I was able to go fast in all conditions. Yesterday, with the sun out we identified some good technical solutions and today I was confident that I could do even better. Unfortunately it rained and I was unable to gain any grid positions. I was so close to the front row! Despite that, today I went well on wet tyres and when the afternoon rain had stopped, with the wet then damp track, I did not have difficulties. Unfortunately on the last lap at the right-hander at Melbourne I lost the rear and slid off. I didn't hurt myself, but I'm sorry for the team. They have to repair the bike. Tomorrow I am ready to have a good race, whatever the weather conditions.”

Wilairot said: “I crashed in free practice this morning and I hurt my back again, but not too badly. I lost some time over that and we had to concentrate on finding a good setting for the qualifying practice. We changed the throttle setting and front and rear suspension. In the morning the front-end felt like it was turning in but we improved it for qualifying, also the rear which is now steady. It’s a pity about the rain because I could have improved on 18th place on the grid but I will be OK for the race.”

125cc

Rain ruined today’s session and Simone Corsi secured his second pole position of the season when he sped to a 1m 37.488s lap yesterday in the dry to outpace reigning World Champion Gabor Talmacsi, who was second fastest, third quickest man Sergio Gadea and British hope Scott Redding in fourth (all Aprilia).

Series points leader Mike Di Meglio (Derbi) starts from a lowly 21st after enduring set-up problems yesterday. Rookie Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) starts from 32nd place after crashing without injury in this second timed session held in tricky wet conditions.

Rossi said: “My back wheel slid on the last bend. I’d had a few moments already with the track made very slippery by the rain. I started again halfway through the session, but it is hard to regain confidence in such conditions. It’s a shame because I felt confident when I arrived, especially as I rode here last year in the British Championship and reached the podium. I was faster yesterday than last year, and I can measure just how great the gap is.”

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th - 1m 39.270s.
“I had hoped to be on the front row. Fourth here isn’t so bad and we will be okay so long as we can get some stuff sorted out for the race. If it’s wet tomorrow we’re lucky it rained because we’re using a completely different engine and today was the first time I rode it in the rain. It took some adjusting to, just a few laps to get comfortable on it. The engine is a little bit aggressive but I was able to control it okay. We certainly need more time to understand it some more but all in all it’s not too bad. We knew this weekend we were going to be a little bit in the dark because we don’t know what this bike is going to do on tyres over race distance and we could’ve done with some more time on fuel consumption. This morning things felt good in the wet, but when things dried out this afternoon we were struggling to go fast, that’s where we’ve got to work with Michelin to improve. The track’s slippery, but it’s cold too and that can make as much different as the surface. The race will be fun nonetheless, see what happens when that light goes out…”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Team Scot Honda: 6th: 1m 39.783s.
“The heavy rain in the morning made for a spectacular session that myself and the team used at the maximum in case of a wet race tomorrow. If it’s going to be wet we are in good shape for a very good race. In the afternoon the rain finally stopped and the grip conditions totally changed and we came to damp asphalt conditions. We had some difficulty finding the proper tyre for most part of the whole afternoon session, which is why at the start we weren’t up at the top, but then close to the end of the qualifying session I was in the condition to jump up to sixth place, grabbing the final position on the second row. In dry conditions I don’t think we have the pace of the leaders but it will be crucial to get a good start and handle the race from there.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 9th - 1m 40.350s.
“The race won’t be easy tomorrow because I’ve got to start from the third row of the grid. This is a tight, one-line racetrack where overtaking can be quite difficult. But the main unknown is the weather. If it’s dry we already have some fairly clear ideas about machine set-up and tyre choice from yesterday’s two dry sessions. Today the bike felt fine in the wet but some of the riders were going very fast with an impressive rhythm. So we will wait and see what the morning warm-up session brings. If I could choose, I would much prefer a dry race. As far as my physical condition goes, my back and hand are still hurting from yesterday’s crash, though I do feel a bit better today.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 10th- 1m 40.417s.
"Unfortunately the bad weather affected my riding in both free practice and qualifying today. Heavy rain this morning made it really difficult to control the bike and I had a small crash, fortunately escaping without injury. In the afternoon we changed the setting of the bike, improved the grip and that allowed me to go faster and set more respectable times. I lost my feeling with the bike a little bit, though, in the final few laps of qualifying because the track conditions were changing and there was less water on the surface. Tenth place on the grid was at least an improvement on my position this morning, when I was seventeenth. Now we have to look and see if we can improve on anything for tomorrow because the general feeling with the bike isn’t bad."

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 13th – 1m 40.667s.
"Qualifying today was a little unlucky and a fourth-row start is going to determine our race a little tomorrow. I’m clearly unsatisfied with the result because usually in wet conditions we are faster than this. Unfortunately we suffered some rear traction problems – the bike was spinning up under acceleration and we couldn’t find a solution before the end of qualifying. Now we will work on the information we have gathered to try and come up with something that suits my riding style. We’re strong under braking so if we can manage to improve the rear traction then we can look forward to a good race. Another comeback is not impossible because there are a lot of places to overtake at this track."

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 14th – 1m 41.110s.
“This morning I crashed twice and we could not improve our machine in the wet because we spent a lot of time adjusting both bikes. Then in the afternoon session we fixed some points in the chassis set-up but it's still not perfect. At the end of the session the track surface was still wet but getting better and we probably didn’t choose the right tyre in those conditions. Basically we are paying for the track time we lost this morning and maybe it’s cost us some grid positions.”

250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 5th – 1m 32.853s.
“I am very satisfied with these two days of practice because I was able to go fast in all conditions. Yesterday, with the sun out we identified some good technical solutions and today I was confident that I could do even better. Unfortunately it rained and I was unable to gain any grid positions. I was so close to the front row! Despite that, today I went well on wet tyres and when the afternoon rain had stopped, with the wet then damp track, I did not have difficulties. Unfortunately on the last lap at the right-hander at Melbourne I lost the rear and slid off. I didn’t hurt myself, but I’m sorry for the team who have to repair the bike. Tomorrow I am ready to do a good race, whatever the weather conditions.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 18th - 1m 34.039s.
"I crashed in free practice this morning and I hurt my back again, but not too badly. I lost some time over that and we had to concentrate on finding a god setting for the qualifying practice. We changed the throttle setting and front and rear suspension. In the morning the front end felt like it was turning in but we improved it for qualifying, also the rear which is now steady, not so bad. It’s a pity about the rain because I could have improved on 18th place on the grid but I will be OK for the race."

125cc.

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 32nd – 1m 41.320s.
“My back wheel slid on the last bend. I’d had a few moments already with the track made very slippery by the rain. I started again half way through the session, but it is hard to regain confidence in such conditions. It is a shame because I felt confident when I arrived, especially as I rode here last year in the British Championship and reached a place on the podium. I was faster yesterday than last year, and I can measure just how great the gap is.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
British Grand Prix at Donington Park

line
MotoGP
1 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
3 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
7 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8 Ben SPIES (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
9 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
11 John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
13 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
14 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
15 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
16 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
17 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
18 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
 
250cc
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
2 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
3 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
4 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
5 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
6 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
7 Julian SIMON (Repsol KTM 250cc)
8 Aleix ESPARGARO (Lotus Aprilia)
9 Lukas PESEK (Auto Kelly - CP)
10 Fabrizio LAI (Campetella Racing)
18 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
 
125cc
1 Simone CORSI (Jack & Jones WRB)
2 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar Team)
3 Sergio GADEA (Bancaja Aspar Team)
4 Scott REDDING (Blusens Aprilia Junior)
5 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Derbi)
6 Andrea IANNONE (I.C. Team)
7 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
8 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol KTM 125cc)
9 Pablo NIETO (Onde 2000 KTM)
10 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (ISPA KTM Aran)
 

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