MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 14: Indianapolis GP > Qualifying
MotoGPU.S.A.September 13, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Qualifying

Hayden Heads Second Row, De Prniet Goes Top Six

Race Results >>

After a Friday deluge, today’s qualifying was held in sunshine and it was Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who qualified fastest denying second quickest Casey Stoner (Ducati) an eighth pole in a row. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) joins them on the front row for tomorrow’s inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Yesterday’s atrocious conditions effectively rendered Friday a track learning exercise at best. Today was when the real business began and it was Stoner who topped the sheets as the hour-long MotoGP qualifying session got underway. His early 1m 44.998s time would have more than four seconds shaved from it when the stint ended.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) demonstrated his abilities as a fast learner when he went third fastest within the first ten minutes as class rookie and class act Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) sped into the top three with a 1m 44.130s time.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) then posted a 1m 43.568s lap time to top the standings on his home soil. Things didn’t go so well however for Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) who fell just after ten minutes of the hour had passed.

The recent ‘form’ riders soon showed they had lost none of their impetus as Toni Elias, fresh from rostrum finishes, went top with 1m 43.380s lap with De Puniet hanging onto second and Lorenzo and Hayden holding fast, third and fourth fastest.

Just before the halfway stage Rossi made his presence felt with a 1m 42.967s time. He then improved this to 1m 42.945s as Nicky moved to second quickest ahead of Stoner, Elias and the resilient De Puniet. These were the riders who adapted quickest to the singular demands of this virgin track.

But with the destructive Hurricane Ike in full effect in the locale there is a question mark hanging over whether this race will take place at all with torrential rain or perhaps worse forecast for tomorrow. Hayden, however, was in no mood to be swayed by these serious doubts about the weather.

He went top with 22 minutes to go with a 1m 42.206s lap, rear tyre smokin’ all the way around an anti-clockwise track that not only suits his dirt-track oval derived riding style but also favours his ‘good’ left foot over the right heel he broke on 1 August riding in the LA X Games.

Neither was De Puniet finished here yet. The flying Frenchman put a 1m 42.027s lap on the board within the final 20 minutes as Toni Elias tried perhaps a bit too hard to stay in the hunt, parting company with his Ducati without injury to return to the pits and emerge on his number two machine.

De Puniet again made the running with a 1m 41.570s lap to go top as Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen bit the dust with 14 minutes of the hour remaining. Then it was Lorenzo’s turn to hit the front with a 1m 41.488s time. But the final ten minutes was where the pattern would be set.

Nicky looked good with seven minutes left before Rossi put in a 1m 41.031s time. Rossi then set a 1m 40.776s time that could not be bettered despite Hayden electrifying the crowd with tyre smoking efforts on the ragged edge of effort and adhesion.

Less spectacular but no less impressive was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) riding the pneumatic-valve engine and on Bridgestone tyres for the first time in qualifying. He notched eighth place on the grid.

Nicky, fourth fastest, and just under half a second off the pole time, said: “That was nearly the front row but outside on the second row ain’t a bad spot. I feel this is the best race pace I’ve had in a while. I had a lot more fun today, the bike was working a lot better, we made some geometry tweaks to make it feel better and I was more consistent. The bike certainly felt good and the Michelin tyres too. For the race it’s surely looking wet. It would be awesome to catch a break and get in a dry race, because I feel this is the best race package I’ve had in a while. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, try to have a bit of fun, see how it goes.”

De Puniet, sixth quickest on row two, said: “I’m very happy about my result because it’s not easy to find the right set-up on a new track. When I came out on race tyres my pace was consistently fast and I made a good job on qualifiers as well. This is a very positive result if we consider that I miss some power in the straight but thanks to the adjustments we did this morning I will start from the second row once again. I do not feel worried about the bad weather because we have got a good pace in both conditions.”

Dovizioso qualified seventh and said: “I still have a good margin of performance and I can approach the race tomorrow in a very positive way. With only one day of sunshine available, maybe our set-up isn’t perfect, but that also means we could expect surprises from our opponents. If the weather remains like today I believe the race will be very intense – but the forecast is rain. A good start here is important to tackle the new stretch of asphalt as there’s one good, clean line available through it.”

Dani Pedrosa qualified eighth on row three and said: “Today was the first time I used Bridgestone qualifying tyres. It was quite difficult because I was trying to study the tyres while at the same time trying to push for the best possible grid position. As for race tyres, I wasn’t able to do too many consecutive laps because we had so little dry-track time. All in all, I’m confident, we’re gaining important experience and improving every time I go out. I hope we have a dry race tomorrow. If it’s going to rain like it did yesterday afternoon then we’ll discuss with Race Direction the best course of action.”

Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) will start from 12th. He said: “On my last fast lap I was slowed by another rider going to the pits. It was a pity. I’m satisfied with the tyres and I’m also happy with my improvement on qualifying tyres. My pace is very good on race tyres and I was very fast in the third section of the track. I’m not worried about the weather because I was fast in both the wet and dry. But starting from the fourth row of the grid will be difficult – I will need to make a very good start.”

Shinya Nakano qualified 17th and said: “My race pace was not so bad, but I didn’t have a good feeling with grip on the first part of the circuit. Qualifying was very bad for me, I was only 0.6s faster than with my race set-up. I ran straight on at one corner in the qualifying session but only fell off at very low speed. The problem is that I have to start from the sixth row of the grid and that will not be easy. For me the weather is not a big problem wet or dry, only my grid position.”

250cc

Series points leader Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) took pole for the fourth time this season with a 1m 45.168s lap ahead of Hector Barbera (Aprilia), with Mika Kallio (KTM) third quickest and Alex Debon (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Honda representatives Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) qualified 11th for a third row start and Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG RS250RW) made 13th on the grid.

Takahashi, just over one and a half seconds off the pole time, said: “I wanted to get a better result because I could do better. The bike set-up is not too bad, but I can do more, so we need to develop the setting of the suspension because the bike still feels a little unstable at the rear. Tomorrow during warm-up we’ll exploit to the maximum the time available before the race and will need to make a good start, being careful in the first corner with the new asphalt, and with the possible slippery conditions.”

Wilairot said: “It’s a new circuit for all of us and a little difficult to learn in one dry day of practice. But we are not so bad. The only problem I have is with the rear end of the bike sliding a lot. We’ve worked on the suspension and it’s a little better. The front-end, my gearbox and the tyres are good. Also my back is not hurting as much as yesterday so I feel a lot better on the bike.”

125cc

Pol Espargaro (Derbi) recorded his second pole position of the season so far when he posted a 1m 50.475s lap with five minutes of the half hour session left to run. Championship points leader Mike Di Meglio (Derbi) qualified second fastest despite falling with only 13 minutes left on the clock.

Rookie Scott Redding (Aprilia) who was strong in yesterday’s soaking wet conditions headed the session with 20 minutes to go but had to be content with a second row start from eighth at the flag. Stefan Bradl and British rider Danny Webb (both Aprilia) fill the other front row berths.

In terms of the World Championship run-in, challenger Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) fell in Friday’s swamped session and fractured the scaphoid bone in his left wrist. He could only manage 16th on the grid. Second-placed overall contender Simone Corsi (Aprilia) qualified sixth.

Cyril Carrillo (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) managed 35th on the grid and said: “At a new track and being back with the team after a long while it took me some time to get up to speed. And I still have much to do. It will be good to get back to racing and to pick up the pace again.”

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th – 1m 41.271s.
“That was nearly the front row but outside on the second row ain’t a bad spot. I feel this is the best race pace I’ve had in a while; a few times when I’ve qualified good this year it’s just been one lap with a qualifier. I enjoyed today, even this morning in the damp. Yesterday in the heavy rain, man, I was hydroplaning everywhere, it wasn’t any fun. I had a lot more fun today, the bike was working a lot better, we made some geometry tweaks to make it feel better and I was able to be more consistent. The bike certainly felt pretty good and the Michelin tyres felt pretty good. For the race it’s surely looking wet. It would be awesome to catch a break and get in a dry race, because I feel this is the best race package I’ve had in a while. If it’s dry we’ve got an idea on tyres. If it’s wet, my set-up yesterday wasn’t working real good. If it’s heavy, heavy rain we need to do something different. It would’ve been nice to be on the front row, we could certainly use a bit of a boost because my guys are working real hard and I’ve got a lot of support here: friends, family and fans. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, try to have a bit of fun, see how it goes. The special helmet paint is for the Indianapolis Colts. When I was a kid I played Pop Warner football and I was a Colt, that was my team. It was me, my little brother and one of my best friends. Colts have always been my favourite team. And the horseshoe, maybe I could do with a bit of good luck!”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 6th – 1m 41.492s.
“I am very happy about my result because it’s not easy to find the right set-up on a new track. Yesterday we had both sessions in the wet and this morning the track surface was still damp. For the final qualifying the track was completely dry but I could easily ride as I would like. When I came out on race tyres my pace was consistently fast and I made a good job on qualifiers as well. This is a very positive result if we consider that I miss some power in the straight but thanks to the adjustments we did this morning I will start from the second row once again. Starting from the 6th position will help me in case of heavy rain but I do not feel worried about the bad weather because we have got a good pace in both conditions”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 7th – 1m 41.744s.
“I'm glad of the proof of what's happened today, because I was strong but I still have a good margin of performance and I can approach the race tomorrow in a very positive way. With only one day of sunshine available, maybe our set-up isn't perfect, but that also means we could expect surprises from our opponents. If the weather remains like today I believe the race will be very intense - but the forecasts announce intense rain. I feel ready for both conditions and fast in both, as I'm at the front of the third row and was close to the second row. A good start here in Indianapolis is important to tackle the new stretch of asphalt as there's one good, clean line available through it.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th - 1m 41.754s.
“Today was the first time that I have used Bridgestone qualifying tyres, so it was quite difficult because I was trying to study the tyres while at the same time trying to push for the best possible-grid position. The fact with qualifying tyres is that you can only be really fast once you know them very well. I was able improve my times with my third qualifier, so I think the third row is not such a bad result, considering the circumstances. As for race tyres, I wasn’t able to do too many consecutive laps because we had so little dry-track time. Therefore we still need to define some details for race-tyre choice but overall I feel quite fine. We also need to work to better understand my new machine, which is very different from the machine I had been using, especially considering the electronics. All in all, I’m confident, we are gaining important experience and improving every time I go out. I hope we will have a dry race tomorrow. If it’s going to rain like it did yesterday afternoon then we will discuss with Race Direction the best course of action.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 12th - 1m 41.969s.
“On my last fast lap I was slowed by another rider going to the pit box, it was a pity. I’m satisfied with the tyres Bridgestone helped me improve in each session today. I am also happy with my improvement on qualifying tyres. My pace is very good on race tyres, I was very fast in FP3. I’m not worried about the weather because I was have been fast in both the wet and dry. But starting from the fourth row of the grid will be difficult – I will need to make a very good start.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 17th - 1m 42.732s.
“In the completely dry qualification my race pace was not so bad, everywhere. But I didn’t have a good feeling with grip on the first part of the circuit. Qualifying was very bad for me, I was only 0.6s faster than with my race set up. I ran straight on at one corner in the qualifying session but only fell off at very low speed. The problem is that I have to start from the sixth row of the grid and that will not be easy. For me the weather is not a big problem wet or dry, only my grid position.”

250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 11th - 1m 46.739s.
“I wanted to get a better result because I think I could do better. The bike set-up is not too bad, but I can do more, so we need to develop the setting of the suspension because the bike still feels a little unstable at the rear. Tomorrow during the warm-up we will exploit to the maximum the time available before the race and will need to make a good start, being careful in the first corner with the new asphalt, and with the possible slippery conditions. Either way, I think we could do a good race tomorrow.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 13th -1m 46.847s.
“It is a new circuit for all of us and a little difficult to learn in one dry day of practice. But we are not so bad the only problem I have is with the rear end of the bike it’s sliding a lot. We have worked on the suspension and it is a little better. The front end, my gearbox and the tyres are good. Also my back is not hurting as much as yesterday so I feel a lot better on the bike.”

125cc:

Cyril Carrillo, FFM Honda: 35th - 1m 55.697s.
“The track requires good rhythm which is very difficult. It’s very technical and I lack experience on this type of course. The rain did not help and we also had some problems setting up our Honda¹s chassis. Fortunately I feel very comfortable within the team but I must ride faster to show them they made the right choice by choosing me as a rider.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
3 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Ben SPIES (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
6 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
10 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
11 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
12 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
13 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
15 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
16 John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team)
17 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
18 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
19 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
 
250cc
1 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
2 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
3 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
4 Alex DEBON (Lotus Aprilia)
5 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
7 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
8 Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
9 Lukas PESEK (Auto Kelly - CP)
10 Julian SIMON (Repsol KTM 250cc)
11 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
13 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
 
125cc
1 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Derbi)
2 Mike DI MEGLIO (Ajo Motorsport)
3 Stefan BRADL (Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing)
4 Danny WEBB (Degraaf Grand Prix)
5 Andrea IANNONE (I.C. Team)
6 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
7 Simone CORSI (Jack & Jones WRB)
8 Dominique AEGERTER (Jack & Jones WRB)
9 Scott REDDING (Ajo Motorsport)
10 Sandro CORTESE (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
 
   


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