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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 03: Portugal

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
May 5, 2012

Stoner & Pedrosa Score Honda One-Two at Estoril

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored a brilliant Honda one-two in this afternoon's qualifying session for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) will start the race from the second row of the grid after recording the sixth fastest time in the hour-long session.

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

Conditions here have been typically changeable with strong winds gusting off the Atlantic and all sessions have been affected by a track that has refused to completely dry following yesterday's early morning rain. Even during the first few minutes of qualifying a few spots of rain began to fall, adding some extra tension to proceedings.

Following a promising FP3 this morning Stoner and his crew tried some further adjustments to his RC213V, but the changes made the bike slightly worse, delivering more rear grip, but at the expense of turning performance. Stoner has also been struck by a nasty cold and is on antibiotics.

Nonetheless the reigning World Champion rallied himself for the final ten minutes when the track was reopened following a brief stoppage due to a crash involving Colin Edwards (Suter BMW) and Randy de Puniet (Aprilia). Edwards suffered a fractured collarbone in the accident.

On his first flying lap out of the pits the Australian moved ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who had dominated the early stages of the session. But that wasn't enough to give him his first pole position of the year. Moments later Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) bettered Stoner and he had to dig deeper to produce another faster lap that put him back on top.

At the same time last year's Estoril winner Pedrosa was giving it all on his final run, the Spaniard crossing the line just 0.013s behind his team-mate. Pedrosa admitted that he had been concerned earlier in the session when he was saw the rain arrived while sat in the pits having some machine issues fixed. Luckily for him conditions stayed fine and he was able to secure his second consecutive start from second on the grid. Pedrosa believes he might even have made pole if he had encountered less traffic during his final attack.

Bautista - preparing for his third race with Honda - scored his best grid position so far in sixth place, 0.729s behind Stoner. The Spaniard's impressive pace proved once again that he is feeling more and more at home on his RC213V. His previous best qualifying performance on the bike was eighth at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

The complex, bumpy and narrow Estoril circuit is always a special challenge, especially for MotoGP rookies like Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V). In fact the reigning Moto2 World Champion was making a typically professional job of his first weekend here on a MotoGP bike, ending free practice in tenth and hoping to improve further in qualifying. Unluckily, he was on his fastest lap when the red flags were shown following the Edwards/de Puniet crash. Bradl believes he would have been seventh fastest if he had been able to complete that lap.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was in the thick of the CRT action, putting his Fireblade-powered machine 16th on the grid. Pirro did not go quite as quick as he had hoped but he is still the fourth fastest CRT bike on the grid.

In the frantic Moto2 class Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) scored his second pole position in a row, just 0.120s ahead of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter). World Championship leader Marquez dominated the session, but was never more than a fraction ahead of the rest of the pack.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) also spent much of the 45 minutes in the frame for a front-row start until he got demoted to the second row during the final few minutes. But the Briton came back strong on his final lap to clock the third fastest lap, just 0.224s behind Luthi.

The lap times were typically close in the Honda CBR600-powered class with the top 15 riders separated by a mere 0.907s. The man in 15th spot is none other than reigning 125 World Champion Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team - Suter) who is gradually getting to grips with the very different demands of the Moto2 category.

Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 - Motobi) was in the running for the front row until he had problems in the final few minutes. He ended up fourth to lead row two, just ahead of Jerez winner Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) and another former Moto2 winner Andrea Iannone (Speed Master - Speed Up).

Two Honda riders will start tomorrow's Moto3 race from the front row of the grid. Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia - FTR Honda) ended this afternoon's qualifying session second fastest, three tenths behind pole-man Sandro Cortese (KTM) and four tenths in front of Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 - Suter Honda).

Vinales, currently second in the points chase, was happy with his progress in practice and qualifying and is confident that he will be in the hunt for victory tomorrow.

Local hero Oliveira joined the battle for pole position, spending some time at the front of the pack, but slipped back to third in the closing stages of the session.

Sixteen-year-old rookie sensation Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI - FTR- Honda) , who won his first Grand Prix at Jerez last weekend and now leads the World Championship, was sixth fastest today, almost exactly a second off pole.

Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse - FTR Honda) will start the race from the third row of the grid after recording ninth fastest time.

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

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position - 1m 37.188s
“In general it's been a good day for us and I'm really happy to get pole. FP3 was positive and we made progress on the bike, we had the bike turning well with good front feeling. Unfortunately in qualifying we tried to improve it further, but managed to lose the good points! We did find a little better feeling in the rear, but we couldn't get the bike to turn and do what we wanted it to. We didn't really feel we had the pace to be on pole today, but after the red flag came out with 10 minutes remaining we were able to get out there and put together a good enough lap to take pole. We've been pretty fast in every session and our race pace gives us confidence but we'll have to have a think about which set-up direction we go for in warm-up and hope this is the best for the race. I was sorry to see Colin has broken his collar bone again and I send him by best wishes.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd - 1m 37.201s
“I think we did a good job in qualifying and to be on the front row here after all the issues we had is a great thing. I couldn't put too many good laps together because I had some problems on the bike, first with the brakes, then with the electronics and by the end I was feeling good, but we had to stop again due to the red flag. I honestly think that in the last minutes of the session I could have taken the pole, but there was a lot of traffic and I missed it by just 0.013. The race will be very tough tomorrow because the track conditions are poor, the grip is low and it makes the tyres spin a lot. We will try to set up our bike a little better for tomorrow to do our best in the race."
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th - 1m 37.917s
“We did a good job today. This morning we completed race distance on the hard tyre and it was a positive session. Everything went according to plan in the afternoon too, but on the last soft tyre we ran into a lot of traffic on track and when I tried to push on the very last lap I came up behind Spies in the first turn. It is a dangerous thing to do and I think it is up to all us riders to make sure that when we slow down we move aside and make way for the guys coming behind us. Anyway, a second row start is good for us having qualified on the fourth row in Qatar and the third row at Jerez. Tomorrow we need to make a good start and if we can stay with the guys at the front over the opening laps we can look forward to a good race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 11th - 1m 38.265s
“We were unlucky today - without the red flag we could have been seventh on the grid. I am a bit disappointed because we were doing a good job improving the bike compared to yesterday when we were far from the top. Today we were just one second from the top but during my quickest lap I saw the red flag in the last corner. Starting from 11th spot will be more complicated in the beginning of the race, but I think we made a good job today and I was capable adapting my riding style to this track.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 16th - 1m 40.225s
“Unfortunately I made a mistake on my best lap which prevented me from keeping my promise to the guys, which was a 1'39. They deserve at least that because they are working so hard to help me improve. We know we are behind with development, but as I have said before nobody is losing faith. Hopefully we can get a good start tomorrow and then complete our principal objective, which is to make it to the end of the race.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: pole position - 1m 40.934s
“There was a lot of traffic out there at the end of the session - it's normal - everyone trying to find a slipstream from a faster rider to make a good lap time. In the end I found some space so I could ride a good lap. We've made a few small mistakes here, but step by step we have improved, so I have to thank my team who have helped me a lot. Now I just have to keep calm, keep concentrated and do my best. We will try a few more little things in warm-up because the bike still isn't 100 per cent.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: 2nd - 1m 41.054s
“We are looking forward to the race and I think that all we really need now is a little luck. The bike is going okay - the base is there and that is important. It has been hard work here, trying to get the bike even better than it was at Jerez. Anyway, I think we are ready for the race and ready to try and fight for a victory.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex: 3rd - 1m 41.278s
“It was definitely close out there. I'm really happy to be on the front row here because that first corner is so tight that you quite often get carnage after the start. Being up front makes it much easier than being 13th or 15th. I think there will be some good racing out there tomorrow - hopefully everyone will keep it clean and have a good race.”

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia - FTR Honda: 2nd, 1m 47.460s
“Today we had a good feeling, above all because we were working with the race in mind. We were riding with a very good pace and we are strong. I think that tomorrow will be a race in which we ride in a group, and tyres will be decisive. We have a good setting and, even though we will make a few more tests with tyres in the warm-up, we are clear about things ahead of the race. We are very confident to have the pace to fight with Cortese and Oliveira.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 - Suter-Honda: 3rd - 1m 47.916
“I'm happy. In the morning we were fast and again in the afternoon too. We have a steady pace, although we lack a little on an out-and-out lap. To start from the first row at my home Grand Prix is pretty good! I hope that everything goes well in the race and that we can have a good pace and be consistent. However, the other riders are very strong, so the aim is to a good start and be up front from the start.”
Romano Fenati, Team Italian FMI - FTR Honda: 6th - 1m 48.191s
“Today we had a little difficulty getting a good position on the grid because of the changing weather conditions, but the team did well to quickly resolve any problems. We ended up on the second row, which is good, all things considered. We preferred to work for the race, looking for a steady pace and we feel quite confident for tomorrow.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Round 03: Portugal
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
2Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
4Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
6Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
9Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
10Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
11Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
12Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
13Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
14Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
15Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
3Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
5Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
6Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
7Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)
8Toni ELIAS (Mapfre Aspar Team)
9Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
10Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
11Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
12Ricard CARDUS (Arguiñano Racing Team)
13Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
14Mike DI MEGLIO (S/Master Speed Up)
15Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)
3Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0'0)
4Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)
6Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
7Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
8Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
9Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team)
10Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)
11Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)
12Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
13Adrian MARTIN (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
14Brad BINDER (RW Racing GP)
15Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)

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