MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) produced a brilliant performance at scorching hot Catalunya this afternoon to put himself in pole position for tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), who started the last race at Le Mans from pole, ended the day a close fifth fastest, just 0.361s off pole.
Conditions could be very different for the race, however. While track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon, latest weather forecasts suggest that tomorrow will bring significantly cooler temperatures and possibly rain as well.
Stoner was a close second to pace-setter Pedrosa in this morning’s final free practice session, then found some more speed for qualifying. The reigning World Champion spent much of the hour experimenting with the two rear tyre choices and despite having to contend with some chatter issues he was able to better title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by 0.146s, good enough to give him his second pole position of 2012. After the session Stoner announced that he isn’t especially confident of victory tomorrow, but added that he is “definitely in it to win it”.
Two weeks ago Stoner finished third in the rain-soaked French GP, which lost him the World Championship lead to race winner Lorenzo. Stoner had won the previous two races at Jerez and Estoril and is aiming to score his third win of 2012 here at Catalunya where he dominated last year’s race.
Pedrosa missed out on a front-row start when he had a moment at the entry to turn ten during his final run. The Spaniard got his RCV crossed up on the brakes and had to run wide, which spoiled what should have been his fastest lap and consigned him to the second row. Nevertheless the former 125 and 250 World Champion is happy with the progress he has made over the past two days and believes he can be a contender tomorrow if his crew can make a few final tweaks to his RC213V.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) continued his impressive progress in his rookie MotoGP campaign, achieving his best grid position so far, in eighth position. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had even higher aims – a first-ever second-row start – but in the end he had to be happy with eighth, less than eight tenths off pole. Most importantly he is confident of running a good race pace at this challenging, high-speed track.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had a difficult day, losing some of the grip and confidence he had had in yesterday’s slightly cooler conditions. The Spaniard qualified tenth and so he will keep working with his crew in a bid to improve the situation for the race. His team-mate Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) also had a tough time, ending up 16th quickest on his CRT machine.
Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) scored his fourth consecutive pole position in the Honda-powered Moto2 series today. The Spanish teenager came back from a difficult time in free practice – which he ended in ninth place, 0.817s off the front-running pace – to win an entertaining contest for pole with Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex). Marquez – who is carrying a small injury to his right hand from his Le Mans race crash – led the way for most of the session, until Espargaro sneaked ahead with eight minutes to go. Marquez was quick to reply, bettering his compatriot two minutes later to come out on top by just 0.195s.
Last man on the front row of the grid is Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter), who won his first race of the year at a soaking wet Le Mans a fortnight ago.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) leads the second row of the grid, just 0.290s down on Marquez and several tenths ahead of fellow row-two starters Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter). First man on the third row is Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored his second consecutive pole position in the Moto3 class, outpacing Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) by 0.268s. Surprise Le Mans winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) secured the last spot on the front row to suggest that he is ready to be a consistent front-runner in the new category.
There were an impressive nine Honda-powered machines in the top 13 of qualifying, with Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in fifth place despite a tumble at the first corner towards the end of the session. Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) will head the third row in tomorrow’s race after qualifying seventh, 0.790s off pole.
|1||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|6||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|8||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|9||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|11||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|12||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|15||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|2||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|3||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|4||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|5||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|6||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|7||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|8||Toni ELIAS (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|9||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|10||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|11||Jordi TORRES (Tech 3 Racing)|
|12||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|13||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|14||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|15||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|3||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|4||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|5||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|7||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|8||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)|
|9||Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|10||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|11||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|12||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|13||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|14||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||John McPHEE (Racing Steps Foundation KRP)|