MotoGPAragonSeptember 17, 2011
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Grand Prix of Aragon Qualifying

Honda Men Stoner & Pedrosa Dominate Aragon Qualifying

Race Results >>

Team-mates Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) dominated qualifying for tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix, taking the first two spots on the grid at this hillside venue near Alcaniz in northeast Spain. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) will start the race from the second row, making it four Honda RC212Vs in the top six.

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team) Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Stoner led most of qualifying, having already topped the previous two practice sessions. MotoGP qualifying is usually preceded by three free practice outings, but yesterday afternoon’s session had to be cancelled due to a power cut at the circuit. This morning’s session was extended from 45 to 75 minutes to make up for the loss of time on Friday.

Either way, it didn’t make much difference to Stoner who went on to score his ninth pole position of the year. The Australian’s crew adjusted his RCV’s chassis to get better transfer for the warmer qualifying session and that was enough for him to run four tenths ahead of the pack, until he upped his pace with quarter of an hour to go and increased his advantage over Pedrosa to nine tenths. The next lap he was even faster, until he ran wide going up the hill, took to the tarmac runoff at high speed, finally toppling over in the gravel trap at considerably reduced velocity. Stoner was quickly back in the pits and out on his second bike for his final run, during which he established his best time on his penultimate lap. Stoner’s RCV was second quickest through the speed trap at the end of Aragon’s 0.968km (0.6 mile) back straight, at 320.3km/h (199.0mph).

Pedrosa – who had run a very close second fastest in free practice – built his speed throughout the qualifying hour, steadily working away at the setup of his RCV. He had several goes at taking pole from Stoner. During his final run he reduced the gap to three tenths and might have done even better on his last lap, but he ran wide and out of contention for pole. The Spaniard is now working with his crew to fix a few setup issues so he can improve his braking performance and hopefully race with Stoner.

Dovizioso was also in the battle for a front-row start, though he just missed out, ending the session fifth fastest behind Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo. He was just two tenths shy of making the front row. Like many riders Dovizioso is concerned about tyre wear over race distance because this anti-clockwise track and the high temperatures are giving the left side of the tyres a hard time.

Like Pedrosa, Simoncelli waited until later in the session before he showed his true colours. With eight minutes to go he moved into fifth position, then slipped one place in the final minutes as Lorenzo jumped into fourth spot. Simoncelli’s best lap was 0.156 seconds slower than Dovizioso’s, so it looks like the pair may be up for a repeat of their brilliant duel at Misano two weeks ago. And he might even have been faster this afternoon if he hadn’t been slowed by traffic during one of his best laps.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) achieved his best qualifying result of the year, going ninth quickest to make the third row for the first time in 2012. The former 250 World Champion is happy with the work done here, which has improved the overall balance of his RC212V.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) had another challenging qualifying session, ending up 17th, 2.6 seconds off pole. The Spaniard lacked corner-exit drive during qualifying and struggled to get enough laps out of the softer option tyres.

Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) continued his relentless progress in the Honda-powered Moto2 series, claiming his fifth pole position from the last six races. It was another impressive performance from the teenage rookie who finished the outing 0.684s ahead of Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2-Suter).

At one stage during qualifying Marquez had been more than nine tenths ahead of the pack, then Simon shrunk the gap in the final stages before tumbling in the final seconds of the session. Marquez attributed his impressive speed to new chassis parts – including a new swingarm - received from Suter Racing. Tomorrow Marquez will be out to score his seventh victory of the year. With five races to go he sits 23 points behind World Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex). Going into June’s Dutch TT, where he scored his second Moto2 win, Marquez had been 82 points behind Bradl.

Simon’s first front row since his comeback from a broken leg, sustained when he was knocked down by a rival at June’s Catalan GP, made it two Spaniards up front for the third race of the year on Spanish tarmac. Briton Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter) completed the front row, seven tenths down on Marquez’s best. It was Redding’s first top-three performance since his home race at Silverstone and followed a second-row start at Misano two weeks ago which he turned into a fifth-place result, his second fifth place in a row following a run of difficult races.

The times were typically close throughout the pack, with less than a second separating Redding from Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX-FTR) in 20th position. Row two is led Bradl, only his third time off the front row all year. Alongside the German are Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2-Motobi) and Aleix Espargaro (Pons HP40-Pons Kalex).

The third row consists of Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing-Suter) Aleix’s brother Pol Espargaro (HP Tuenti Speed Up-FTR) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter).

Tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix is the 14th round of the 18-race 2012 MotoGP season. After this event the GP circus leaves Europe for a series of ‘flyaway’ races, starting with the Japanese GP on October 2nd and then moving on to Australia and Malaysia. The season finale takes place at Valencia, Spain, on November 6.

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team) Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)


Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 48.451s
“It was a very eventful qualifying session for us! Everything has been going very well this weekend, we have a good feeling with the bike and I’m feeling great. At the end of the session we put on the soft tyre and on the first lap I was a little too cautious in T1 as I wasn’t sure if the tyres were warm enough, then I pushed on the second lap and I had a lot more grip than I expected so I went through the corner much faster and I wasn’t able to slow down, I pulled the bike up but it was difficult to reduce the speed and I ended up needing to lay the bike down to avoid the wall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to restart the bike which is a shame as I was happier on that one, but even on the second bike we were able to improve our time. Now we need to see what the weather brings for tomorrow but we’re feeling good and I hope for a good race.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC212V: 2nd – 1m 48.747s
“I’m happy with the first row. I pushed to the limit to get a good position and we achieved it, but to be honest we still need to tune the setup of the bike a little, especially at the front because I don’t feel as comfortable as I’d like to and I’m struggling a little under braking. For the race pace, Casey is quicker than us, he is riding very fast and smooth, so I guess he will set the pace tomorrow and we will need to stay close from the beginning of the race. I’m still not 100% sure about the tyre choice, the tyres are suffering a lot especially on the left side. In principal, the medium compound should be the right one for the distance, but we need to wait and see how the weather is. Let’s hope we can find something else on the setting tonight and have a good race in front of the Spanish fans.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 49.372s
“I’m quite satisfied with this qualifying session as we have a good race pace, but Casey is so strong and seems unbeatable. We will do our best to strengthen our position in the championship and we want to fight Dani’s comeback and gain some points on Lorenzo. During today’s qualifying I didn’t do a perfect fast lap, but starting from the second row is not so bad. We will continue working on the setup because the main issue remains rear tyre wear. The key point of the race will be managing the tyres because with these hot temperatures and this kind of asphalt, the tyres suffer a lot, I expect that we will all race with the hard option tyre. Concerning the race I aim to make a good start and maintain the contact with the front group.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th – 1m 49.528s
“I am sure I could have gone faster but on my best lap I was held up by Pedrosa, who had just come onto the track. It’s a shame, and then I wasn’t quite able to improve on my second soft tyre because of a couple of mistakes. The front two are a little way off at the moment but with a couple of small changes to the bike we can be fighting for third place. We have slightly improved the grip issues we encountered yesterday but I think this is a common problem from everybody. The thing that is holding us back the most at the moment is fuel consumption because of my size and we need to find something to reduce this problem for the race. I have faith in the guys and I am sure they will do a good job tomorrow.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 9th – 1m 49.813s
“I am happy with ninth place in qualifying because it represents our best grid position of the season. We improved the bike from this morning and had a good balance and feeling this afternoon. Obviously the race will be different to qualifying but I am confident it can be a good one for us. Now I just want to focus on the race and make the right choices together with the team, especially regarding the predicted lower track temperatures.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 17th – 1m 51.073s
“It’s been a very long day for everybody after yesterday’s session was cancelled and we have tried many things to adjust the bike. We started with front suspension options this morning and some front geometry changes, but in this afternoon’s qualifying session I was missing drive out of the corners. Then the soft tyre did not last long and after two laps it was dropping too quickly so I could not use the potential of the soft tyres. Despite some small improvements we could not close the gap to the top ten riders but I am still confident ahead of tomorrow. With some more changes in the warm-up session and a good start I could get a top ten result.”


Marc Marquez, Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter: pole position – 1m 53.296s
“Tomorrow I will do my best as always, but it will be difficult to keep the same pace as today. I have a really good feeling on the bike, so I have to say thank you to Suter who brought some new parts here. The new swingarm I am using makes things easier, especially turning. So far everything looks okay, but we will see how the grip feels in warm-up, because it looks like there’s some wind and weather coming. This is another home race for me, so for sure I feel a little more motivation than usual.”

Julian Simon, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2-Suter: 2nd – 1m 53.980s
“I’m very happy to be back on the front row after a tough few months. It’s a great feeling, though spoiled a little by my crash at the end of the session, which was quite a strange crash. We have a good setup here but I don’t think we quite have the pace of Marquez. I think a top-five result is possible tomorrow.”

Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter: 3rd – 1m 54.004s
“The last few races we’ve turned the tables – I feel much better on the bike now. The team has been working so hard all year and they’ve had nothing but trouble, but now we’ve finally got it together and we’re starting to get results. It was really hard to get to the front row today. I thought it wasn’t possible, but I shut my eyes, went for the lap and pulled it off. It will be a tough race because the pace is fast and because the track temperature keeps changing as the sun goes in and out.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Grand Prix of Aragon Qualifying

1 Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
4 Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
7 Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
8 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
9 Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
10 Randy DE PUNIET (Pramac Racing Team)
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
12 Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
13 Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
14 Hector BARBERA (Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP)
15 Colin EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
16 Loris CAPIROSSI (Pramac Racing Team)
17 Toni ELIAS (LCR Honda MotoGP)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2 Julian SIMON (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
3 Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4 Stefan BRADL (Viessmann Kiefer Racing)
5 Alex DE ANGELIS (JIR Moto2)
6 Aleix ESPARGARO (Pons HP 40)
7 Jules CLUZEL (NGM Forward Racing)
8 Pol ESPARGARO (HP Tuenti Speed Up)
9 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
10 Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
1 Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
2 Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
3 Nicolas TEROL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
4 Johann ZARCO (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
5 Danny KENT (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
6 Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
7 Sandro CORTESE (Intact-Racing Team Germany)
8 Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia Banca Civica)
9 Efren VAZQUEZ (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
10 Jonas FOLGER (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)

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