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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 02: Spain

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
April 28, 2012

Pedrosa on Front Row for Home Race

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will start his home grand prix from the second starting position after nearly taking pole in a session marked by constantly changing weather. Fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole with Ducati rider Nicky Hayden third.

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

The session began on a dry track under puffy white clouds. But the clouds darkened on the horizon as they moved east and threatened to turn the session into a wet one. A very light rain fell on parts of the track, but the rain dampened the riders’ enthusiasm for pushing as much as it did the track. And after some time, the clouds left and the battle for the pole began.

Pedrosa was part of the fight for the pole from the second half of the session, even after spots of rain were felt on pit lane. The rain came down strongly enough for race direction to display the wet track flag with about 28 minutes to go.

But before long the sun would re-appear and Pedrosa and Lorenzo would get into a thrilling speed battle. With 19 minutes remaining in the session, Lorenzo went to the top, then it went to Pedrosa. The lead would change six times, right up until the final 25 seconds when Lorenzo narrowly edged his fellow countryman.

Still, Pedrosa was happy to be on the front row for the seventh time, a record that includes a pair of MotoGP poles and one in the 250cc class.

Having ridden on virtually every surface from full wet to almost dry, Pedrosa felt he was well prepared for Sunday’s second round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) never felt comfortable pushing in the changing conditions and qualified fifth. Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow had crashed ahead of him in turn one, which the reigning world champion took as a cautionary tale. But he would later nearly fall himself, only saving a certain fall with an impressive shift in body position.

Stoner was on top with just over 21 minutes to run, but understood that the Spaniards were willing to ride more aggressively on a track that was never completely dry. It was his least successful qualifying effort since joining Honda and equaled his qualifying mark from Malaysia in 2010. The second row starting position was not ideal, but he does not believe he should be counted out just yet.

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) recovered from a crash in the wet morning session to qualify eighth. The Spaniard found an unknown vibration in the front end, which caused him to lose the front and crash. Bautista put that behind him in qualifying, while being careful to avoid the damp patches that caught a number of riders out. His strategy was to not take unnecessary risks, and starting from the middle of the third row was his reward.

In his second MotoGP race, reigning Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) qualified .103s behind Bautista after nearly becoming the victim of the wet final corner. Bradl said that small mistake was the difference between the second and third rows, though he could not be faulted in his first ride aboard a MotoGP machineon a track of non-uniform grip.

Through the first three wet sessions he had adapted well to the power of the LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V. The consistency he showed in all conditions gave him confidence of being competitive in the race, no matter the weather.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) qualified 15th in a difficult qualifying session in his second MotoGP race. With three wet sessions prior to qualifying, Pirro did not have any quality dry set-up time. That the track was never completely dry in qualifying did not help. A crash that forced him onto his backup bike, which did not generate the same feedback. The crash came early, so by the time he went back out it was in much better shape and the wet patches had significantly diminished.

Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) was grateful to take his first pole position of the season. Marquez pointed out that his vision problems had only been cured a month earlier, allowing him to take part in the test here at Jerez. From there he went to Qatar, where he won a thrilling race, then here, to one of his home tracks.

The name at the top of the time sheets changed constantly until the 27th minute of the session when Marquez took charge for good. After going to the top, he added two even faster laps to his chart to finish on the pole with a lap of 1m, 43.005s. The pole was his first of the season, to go with seven Moto2 poles last year.

Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex) scored his best ever qualifying position in only his second Moto2 race, and nearly on pole. The Japanese rider, who had been out of the World Championships since the end of the 2009 season, had never qualified better than seventh while campaigning a 125 in 2009. The second place was a boost for the team; in Qatar he had qualified ninth and finished 14th. Nakagami’s best lap time was only .080s slower than the best of Marquez.

Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) had his best Moto2 qualifying effort in third, improving by one spot on his fourth place in the Qatar season-opener.

Like all riders, Espargaro endured three wet sessions before qualifying, which was held on a dry track with damp patches. Those damp patches claimed more than their share of victims, and the Spaniard sensibly didn’t try to be a hero. Rather he focused on the race and the championship instead of one fast lap.

Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0-Suter-Honda) became the third youngest rider to take a pole position in only his second Moto3 race. The 16-year-old from Barcelona made a quantum leap from having qualified 13th in Qatar to take the pole position for Honda in what he said was “one of those crazy one-lap runs.” That was made necessary because he wasn’t sure whether to use rain tyres or slicks.

His veteran crew suggested slicks, which turned out to be the wise choice. Rins was able to lap the 4.423Km track in 1m, 57.07s, beating the second fastest rider by .012s.

Team-mate Miguel Oliveira was fast in the morning wet, though he found the mixed conditions in the afternoon difficult. Still, he qualified third fastest at the end of the front row and .468s off pole.

Like Rins, the Portuguese rider chose slick tyres to set his fast time and put him on the front row. His concern going forward was less about qualifying than the race. The weather forecast calls for rain, which he knows could create havoc among the very young riders of the introductory class.

Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology-Honda) was riding injured; he had previously done damage to his right foot and could not properly leverage his Honda NSF250R. But when he saw his partial lap times he decided to put the pain aside and race the clock. Had he not been slowed by another rider in the final segment, he might have finished further up the grid. Instead he ended with the fourth fastest time, a career best in qualifying, and right behind Rins for the run to the first turn.

Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP rider quotes

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 1m, 39.667s
“It's been a really good qualifying session. It was very difficult to know how much to push because there were some wet spots and it was easy to make mistakes. Also, after so many laps with wet tyres in the free practices, when you put on the slicks it's like another bike, but you have no time to waste to find a good lap time. So I'm quite impressed with the chrono and very happy to be on the front row. We've been riding well here in Jerez at the test and also during all the practice sessions this weekend, both in the dry and wet, but tomorrow we have to be ready for a tough race in any conditions and I want to have a good race here in front of my fans.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m, 40.577s
“Qualifying didn't go so well. Conditions have been terrible all weekend, from half dry tracks to fully wet, so we haven't really been able to get any form of setup on the bike. It's a little bit disappointing. We had hoped to be on the front row, but with conditions like this I wasn't really willing to push. There were a lot of people falling off and the wet patches that were there were incredibly slippery. With this said, there is still half a second that I am accountable for and can't blame the track; we're just a little bit off with our settings so we have some work to do tonight. We're not really sure what to expect until we see the weather tomorrow and this makes things pretty difficult.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 8th – 1m, 41.447s
“Today was another difficult day. This morning we worked on solving our issues from yesterday but only made slight improvements. Then when we were trying a new setting the bike was vibrating a lot into the first turn and I lost the front and crashed. We were able to use the slick tyre this afternoon even though there were still some damp patches out there with the threat of more rain. After my crash this morning I didn't want to risk more than necessary so a third row start isn't bad and if we get a good start we can be fighting for a good result. ”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 9th – 1m, 41.550s
“Well, I am a little bit unhappy because we had a very good session but I made a small mistake in the last corner in my last lap. That cost us half a second, which means one row, second row, I guess. In general it was a tricky qualifying because in the beginning we had a lot of wet patches, but every time we went out we improved our lap time as the track conditions was drying up. Actually we are doing well in the dry and in the wet too and I think we could have gone for the second row but it’s okay anyway.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th - 1m, 43.363s
“It was a shame about the crash because I had to use the second bike, which I didn't have a great feeling with. Luckily the track conditions had improved but my feeling still wasn't as good and I almost crashed again. I saved it but hurt my arm and that slowed me down too. It is frustrating because we have had three wet sessions this weekend and not been able to do the work on the bike that we had planned. The guys are working very hard though and that has allowed us to at least take a small step forward.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: Pole position – 1m, 43.005s
“One of the things that I learnt last year was that you have to approach things with calm in this category. This has been a very unique weekend so far, as it is always difficult in the rain and even more so when conditions change over the course of the day. On a wet track this morning I felt comfortable, which is an important sign for tomorrow as we have no idea what the weather is going to do. I took things calmly at the start of qualifying. On my second stint there was a high wind and a few bumps on the track, making the situation a delicate one, but we took an important pole position. The most important thing for tomorrow is that we keep focused and relaxed, because our motivation is at 100%.”
Takaaki Nakagami, Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex: 2nd, 1m, 43.085s.
“Yes, I’m really happy for the first row and I’m a little bit sad for being very close to pole position. But anyway, first time in first row. I think we are ready to fight with them, so we will see for tomorrow. We are ready to fight and also we have data, so we will see for tomorrow and I’m really happy for first row.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 3rd, 1m, 43.273s
“This is my best result in a Moto2 qualifying and it will be important to address the race from the front row. I am very happy because of my weekend has gone so far, as I have been very fast in all sessions, both in wet and dry. In qualifying we used the settings from the IRTA test, but after two days of wet it cost me a little to catch up. Gradually I have been improving and finally I have been fighting for pole. I've improved in a place on my qualifying in Qatar. The third session was was very complicated and if you made a mistake you’d fall. I believe we have very good pace and will face the race with great confidence, but making it clear that scoring points is more important than going crazy for the win.”

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0.0-Suter Honda: Pole position – 1m 57.507s
“It was one of those crazy one-lap runs, as I wasn’t sure which type of tyres to put on. However, my crew saw what the asphalt was like and what the conditions were doing, instructing me that it would be better to put on slicks. They got it right. I want to thank them and my sponsors for making all this possible. This is one of the tracks that I like the most, so tomorrow we will be going out to enjoy the race.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter-Honda: 3rd, 1m, 57.975s
“I felt alright over the course of the entire day. In the wet in the morning, we were amongst the fastest on track, but in the mixed afternoon conditions things became more complicated. In the end, we were able to complete a lap on slicks that took us up to third. The team did a great job to get us onto the front row. Wet races are usually very long and require much concentration, as you can’t afford to make the slightest mistake. We need to get a good start and keep our cool —above all on the opening laps.”
Alexis Masbou, Caretta Technology – Honda: 4th, 1m, 58.301s
“The strategy of the team was winning and when I saw the partial records, I forgot the broken foot to give more than I could. I was slowed down by another rider in T4 or I could have done better. However I'm happy to start in a good position to be a protagonist in the race.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Round 02: Spain
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
2Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
4Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
6Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
9Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
10Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
11Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
12Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
13Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
14Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
15Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
3Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
4Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
5Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
6Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)
7Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
8Mike DI MEGLIO (S/Master Speed Up)
9Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)
10Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
11Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
12Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
13Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
14Max NEUKIRCHNER (Kiefer Racing)
15Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0'0)
2Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
3Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0'0)
4Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)
5Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)
6 Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology)
7Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
8Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
9Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)
10Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
11Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
12Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)
13Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
14Adrian MARTIN (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
15Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

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