MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 09: Netherlands GP > Qualifying
MotoGPNetherlandsJune 27, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 09
Netherlands Grand Prix at Assen

Pedrosa on Front Row in Hard-Fought Session

Race Results >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) starts tomorrow's race as second fastest qualifier, just 0.032 seconds short of Ducati rider Casey Stoner's 1m 35.520s pole time. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) completes the front row.

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


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda)

Pedrosa worked hard to keep the flying Stoner in his sights. The Aussie World Champion has been in peak form after his Donington Park victory last weekend and although it first looked as if Rossi would run Stoner closest in qualifying, it was Dani who did it today. And it could so easily have been another pole for Pedrosa.

This hour-long session got underway in blustery conditions after rain last night. John Hopkins (Kawasaki) crashed early on and then crashed again at high speed at the end, sustaining an ankle fracture that may prevent him from taking the grid tomorrow.

Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi crashed yesterday and a bad gash to his right arm means he will definitely miss this race. His team-mate Chris Vermeulen managed to qualify in eighth place and the Aussie will be the sole Suzuki representative on the grid tomorrow.

This session also brought into sharp focus the plight of former Honda rider and Grand Prix winner Marco Melandri, now riding for Ducati. While his team-mate romped to his third successive pole position, Melandri props up the grid from the other end as 17th and last qualifier.

Dani was in touch with Stoner's times early on and lay second with a best lap of 1m 37.628s to Stoner's rapid early effort of 1m 36.623s. Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was looking strong early on too lying fifth quickest with a 1m 37.801s time.

Just before the halfway point all six Honda MotoGP men were in the top ten places. Pedrosa third fastest, followed by Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V), then Nakano, De Angelis, Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V), then Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) in eighth.

But only four of those riders would remain in the top ten. Dani, missing pole by a whisker, Nicky, happier on the pneumatic-valve-engined machine, consolidating fourth on the grid, De Puniet equalling his best qualifying result of the season so far with another fifth place with Nakano managing ninth fastest time.

The final ten minutes of this session was a frenzy of brinkmanship with Stoner smashing Hopkins' 2006 pole time by a staggering 0.891 seconds as he fended off attempts by Rossi and Dani to upstage him here at this famous track.

Dani secured his eight front row start in nine races with mere seconds left on the clock while Nicky might have done better had his crew not run out of time trying to fit his final qualifying tyre as the clock ran down. Either way both factory riders are in a position to make the most of this significant mid-season race.

Front row starter Dani said: "Casey will try to escape from the pack at the start, which means it will be crucial to get a good start and try to stay in contact. We still have some improvements to make. This is a very complex track for set-up and we need to try some small changes to help me feel at ease on the bike because the pace is going to be very fast tomorrow. Once again the weather has played a part, this morning's rain meant we couldn't do any proper work with slicks, so we aren't yet 100 per cent sure about our race tyre choice. If it rains again tomorrow, the race will be more complicated."

Nicky, on row two, said: "This morning the bike was working quite good in the wet and on intermediates. That session sucked for learning much about the dry, but I got some good experience out there on intermediates front and rear and it felt quite good, I was able to stay out and get a good feel for it. The Michelin qualifiers were working awesome round here, every one we put in I kept getting faster, so it would've been fun to fire the last one in there. It's going to be a hard race tomorrow, I'm not making no predictions, we'll see what we can do, go for the best result we can."

De Puniet in fifth said: "It's a good weekend so far because I feel comfortable on the bike and all the practice sessions were pretty positive. We found a competitive overall package and I want to thank my team for their good job including Michelin because the race tyres we tested were all of a good grip level: even my laps on qualifiers were good and the second row start will help me to stay with the leaders. Tomorrow's race will be very close but I am looking forward to ending this week end in the most positive fashion."

Ninth-placed Nakano said: "I expected a better result because we've been working well on qualifying tyres recently and the bike setting was good. A fast lap just didn't come though, and that may be because the front-end was not our strongest point today. In any case, a third row start is not a disaster and we can still do well in tomorrow's race."

Dovizioso, 11th fastest, said: "Tomorrow I think I can battle for fourth or fifth position, although I'll have to make a good start. Many other riders are able to run a race-pace near to mine, and I believe I can still improve a few things during the warm-up session tomorrow. A consistent lap time of around 1m 37.5s is what I'm aiming for, and with this in mind I think we can be in the top five. I can't improve my performance on the qualifying tyres yet, because I don't have enough confidence in the front tyre. We still have to do some development on suspension before the race, to get it to work a little better during the fast corners on the track, where you really need to have good grip from the front."

De Angelis, 12th on the grid, said: "We've shown over the past few rounds that we have a good package in race trim and thanks to the support of Bridgestone we now have a tyre that suits my style of riding. However, I'm still having trouble adapting my pace to a qualifying tyre and I can't get the maximum out of it yet. I'll be limited by my starting position but I showed today my pace is good again. I did a couple of laps in 1m 37.2s on race rubber so I'm confident, even though it's not easy to overtake here."

250cc

Alvaro Bautista was in charge of this session and put his Aprilia on pole for the fifth time this season. Hector Barbera (Aprilia) lines up second on the grid while Gilera rider Marco Simoncelli qualified third fastest with Alex Debon (Aprilia) completing the front row.

After overnight rain not all riders could improve their Thursday times on the ‘green' track. Without an accumulation of rubber to enhance grip both Honda men had to rely on their Thursday times for grid position. Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) starts from tenth, Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG RS250RW) from 17th.

Takahashi said: "Yesterday afternoon I ended up in ninth position and I was confident I could improve in the sessions today. Unfortunately the rain made the conditions a little more slippery and I was unable to gain any more positions. Despite this, the team did a great job and we've already decided on the tyres to use, so tomorrow in warm-up we'll verify the suspension settings, but all of this will be dependent on the weather and grip levels, which I hope will both be better than today."

Willairot said: "I'm not too happy with today. After qualifying yesterday we changed the front-end a little with a different spring rate, but I didn't find the confidence I needed with that set-up. We changed back to the original settings for qualifying and it was much better. The engine is good, if a little down on top speed, the chassis and race tyres are fine. I was fast for the first nine laps of final qualifying. But after I came into the box to change tyres I couldn't find my rhythm again. We tried three sets of tyres but I couldn't get close to my best time. Tomorrow I'll have to run consistent 1m 49s laps to be in the points."

125cc

Thursday times were required for riders in this class after last night's rain rendered today's session redundant in terms of providing enough grip for riders to improve their laps. Simone Corsi took pole with Bradley Smith (both Aprilia) second on the grid, Joan Olive third quickest and series points leader Mike Di Meglio (both Derbi) completing the front row.

Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 34th and said: "Following advice from my team, I'm trying to change my riding style by breaking up my movements while taking fewer risks. I crashed in the first free practice session, and again this morning in the rain. My session this afternoon was more satisfying and I improved my lap times compared to yesterday. For the future, my aim is to improve my lap times despite it feeling slower on the bike."

Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250) Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)


Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)


Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd − 1m 35.552s.
"I'm very happy with this afternoon's result, especially because this will be the first time I've started from the front row in MotoGP at Assen. The first part of the track is very tight, so it is really important to start from the front row here. Casey will try to escape from the pack at the start, which means it will be crucial to get a good start and try to stay in contact. We still have some improvements to make. This is a very complex track for set-up and we need to try some small changes to help make me feel at ease on the bike because the pace is going to be very fast tomorrow. Once again the weather has played a part, this morning's rain meant that we couldn't do any proper work with slicks, so we aren't yet 100 per cent sure about our race tyre choice. If it rains again tomorrow, the race will be more complicated."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th − 1m 35.975s.
"This morning the bike was working quite good in the wet and on intermediates. That session sucked for learning much about the dry but I got some good experience out there on intermediates front and rear and it felt quite good, I was able to stay out and get a good feel for it. This afternoon seemed to go so quick. We tried a couple of little things on the front, but after the first run we had to go back to what we had before because the changes helped in some areas but overall they made it worse. We started putting our qualifiers and then I had an issue with the clutch which lost us some time in the tyre changes, so ultimately I didn't get to use my last qualifier, so we had one bullet left in the chamber that we didn't use. The Michelin qualifiers were working awesome round here, every one we put in I kept getting faster, so it would've been fun to fire the last one in there. It's going to be a hard race tomorrow, I'm not making no predictions, we'll see what we can do, go for the best result we can."

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 5th − 1m 35.985s.
"It's a good weekend so far because I feel comfortable on the bike and all the practice sessions were pretty positive. We found a competitive overall package and I want to thank my team for their good job including Michelin because the race tyres we tested were all of a good grip level: even my laps on qualifiers were good and the second row start will help me to stay with the leaders. Tomorrow's race will be very close but I am looking forward to ending this week end in the most positive fashion."

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 9th − 1m 36.804s.
"I expected a better result because we've been working well on qualifying tyres recently and the bike setting was good. A fast lap just didn't come though and that may be because the front end was not our strongest point today. In any case, a third row start is not a disaster and we can still do well in tomorrow's race."

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 11th − 1m 36.899s.
"Tomorrow I think I can battle for the fourth or fifth position. Although I will have to make a good start, not make any errors and get to the first corner in a good position, because in the first part of the circuit it's difficult to overtake! Many other riders are able to run a race-pace near to mine, and I believe that I can still improve a few things during the warm-up session tomorrow. A consistent lap time of around 1m 37.5s is what I'm aiming for, and with this in mind I think we can be in the top five. It seems that I cannot improve my performance on the qualifying tyres, because I do not have the confidence with the front tyre that I need and also a little vibration also disturbed my pace. We still have to do some development on the setting of the suspension before the race, to get it to work a little better during the fast corners on the track, where you really need to have good support from the front tyre."

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 12th − 1m 36.948s.
"We've shown over the past few rounds that we have a good package in race trim and thanks to the support of Bridgestone we also have a tyre now that suits my style of riding. However, I'm still having trouble adapting my pace to a qualifying tyre and I can't get the maximum out of it. I will be limited by my starting position but I showed today that my pace is good again. I did a couple of laps in 1'37"2 on race rubber so I'm confident, even though it is not easy to overtake here."

250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 10th − 1m 40.796s.

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 17th − 1m 41.543s.
"I'm not so happy with today. After qualifying yesterday we changed the front end a little, a different spring rate but I didn't find the confidence I needed with that set up. We changed back to the original settings for qualifying and it was much better. The engine is good, maybe a little down on top speed, the chassis and race tyres also. I was fast for the first nine laps of final qualifying following a fast guy and put in a 1m 49.9s lap and felt OK. But after I came into the box to change tyres I could not find my rhythm again. We tried three sets of tyres but I couldn't get close to my best time. Tomorrow I will have to run consistent 1m 49s laps to get good points."

125cc.

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 34th − 1m 50.275s.
"Following the advice from my team, I am trying to change my riding style and to break up my movements in an attempt to improve whilst taking less risks. I crashed in the first free practice session, and again this morning in the rain. My session this afternoon was more satisfying and I improved my lap times compared to yesterday. For the future, my aim is to improve my lap times despite having the impression of being slower."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 09
Netherlands Grand Prix at Assen

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