MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 15: Japan GP > Qualifying
MotoGPJapanSeptember 27, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi

Hayden Romps to Front Row Start, Dani Row Two

Race Results >>

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) delivered a storming front row qualifying performance here on Honda’s home turf when he put his RC212V on the front row for the third time this year. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) delivered an equally emphatic ride to qualify fifth fastest.

Nikcy HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team) Nikcy HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Nikcy HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Nikcy HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

After his determined second place finish at Indianapolis two weeks ago, and still not quite at peak fitness after the heel injury sustained in August, Nicky is finishing his illustrious career with Honda on a high. Just four tenths away from pole-man Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and lining up alongside second quickest Casey Stoner (Ducati), the American former World Champion made it to the front row despite having to run two laps on his final set of qualifying tyres.

Pedrosa in only his second qualifying stint on Bridgestone tyres showed he is rapidly getting to grips with both the new rubber and the pneumatic-valve RC212V engine. This is his tenth top six start of the year and the hard-charging Spaniard insists there is more to come as he digs deep on home turf.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) showed his intent here topping the timesheet early on before settling for eighth fastest time and third row start, just over a second adrift of Lorenzo’s 1m 45.543s time.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who will start from fourth on the grid was always in the hunt for the front row, Stoner too looked good for a top slot as he headed the order with fifteen minutes left, a lap time of 1m 45.831 his best at that point.

But as the pace hotted up, with sticky but short-life qualifying tyres fitted, the reigning World Champion could not match the speed of Lorenzo around the 4.801km of this challenging circuit.

Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) made it into the top ten with a measured ride that gives him a fine chance of getting among the front men if he can launch his machine cleanly from row three into turn one.

His team-mate Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) struggled somewhat today and could only qualify in 18th place, more than two seconds shy of the top time. The San Marinese man crashed in the late stages of this hour qualifying session while giving it everything – thankfully without injury.

Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) too would have preferred a more sparkling afternoon after being confirmed as Dani’s team-mate in the frontline factory outfit for next season. The dogged Dovi will however have more to show in tomorrow’s warm-up and his race efforts will be typically relentless.

Hayden’s third front row start of the year was as welcome as the appearance of former World Champion Alex Criville. The 1999 premier class victor appeared on his mighty NSR500 for two demo laps and the affable Spaniard was delighted.

He said: “Riding the bike brought back many good and happy memories. I think the NSR500 is probably one of the greatest motorcycles ever made, and it was good to see the fans enjoying the sound of the 500 once more. The engine still makes very good power – I had a small slide on my first lap. I got on the gas and had some wheel-spin, so I told myself to be careful. These bikes have no traction control!”

Nicky Hayden, 3rd fastest, at 1m 45.971s said: “Honda’s home race, we’re on the front row which is nice, now we’ve got to try and get a result. Yesterday the bike didn’t feel good, balance and all. We made some pretty good changes overnight. A lot of the time when you make changes, in theory they should do this or that but a lot of the time it don’t work out like that, but today everything worked like we thought it would, so my guys did some good work. My race pace is decent but not great, we need to improve tomorrow morning if we want to turn it into a result, which is the plan. My first qualifier went good, my second I didn’t really improve, the third one I did improve, then the fourth felt really good. But going into turn three there was a pack of riders, so I just had to shut it down. The Michelin qualifiers were really good today.”

Dani Pedrosa, 5th fastest, said: “I’m happier than I was after Indy qualifying because we are improving all the time. Every time I go out with another qualifying tyre I get faster, but during my last lap today I made a mistake at one corner and lost a lot of time. The second row is OK, it’s important to get a good start here because the first corner is so close to the grid. Today we tried a few different race tyres and did some good work, but we still need to make some improvements in a few different places. This is Honda’s home track, I have always been a Honda rider, so it’s very important for all of us to get a good result here.”

De Puniet, eighth on the grid, said: “It was a good day but not perfect. In race trim we improved the feeling since this morning but I am not totally satisfied about the rear grip. I had a too many slides and need more initial grip. We tried to adjust the setting getting some improvements but it’s not enough yet. However I feel satisfied as lapped consistently fast on race tyres. Unfortunately I made a small mistake on qualifiers at turn nine loosing three tenths and the second row. Anyway third row is not bad.”

Ninth-fastest Shinya Nakano said: “Today the weather was better than yesterday for both the morning and afternoon sessions, with high temperatures that allowed us to work well. During the morning we worked on the bike set-up and tyre choice, trying a couple more tyre solutions at the start of qualifying and putting together a pace I was happy with. I’m not completely satisfied with ninth on the grid but the third row isn’t bad. It will obviously be important to get a good start tomorrow because it is difficult to overtake here. I’m confident for the race because my pace is good.”

Andrea Dovizioso (13th) said: “Tomorrow I must make a good start in. I might be able to recover some positions. The first turn on the circuit could be difficult and has to be approached carefully if we’re bunched up. The track has a particular character: there’s a lot of acceleration from low speed, out of the slow corners and these characteristics do not help us and also it is pretty challenging to pass on the brakes. Passing is one of my strengths and one, which I will try to exploit to the fullest.”

Alex De Angelis (18th) said: “It’s been a really tough day today. We have definitely improved the race set-up but we don’t seem able to put it together in qualifying. Unfortunately I crashed on my last lap and couldn’t improve my position any more. In any case I’m confident about tomorrow because we’re in good shape with the race setting. Obviously we’re not going to be challenging for sixth or seventh but I’d be happy with a top ten.”

250cc

Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) took pole in the quarter-litre category for the fourth time this season so far and KTM rider Hiro Aoyama will line up alongside the Italian series points leader, just 0.246 seconds short of the pole time. Alex Debon (Aprilia) and Mika Kallio (KTM) complete the front row.

Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) ended the day eighth fastest after nudging the front row positions with ten minutes to go. His fellow Honda runner Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG RS250RW) slots in 14th.

Takahashi said: “This morning I wasn’t happy with my number one bike so I took my second bike out but without much improvement. We worked on the chassis settings and electronics of my best bike ready for the qualifying session and we improved our overall performance. My team did a great job for me. I will start the race from the second row but I should be starting from the front row. During my fast qualifying lap I caught a group of slower riders and that cost me time.”

Wilairot, 14th, said: “I like this track as I have raced here many times but today I could not get in a perfect lap in qualifying. But I am confident for the race tomorrow because everything is working well for me apart from a small problem with the front end turning in. It was worse yesterday and this morning but the team worked on the front suspension making a few minor changes and putting in stiffer springs. The engine feels strong and I know which tyres I will race with so if I make a good start and I will have a chance of a good result tomorrow.”

125cc

Series points leader Mike Di Meglio took pole while his nearest title challenger Simone Corsi (Aprilia) could only qualify 15th. The front row comprises Stefan Bradl second fastest with Nicolas Terol and Simone Cortese (all Aprilia) completing the front row.

Cyril Carrillo (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) qualified 37th and said: “I find it very difficult to understand the bike. I’ll go as
far as saying I don’t get it. I need to review everything and completely reassess myself. It’s the first time I’ve ridden on this track and it’s hard to pick up tenths of seconds. There’s a lot of heavy braking at speed. Also I have pain in my right wrist, though I don’t know what’s causing it as I’ve never injured it.”

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 45.971s.
“Honda’s home race, we’re on the front row which is nice, now we’ve got to try and get a result. Yesterday the bike didn’t feel good, balance and all. We made some pretty good changes overnight. A lot of the time when you make changes, in theory they should do this or that but a lot of the time it don’t work out like that, but today everything worked like we thought it would, so my guys did some good work. My race pace is decent but not great, we need to improve tomorrow morning if we want to turn it into a result, which is the plan. My first qualifier went good, my second I didn’t really improve, the third one I did improve, then the fourth felt really good. But going into turn three there was a pack of riders, so I just had to shut it down. I went hard enough for the rest of that lap to keep heat in the tyres and then tried to pull the trigger again. Luckily I was able to get two laps out of it, though the last little bit of the second lap the right side started to go. The Michelin qualifiers were really good today, so I just held on to squeeze on to the front row. That’s important here especially because in the past there’s been plenty of carnage at the first turn. We’ll try to improve the bike in morning, try to get away with them, then see what we got.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th - 1m 46.303s.
“I am happier than I was after Indy qualifying because we are improving all the time. Every time I go out with another qualifying tyre I get faster, but during my last lap today I made a mistake at one corner and lost a lot of time. The second row is okay, it’s important to get a good start here because the first corner is so close to the grid. Today we tried a few different race tyres and did some good work, but we still need to make some improvements in a few different places. This is Honda’s home track, I have always been a Honda rider, so it is very important for all of us to get a good result here. I will do my best.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 8th – 1m 46.554s.
“It was a good day but not perfect! On race trim we improved the grip feeling since this morning but I am not totally satisfied about the rear grip. I had a too many slides and need more initial grip. We tried to adjust the setting getting some improvements but it’s not enough yet. However I feel satisfied as lapped consistently fast on race tyres. Unfortunately I made a small mistake on qualifiers at turn 9 losing three tenths and the second row. Anyway third row is not bad but we need to find more rear grip in tomorrow’s warm up session. My wrist still aches a lot so will get some painkillers for the 24 laps.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 9th – 1m 46.616s.
“Today the weather was better than yesterday for both the morning and afternoon sessions, with high temperatures that allowed us to work well. During the morning we worked on the bike set-up and tyre choice, trying a couple more tyre solutions at the start of qualifying and putting together a pace I was happy with. I’m not completely satisfied with ninth on the grid but the third row isn’t bad. It will obviously be important to get a good start tomorrow because it is difficult to overtake here. I’m confident for the race because my pace is good.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 13th – 1m 46.907s.
"Tomorrow will be a race that I must make a good start in. From the fifth row I will have to start very well, but usually I make a fast start, so I might be able to recover some positions. The first turn on the Motegi circuit could be difficult and has to be approached carefully if we are all bunched up. The circuit has a particular character: there’s a lot of acceleration from low speed, out of the slow corners and these characteristics do not help us and also it is pretty challenging to pass on the brakes. Passing is one of my strengths and one, which I will try to exploit to the fullest. I think the first group of four riders will have an advantage, while I can fight for fifth or sixth place in the second group.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 18th – 1m 47.680s.
“It has been a really tough day today. We have definitely improved the race set-up but we don’t seem able to put it together in qualifying. Unfortunately I crashed on my last lap and couldn’t improve my position any more. In any case I’m confident about tomorrow because we’re in good shape with the race setting. Obviously we’re not going to be challenging for sixth or seventh but I’d be happy with a top ten.”

250cc:

Yuki Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 8th – 1m 52.197s.
“This morning I was not satisfied with the performance of my number one bike so I took my second bike out to try that one but without significant improvement. We worked on the chassis settings and electronics of my best bike ready for the qualifying session and we improved our overall performance. I have to thank my mechanics for their good work, they did a great job for me. I will start the race from the second row but I should be starting from the front row but during my fast qualifying lap I caught a group of slower riders and that cost me time. I’m ready for a fast race tomorrow. I have to get a fast start and stay close to Simoncelli as he has a very good rhythm.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 15th – 1m 53.356s.
“I like this track as I have raced here many times but today I could not get in a perfect lap in qualifying. But I am confident for the race tomorrow because everything is working well for me apart from a small problem with the front end turning in. It was worse yesterday and this morning but the team worked on the front suspension making a few minor changes and putting in stiffer springs, we will fine tune the front end in the warm up tomorrow. The engine feels strong and I know which tyres I will race with so if I make a good start I will have a chance of a good result tomorrow.”

125cc:

Cyril Carrillo, FFM Honda: 37th – 2m 03.426s.
“I find it very difficult to understand the bike. I’ll go as far as saying I don’t get it. I need to review everything and completely reassess myself. It’s the first time I ride on this track where it is hard to pick up tenth of seconds. There’s a lot of heavy braking at speed. Also I have pain in my right wrist, though I don’t know what causes it as I never injured it.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
3 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
8 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
9 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
10 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
11 John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
13 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
14 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
15 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
16 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
17 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
18 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
 
250cc
1 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
2 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
3 Alex DEBON (Lotus Aprilia)
4 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
6 Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
7 Julian SIMON (Repsol KTM 250cc)
8 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
9 Aleix ESPARGARO (Lotus Aprilia)
10 Roberto LOCATELLI (Metis Gilera)
14 Shoya TOMIZAWA (Project U FRS)
15 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
17 Takumi TAKAHASHI (Burning Blood Racing Team)
 
125cc
1 Mike DI MEGLIO (Ajo Motorsport)
2 Stefan BRADL (Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing)
3 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
4 Sandro CORTESE (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
5 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar Team)
6 Scott REDDING (Blusens Aprilia Junior)
7 Dominique AEGERTER (Ajo Motorsport)
8 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Derbi)
9 Andrea IANNONE (I.C. Team)
10 Sergio GADEA (Bancaja Aspar Team)
 
   


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