MotoGPFranceMay 22, 2010
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
French Grand Prix at Le Mans Qualifying

Honda's Pedrosa All Set To Fight For Victory Again

Race Results >>

Two weeks after he scored a brilliant pole position at Jerez, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) missed out on scoring a second consecutive pole by just 0.165 seconds at Le Mans this afternoon. The Spaniard was one of the main players during the hectic final stages of qualifying which saw pole position swap hands three times in the last three minutes.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda)


Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)


Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda)



Pedrosa’s final run put him ahead with three minutes to go, only for Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to better his time by the tiniest of margins. However, Pedrosa, who started from pole here last year, is staying focused on the race, working with his engineers to squeeze some more performance out of his RCV which he will evaluate in morning warm-up.

Local hero Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) had another superb qualifying to score his third successive second-row start. Once again the Frenchman was the highest-placed privateer rider in MotoGP, a credit to his small but perfectly formed team, run by former 125 GP winner Lucio Cecchinello. Yesterday de Puniet had some issues with braking stability and direction changing, but his engineers worked well to fine tune his RCV for today.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) missed the second row by just one tenth of a second, lacking the front-end feel he needed to push for a better starting position. The Italian, who is using a revised chassis here, will also work to make things better in tomorrow morning’s session.

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) ended qualifying 11th fastest, struggling to reconnect with the pace that he had seemed to have found at Jerez. The Italian has reverted to Showa suspension, following the post-race tests at Jerez, preferring the feeling he gets from the Showa kit.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) had his best MotoGP qualifying so far, securing 13th place on the grid. The rookie started his first two MotoGP races from 15th and 16th on the grid, so it seems he is starting to feel more at home aboard his RCV.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) has had a challenging two days of practice for his third MotoGP race, ending up 14th on the grid. The Japanese had a minor operation on his left arm to relieve some stiffness issues. He had a difficult Friday session, ending the day 16th, but his crew worked hard to improve his feeling for his RCV and his lap times improved by almost two seconds.

There were several fallers in this morning’s session. Ben Spies (Yamaha), Mika Kallio (Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) all fell on left-handers – Le Mans has only four left turns - which can make maintaining optimum temperature on the left side of the tyres tricky in cool conditions. Bautista, who broke a collarbone in a motocross accident a week ago, immediately withdrew from the meeting.

Kenny Noyes (Jack & Jones by A.Banderas, PromoHarris) topped a typically frantic Moto2 qualifying session which made history as the closest in Grand Prix history; the fastest 27 riders covered by a mere 0.969 seconds.

GP rookie Noyes, who battled for the win at Jerez two weeks ago, had to work hard for his pole. The American went fastest midway through the hour-long outing, but was then shuttled down the order until he came back in fine style during the last few minutes. He ended the session just 0.031 ahead of Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing, Tech 3), who was in turn 0.055 seconds ahead of Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello-Ajo, FTR). Last man on the front row was home favourite and Qatar podium finisher Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter).

Jerez winner Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) had a difficult afternoon, losing his rhythm when he fell at the final turn. The Spaniard was able to continue riding, but only had the pace to make it onto row two. Qatar winner and points leader Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) had an even tougher time, qualifying 15th, albeit only half a second off pole.

Continued fine weather is forecast for tomorrow’s racing. If all three races are run in the dry it will be the first time in four years that rain hasn’t affected the race day action at Le Mans.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP)


Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda)


Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP)


MotoGP:

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V), third at 1m 33.573s,
"At the end of the session we could put in a good final lap which has put us on the front row, and this is very important because the lap times are very close here. For the race we need to find some tenths of a second per lap in order to be able to keep a high pace, and at this track you have to be very focused because the race is long and it’s really important to be consistent and not to make any mistakes. Anyway, I think we are in a good position. Now we will sit down with the team and work on the improvements to up our race pace. We’ve had good weather so far this weekend and it looks like it will continue tomorrow, so we’ve been lucky this time. From the front row I hope to make a good start and give myself the best chance in the race."


Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V), sixth at 1m 34.074s,
"I am very happy about this result as yesterday’s session was very tough for us.  Yesterday after the practice when I said I was confident for today it was not right. I felt very frustrated because I could not lap as I like and the bike was very nervous. But the guys made an excellent job and this morning I immediately felt more comfortable. Then we took a step forward in the qualifying, obtaining the second row once again for the third time this year. Everybody in the team is very pleased with this result and I want to thank them for their efforts. This race is really special for me and I hope to finish well in front of my fans, though I am a bit worried about the start as it is very difficult to overtake on this track."


Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V), seventh at 1m 34.204s,
"I cannot be happy to start from the third row because this has the potential to make the race more complicated. So it will it be important to make a good start and stay with the front group – that’s the plan now. Our race pace is not so bad but we need to improve it a little more. Compared to this morning the feeling with the front was not quite as good and I think this was because of some set-up changes that we made, and also the gap to the front riders was a bit bigger this afternoon. Anyway, we have some ideas of what we can improve and I’m ready to give it my best in the race."


Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V), 11th at 1m 34.523s,
"It was a difficult session and the things that we found that worked at Jerez didn’t really happen today. Unfortunately we are down on corner speed because I am struggling to get off the brakes on the way into the turns. We struggled with this yesterday and even though I thought we’d found the solution we had similar problems again today. My riding style relies on corner speed so we need to work on this. Tomorrow will be a tough race and we may have to be on the defensive."


Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V), 13th at 1m 34.942,
"I’m pretty happy, to be honest, because we did a good job this morning and I thought I could have done a better time on the softer tyre. Unfortunately a couple of problems emerged with the rear end and I wasn’t able to make the improvement that could have lifted me a few places on the grid. Having said that, I am still confident because my race pace is decent; not quick enough to go with the front guys, but certainly to improve on my position on the grid. I think I can improve on my eleventh place finish from Jerez, and with a bit of luck maybe even challenge for the top eight. That would be great!"


Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) , 14th at 1m 34.979s,
"The feeling with my bike improved a bit today and I could push a little harder at the end of the session, but we still have problems in the tight corners and we really need to find a solution for that. I think we still have the possibility to work on the bike and I will also try to find a better riding line. But it could be difficult tomorrow morning as it always is colder in the mornings here and this won’t help to find the right set-up for the race if the temperature rises again in the afternoon. We will do our best to find the best solution for that."


Moto2:

Kenny Noyes (Jack & Jones by A.Banderas, PromoHarris), pole position at 1m 39.234s,
"It’s been an unbelievable start to the season, and preseason went well too. We had a good race at Jerez, but this weekend we’re at a track we didn’t know, so we knew it was going to be difficult and we certainly didn’t expect this. Yesterday I was down in 28th, but the team worked hard and gave me what I needed. Everything is so tight in Moto2 – it’s easy to be on pole or tenth."


Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing, Tech 3), second at 1m 39.265s,
"I’m very happy. This Grand Prix is my team’s home race, so I want to make a good race for them. We all work very hard with our new bike and everyone in the team works so well together. Tomorrow I will try my best."


Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello-Ajo, FTR), third at 1m 39.320s,
"So far we are having a good weekend. We have had a few problems but the team has worked well and we were able to qualify on the front row. Tomorrow we need to get a good start and then think about fighting for the victory."


Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter), fourth at 1m 39.334s,
"We struggled here last year, so I am very happy with this weekend so far. I am fast and consistent, so I hope that a win is possible for all the French fans. I thought we might get pole, but we didn’t quite. Anyway, the important thing in Moto2 is to qualify at the front and we made that. The start and first corners will be very tough."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 02
Spain Grand Prix at Jerez Qualifying
line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
3 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
5Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
8 Colin EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
10 Aleix ESPARGARO (Pramac Racing Team)
11 Marco MELANDRI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
12 Ben SPIES (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
13 Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
14 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Interwetten Honda MotoGP)
15 Hector BARBERA (Paginas Amarillas Aspar)
16 Mika KALLIO (Pramac Racing Team)
- Alvaro BAUTISTA (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
Moto2
1 Kenny NOYES (Jack & Jones by A.Banderas)
2 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Tech 3 Racing)
3 Alex DEBON (Aeroport de Castello - Ajo)
4Jules CLUZEL (Forward Racing)
5 Fonsi NIETO (Holiday Gym G22)
6 Sergio GADEA (Tenerife 40 Pons)
7 Toni ELIAS (Gresini Racing Moto2)
8 Simone CORSI (JIR Moto2)
9 Julian SIMON (Mapfre Aspar Team)
10 Roberto ROLFO (Italtrans S.T.R.)
125cc
1 Nicolas TEROL (Bancaja Aspar Team)
2Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti Racing)
3 Sandro CORTESE (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo)
4 Marc MARQUEZ (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport)
5 Bradley SMITH (Bancaja Aspar Team)
6 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Racing Team Germany)
7 Randy KRUMMENACHER (Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP)
8Danny WEBB (Andalucia Cajasol)
9 Johann ZARCO (WTR San Marino Team)
10 Esteve RABAT (Blusens-STX)

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