MotoGPItalyJuly 2, 2011
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
Italian Grand Prix at Mugello Qualifying

Stoner Gets Fifth Pole in Mugello

Race Results >>

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner sped to his fifth pole position of the season by running the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle in a rain-shortened qualifying session at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany. Ben Spies (Yamaha) was second and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) third and on the front row for the fifth race in succession.

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team) Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

The one hour session began with some urgency under a very light rain on the recently repaved 5.245k track north of Florence. Honda riders started strongly, taking over the top spot from the seven minute mark and sharing it among themselves to the end of the hour. Fastest rider honours went from Stoner to Simoncelli to Dovizioso in the span of 90 seconds just into the seventh minute, and before the ninth minute had elapsed Simoncelli was on top, beginning a battle with Stoner. The Australian would overtake Simoncelli with his eighth lap, just prior to 19 minutes elapsed, and strengthen it on his ninth, which turned out to be the fastest lap of the Mugello Circuit.

Stoner lapped the undulating track in 1m, 48.034s, which was under the mark of 1m, 48.080 sec. set by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in Saturday morning practice. Stoner would certainly have dipped into the 1m, 47s had the rain not begun to fall harder with 27 minutes to run. That sent everyone headed straight to the pits, where most watched the rest of the hour pass. A few riders went out at the end of the hour, but to no effect.

The pole was the 31st of Stoner’s career and it came at a track where he got his first pole in the 125cc class in 2003. It was also his 27th premier class pole.

Simoncelli enjoyed strong home country support, with the enthusiasm of the rain-dampened crowd filling the valley in which the track is situated. Simoncelli was either on pole or second fastest at the previous five races. His fastest lap of 1m, 48.485s was slower than Spies’ best by a mere .006s.

Just behind Simoncelli on the row two pole was Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V). Dovi hails from the town of Forli, about 90kms north of Mugello, and was hopeful of joining team-mate Stoner on the front row for his home grand prix. But his consolation was that he was the third Honda in the top four.

Dani Pedrosa, the third member of the Repsol Honda team, made his return to racing after a forced lay-off due to injuries. Pedrosa broke his right collarbone after getting hit by another rider in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans six weeks earlier. Two surgeries followed, with the Spaniard not riding at all until Friday morning practice. Pedrosa said the pain increased as the day went on, but that he believed he would be close to full fitness in a race or two. He finished with the eighth fastest time.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) got quicker as the session progressed, finishing with a best time of 1m, 50.156s on the last of his 15 laps. But the Japanese star said he was still bothered by injuries sustained in a practice crash last week’s Dutch TT in Assen. And he was also denied valuable set-up time after spending last week on the Repsol Honda RC212V of Dani Pedrosa.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP) had a difficult session with the mixed weather conditions. The conditions made it impossible for Elias to run through his testing program, which meant he wasn’t able to get the most out of his RC212V. He rode his standard bike when the tarmac was dry, but when he came in to switch to his second Honda RC212V it began to rain and he wasn’t able to explore all of his race options.

While the MotoGP session was cut short by rain, the Moto2 session was run on a completely wet track with early rain that stopped prior to the halfway mark. As the track dried out, the lap times fell.

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol, Suter rider Marc Marquez stole the pole from JiR Moto2, Motobi rider Alex de Angelis with his final lap.

De Angelis had been surprisingly ascendant in the waning minutes, putting himself in the mix of the front row with his two final laps. De Angelis had the provisional pole when Marquez blazed to his fast lap of 2m, 5.312s on the last of his 19 laps.

De Angelis finished second at a gap of .585s, with Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing, Tech 3) earning his first Moto2 front row start in third.

Xavi Simeon (Tech 3 B, Tech 3) snuck onto the front row with the final of his 16 laps.

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team) Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position - 1m, 48.034s
“After the two sessions yesterday and also in FP3 this morning, we weren't too happy with the set-up we had, so we were looking to utilise all of this afternoon's session. However, we made some changes to my second bike, which I made my fastest lap on, and we've come out with a fantastic bike. I'm really happy to get pole here, especially on a used tyre. The start of qualifying didn't look too good, there was some rain and it was difficult to know how much to push, so we went with soft tyres on front and rear to try and get a good lap time before the rain arrived. Once I was on track I realised the rain hadn't affected conditions so much, so I came back in and made a change on the second bike and went back out with a hard front which gave us a little more stability and we managed to go a lot faster. The way the surface is working and everything in general is perfect, even with difficult conditions, we made the right choices at the right time.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 3rd - 1m, 48.485s
“I am on the front row and I am happy with that. Maybe I could have made a challenge for pole position, but it had started to rain and I preferred to back off. I was actually improving my lap time about halfway through the session when I saw a few drops on my visor and with a lap time already in the bank I decided not to risk it. It was a tough session because you had to trust the grip even though there was water on your visor. Everything is pretty much sorted with the bike, my pace is good and tomorrow I will try to do the best I can. I hope we have a dry race and not conditions like today. I want to stay calm because everything is in place for us to do well so I just need to pay attention at critical points. They say it's hard to sleep here at Mugello, but I like the atmosphere and to be honest it actually helps me sleep, even though I would really like to be out there with the fans.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 4th - 1m, 48.694s
“I’m fairly satisfied with fourth position after the rain created strange track conditions, and I'm happy with our overall pace. Starting from the second row is fine on this track as there is a long straight before turn one. We made some modifications to improve my feeling with the front of the bike and, as far as I could tell, they were positive. I wanted to do some laps with hard tyres in preparation for the race, as on this track the tyre drops quite quickly, but it was not possible. The race will be long and physically demanding and it won’t be easy to maintain the rhythm for all 23 laps, but we are ready for this challenge and look forward to fighting for a good result. I’m confident tomorrow the Italian riders will put on a good show for the public here in Mugello.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 8th - 1m, 49.398s
“I was pretty lucky because the session was only 30 minutes old when the rain arrived and this is good for my injury. I made a few nice laps at the beginning of the session and I'm impressed with my lap time; eighth place on the grid is very good given my physical condition. I know that in the race it will be hard but I will try my best. I'll try the maximum during the 23 laps, 100% in my situation and we will see how much I can achieve. This morning I felt better because I had a good rest last night, but for sure lap by lap the shoulder is getting more and more sore and this afternoon it's been harder. I want to save energy during the warm up tomorrow morning to try to give the rest in the race.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 13th - 1m, 50.156s
“It was a tricky session because of the conditions and unfortunately I wasn't able to find the right feeling with the bike, so hopefully we can do that in the morning and gain the confidence to push in the dry conditions. My physical condition is also a bit of a problem because I am still not fully recovered from the crash at Assen.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 16th - 1m, 50.742s
“I am not satisfied and this weather makes me nervous. I know it’s the same situation for everybody, but I had some things to adjust on the bike and could not test anything. In the first part of the qualifying when the asphalt was still dry I rode the standard bike I lapped this morning. Then I came in to make a couple of changes on the other bike, but suddenly it started to rain and I could not complete my set-up plan. I hope we can fix the bike in tomorrow’s warm up.”


Marc Marquez, Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter: pole position, 2m, 5.312s
“My confidence for tomorrow is good, because in the dry (morning) condition we find a good set-up and it’s quite easy to keep the time, like 1m, 44s, 1m, 43s. But more or less that practice, that qualifying was so difficult because the track was getting dry and I was sliding quite a lot. But in the end this pole position is important. But it’s important for me tomorrow to start on the first row, as it is the most important thing in this category, and then we will see. Tomorrow should be dry and just I want to concentrate on my way and on my work and for sure I think we can do a nice race.”

Alex de Angelis, JiR Moto2, Motobi - 2nd, 2m, 5.897s
“Finally the first row; I’m very happy about. It’s very important in this class. It’s very, very difficult to start in the first or second row. And with this condition it was also difficult because we haven’t tried with the wet condition in Mugello, so I’m very happy. The team works very well. The bike is not so bad, especially for the race, because my tyre is very, very constant. Of course I prefer to ride in the wet, but we are ready for all the possibilities.”

Bradley Smith, Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 - 3rd, 2m, 6.617s
“Obviously we have a great feeling for the wet; being brought up in the UK definitely helps. We have to ride in these conditions a lot. But definitely difficult conditions. As it started to dry it went very greasy and then all of a sudden the last three laps the grip came again and Andrea (Iannone) and a couple of other guys got behind me, I think (Thomas) Luthi was behind me. I just didn’t want to give them the tow on the last lap, so I rolled off. And that was almost the biggest mistake, because, yeah, the guys still had two laps on me, but obviously I’m happy. We have a few problems that we need to address, just because we’re having the same problems in the rain as in the dry. So it means it’s a valid problem. But to put it on the front row, at a track that I love and for the Tech 3 team, it’s a good result and looking forward to starting the race tomorrow.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
Italian Grand Prix at Mugello Qualifying
1 Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
6 Colin EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
10 Hector BARBERA (Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP)
11 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
12 Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
13 Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
14 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
15 Randy DE PUNIET (Pramac Racing Team)
16 Toni ELIAS (LCR Honda MotoGP)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2 Alex DE ANGELIS (JIR Moto2)
3 Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
4 Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 B)
5 Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing)
6 Pol ESPARGARO (HP Tuenti Speed Up)
7 Stefan BRADL (Viessmann Kiefer Racing)
8 Mattia PASINI (Ioda Racing Project)
9 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
10 Anthony WEST (MZ Racing Team)
1 Johann ZARCO (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
2 Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
3 Sergio GADEA (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
4 Efren VAZQUEZ (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
5 Nicolas TEROL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
6 Sandro CORTESE (Intact-Racing Team Germany)
7 Maverick VINALES (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
8 Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
9 Adrian MARTIN (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
10 Louis ROSSI (Matteoni Racing)

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