MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 18: Valencia GP > Qualifying
MotoGPValenciaOctober 25, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencia Grand Prix at Comunitat Valenciana Qualifying

Front Row Berths for Pacey Pedrosa and Hayden

Race Results >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) qualified second and third fastest behind pole-setter Casey Stoner (Ducati) in this final hour of MotoGP qualifying for the 2008 season. Rain threatened, never quite materialised, but forced riders into unplanned stops for qualifying tyres.

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


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Nicky dominated much of the session and topped the timesheets with 15 minutes left on the clock. But Stoner timed his charge well and after putting in a 1m 31.934s lap to head the grid, he improved to a 1m 31.502s time with five minutes to go. This lap was not bettered despite typically intense efforts from the Honda men.

Dani ended the session a mere 0.053 seconds off the Aussie’s time for his ninth front row start of the season. And his consistently quick times suggest that he will be well in contention in tomorrow’s race. Nicky too is only 0.2 seconds off the pole mark and he looks likely to be a major factor in his last race for Repsol Honda.

Hayden wasted little time in displacing early pace-setter Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V). The Japanese ace crashed later in the session ruining his hopes of a significant qualifying performance in his last ride for the Gresini Team. He ended the session 15th fastest.

Pedrosa took his time getting himself dialed-in, but when he did it was to haul himself from ninth to a provisional second with a 1m 34.195s lap after 15 minutes. Nakano still held a front row slot in third as droplets of rain began to fall and riders pitted to fit sticky qualifying tyres in case the weather worsened.

Ducati satellite rider Sylvain Guintoli snatched second during this unsettled period, but at the halfway point the order was Hayden, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) and Stoner on the front row. Dani lay sixth and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) headed row three as seventh quickest rider.

Nicky then dropped his time down to a 1m 32.468s lap before qualifying tyres appeared again for the final twenty minutes. Stoner then put his stamp on proceedings with a preliminary 1m 31.934s time and then one marginal improvement before culmination in a 1m 31.502s pole lap.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V), despite an early crash, was rarely out of the top ten throughout and his second row start from sixth on the grid is ample reward for his brave rides through the pain barrier while nursing an injured wrist. This is the Frenchman’s tenth top six start of the season.

Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) had been methodically getting to grips with things, albeit some way off the front row pace, but the Italian star consolidated ninth for a third row start within the final five minutes. He had run as high as sixth before the final fifteen minutes.

Dani, second fastest, said: “Finally, it looked like we might get a dry session this afternoon. The hour started dry but then it started raining again, which spoiled the work we had planned trying different race tyres. I wanted to continue working with race tyres, preparing for the race, but we made an early switch to qualifying tyres to make sure of a good grid position for tomorrow, in case it started raining more heavily. We were only able to try one race tyre this afternoon, so we will need a good warm-up and then we’ll need to think very carefully about which tyres we’ll run in the race.”

Nicky, on the front row for the third time in four races, said: “We were close but close don’t count, I guess! We shouldn’t be too bummed-out though, because we’re on the front row. It was pretty obvious that we really wanted to be on pole. We’ve been fastest all weekend, the bike is working good and the team did a great job when it started sprinkling, getting one bike ready with qualifiers early on. It was quite a tough session, going to qualifiers and then back to race tyres. I didn’t get the lap time I needed, so I’m a little frustrated because it would’ve been cool to give Michelin a pole position for their last MotoGP race.”

Sixth-placed De Puniet said: “It was a good last qualifying of the season but honestly I was expecting something better. Unfortunately I lost the front on my second run out after six laps but luckily I saved my wrist from further injury. After that we lost some track time but we fixed our tyre choice for the race and started to set good lap times on qualifiers. Starting from the second row is very important as nobody really knows the weather forecast for tomorrow.”

Dovi, ninth fastest, said: “Today was an unusual round of qualifying, when the rain began to fall. This upset the entire test programme with race tyres, and we immediately had to use qualifying rubber to avoid being near the back in case the bad weather worsened. In race configuration nobody has been able to do a complete job, and tomorrow if the weather remains stable, we’ll make the most of warm-up to define our technical choices. This morning we completed the work started yesterday, in wet conditions, and with the wet track I was able to get a good performance. We can’t make a prediction on how things will go tomorrow either, but in both cases we must make a good start.”

Nakano, 15th, said: “This was the final qualifying session of the season and I pushed as hard as I could. My pace at the start was really good but unfortunately on the second qualifying tyre I lost the front in turn four and crashed. Maybe the tyre wasn’t up to temperature. At that point I returned to the box as quick as I could and got back out on the second bike but I couldn’t make any significant improvement because of the traffic on the track. Obviously I’m disappointed because it’s a repeat of the situation in Malaysia last week, when everything was going well but messed up at the end.”

His team-mate De Angelis, 16th, said: “It has been a really difficult day for lots of reasons, from the weather to the bike setting. We went into qualifying without having ridden the bike in the dry and even though I went well at the start, running in the top six or seven, I wasn’t able to improve on a qualifying tyre. Anyway, on race tyres my pace isn’t bad and the obvious plan is to try to get a good start and make up some positions.”

250cc

Reigning World Champion Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) took pole with a last gasp lap of 1m 35.408s to rob Alex Debon (Aprilia) of what would have been his third pole of the year. Julian Simon (KTM) qualified third with Mika Kallio completing the front row (both KTM).

Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG RS250RW) was in rapid form again despite crashing twice in the tricky wet conditions yesterday. The tearaway Thai took seventh place on the grid for his second best qualifying ride of the year.
Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) qualified tenth.

Wilairot said: “I feel good, even though I crashed yesterday, twice - both high-sides. In the night I had some trouble with my back but it was OK this morning. The bike is fast and the settings really good, I know which tyres I will use so everything is almost perfect. Today I was 0.4 seconds faster here than I was last year, so I have to be very happy with my performance. The race will be hard and I know I need a good start to stay with the group. It’ll be tough because there are lots of Spanish riders in this race.”

Takahashi said: “I’m not happy with tenth, it doesn’t show our true potential here, or how hard we’re trying. I had the speed to run alone for a quick lap but there always seemed to be traffic. We didn’t get much dry set-up time but what we settled on for the wet is good. We’ll try some more changes in warm-up tomorrow and try to earn ourselves a bottle of champagne in the race.”

125cc

Gabor Talmacsi secured his fourth pole of the season with a 1m 41.451s lap and the Hungarian former World Champion will start his final 125cc race from the top slot. His team-mate Sergio Gadea qualified second fastest with Simone Corsi third quickest and Nico Terol completing the front row (all Aprilia).

British star Bradley Smith (Aprilia) heads the second row and this season’s World Champion Mike Di Meglio (Derbi) also starts from row two as seventh fastest man. Cyril Carrillo (FFM Racing Honda RS125R), injured in Malaysia, did not start. He was replaced by the previous FFM incumbent Louis Rossi who qualified 35.th

He said: “I haven’t been on a racetrack for two months and it’s difficult to catch the pace again. But it’s great to be back on the Grand Prix scene and I’m trying my best. I’m four seconds slower than pole position, which is not so bad. Of course, I wish I could have qualified in a better position but we will keep working tomorrow in the warm-up and hopefully things will work out for the race.

Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP) AndreaDovizioso (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)


Nikcy HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd - 1m 31.555s.
“Finally, it looked like we might get a dry session this afternoon. The hour started dry but then it started raining again, which spoiled the work we had planned focusing on trying different race tyres. I wanted to continue working with race tyres, preparing for the race, but we made an early switch to qualifying tyres to make sure of a good grid position for tomorrow, in case it started raining more heavily. Finally we made the front row, quite close to pole, and the front row is particularly important at this track. We were only able to try one race tyre this afternoon, so we will need a good warm-up and then we will need to think very carefully about which tyres we will run in the race. I hope we can have a dry race tomorrow, not only for us but also for all the tens of thousands of fans who always pack the grandstands here.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd - 1m 31.703s.
“We were close but close don’t count, I guess! We shouldn’t be too bummed out though, because we’re on the front row. It was pretty obvious that we really wanted to be on pole, we’ve been fastest all weekend, the bike is working good and the team did a great job when it started sprinkling, getting one bike ready with qualifiers early on. It was quite a tough session, going to qualifiers and then back to race tyres. On my last qualifying run I did a 32.0 on my first lap and I knew it was going to be tough to get into 31s. I really pushed hard, really hung it out, but the bike was just moving around too much to be fast. The best I could do was a 31.7. I definitely pushed as hard as I could, though maybe I should’ve got the tyre a bit hotter on the out lap. It’s always a compromise - sometimes you get it too hot and sometimes you don’t get it hot enough. I didn’t get the lap time I needed, so I’m a little frustrated because it would’ve been cool to give Michelin a pole position for their last MotoGP race. But we’ve got a good bike and a good set-up, so we’ll just try to go for it in the race. I didn’t get to do many laps on race tyres, what with the drizzle and the qualifiers. I’ve only tried a couple of race tyres, so we’ll definitely talk to Michelin and use every bit of morning warm-up to get the information we need to make our tyre choice.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 6th - 1m 32.572s.
“It was a good last qualifying of the season but honestly I was expecting something better. Unfortunately I lost the front on my second run out after six laps but luckily I saved my wrist from the incident. After that we lost some track time but we fixed our tyres choice for the race and started to set good lap times on qualifiers. Starting from the second row is very important as nobody really knows the weather forecast for tomorrow. I feel a bit worried about my wrist but will do the best to get the best result so far.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 9th - 1m 32.734s.
“Today was an unusual round of qualifying, disturbed when the rain began to fall after just before it was half complete. This upset the entire test program with race tyres, and we immediately had to use qualifying rubber to avoid being near the back in case the bad weather worsened. In race configuration nobody has been able to do a complete job, and tomorrow if the weather were to maintain stable, we must make the most of warm-up to define our technical choices. This morning we completed the work started yesterday, in wet conditions, and with the wet track I was able to get a good performance. We cannot make a prediction on how things will go if it rains tomorrow either, but in both cases we must make a good start. If we start well, we could make a good race tomorrow.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 15th - 1m 33.767s.
“This was the final qualifying session of the season and I pushed as hard as I could. My pace at the start was really good but unfortunately on the second qualifying tyre I lost the front in turn four and crashed. Maybe the tyre wasn’t up to temperature. At that point I returned to the box as quick as I could and got back out on the second bike but I couldn’t make any significant improvement because of the traffic on the track. Obviously I am disappointed because it’s a repeat of the situation in Malaysia last week, when everything was going well but messed up at the end. Anyway, the race is tomorrow and I’ll be trying to repeat my performance from Brno and Sepang, with another good result.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 16th - 1m 33.848s.
“It has been a really difficult day for lots of reasons, from the weather to the bike setting. We went into qualifying without having ridden the bike in the dry and even though I went well at the start, running in the top six or seven, I wasn’t able to improve on a qualifying tyre. Anyway, on race tyres my pace isn’t bad and the obvious plan is to try to get a good start and make up some positions.”

250cc:

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 7th - 1m 36.568s
“I feel good, even though I crashed yesterday, twice - both hi-side crashes. In the night I had some trouble with my back during the night but it was OK this morning. The bike is fast and the settings really good, I know which tyres I will use so everything is almost perfect. Today I was 0.4 seconds faster than I was last year and this track and it was also in worse condition so I have to be very happy with my performance. The race will be hard and I know I need a good start to stay with the group, it will be tough because there are many Spanish riders in the race.”

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 10th - 1m 36.654s.
“I'm not happy with today’s result, because tenth position is not one that represents our effort and speed. I could have done better, but when I was on track heading for a quick time I encountered other riders that got in my way. I wanted to run alone, because I had a speed margin over many other riders - even though we have not had much time to develop the bike in dry conditions. In wet configuration we managed to find a good setting for the suspension but the track when it is wet is very slippery. Tomorrow in the warm-up we will have a little time to make some final adjustments, and I think we could have a good race, as the leaders aren’t very far away. Valencia is a track that I like and I would make a nice gift to the team, maybe another bottle of champagne!”

125cc:

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 35th - 1m 45.495s.
“I haven’t been on a racetrack since two months and it’s kind of difficult to catch the pace again. But it’s a great feeling to be back on the Grand Prix scene and I'm trying my best. I’m four seconds slower than pole position, which is not so bad. It rained yesterday for the first day of practice. I crashed in the first session soon after my warm-up lap, and in the afternoon I was able to follow riders such as Rabat and Folger. It was interesting and I learned quite a few things. But the track was slippery and I crashed, like many other riders. Fortunately it happened in the closing stages of the session, in my last lap. Today the rain ceased but this morning some lines were still damp. For the last qualifying session this afternoon the track was almost dry except for a few damp patches and I was careful. Of course, I wish I could have qualified in a better position but we will keep working tomorrow in the warm-up and hopefully things will work out for the race.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencia Grand Prix at Comunitat Valenciana Qualifying

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

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