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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 05: Catalunya Qualifying

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
June 2, 2012

Stoner and Honda Back on Top at Catalunya

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.

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

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.

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

MotoGP rider quotes

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 41.295s
“We used the qualifying as an extended practice session as we don’t always have enough time to do everything during the 45 minute sessions. This morning we did a lot of work with the hard tyre, so in the afternoon in these hot conditions we worked more with the softer one to get a clearer understanding if we can run with it for race distance. We were in and out a lot during the session trying a few different things, hoping to reduce the chatter which is still proving to be a problem. As soon as I touch the throttle the bike starts to chatter in the rear and it’s making things very difficult. Towards the end of the session we managed to improve it slightly, but I think we need to make another step before the race. Tomorrow, for sure tyre degradation is going to play a role so we’re going to have to wait and see, but I’m happy to start from pole.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 41.656s
“It was a difficult qualifying session because I spent a major part of the hour testing used soft tyres and I was down in the classification. But I was not worried because I knew that I had two new soft tyres for the end of the session. When we put the first one on, I immediately improved my lap times and I jumped to second place, then on my final flying lap I braked too late, I had a big shake on the bike and I ran wide. From this side it’s a pity because I missed my chance at pole position or, at least, the front row of the grid. Anyway, I’m happy with the work we did yesterday and today’s preparation for the race and for me this is always the most important thing. Let’s see if together with my team we can improve the bike slightly for tomorrow and be ready to give 100% in a hard race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th – 1m 42.065s
“This is not bad for us and we are in a good shape. Finishing in eighth position considering the hot track conditions is quite positive, but I was expecting something more: maybe sixth or seventh. During the qualifying session we could handle that position easily, but at the end everybody went out on soft tyres pushing at 100%. I am happy with the bike package and our race pace is good so I am really optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s race. We will try to follow the top guys for a while and we will see considering the tough conditions. Everything is possible!”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th – 1m 42.356s
“Today didn’t go very well. The track conditions changed in the afternoon and I lost the grip at the back and some of the confidence in the front that I had yesterday. Now we will read the data and try to improve for tomorrow. I had a good feeling before today, so it was very hard and difficult out there, but I’m confident and I hope to do better in the race.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 16th – 1m 44.356s
“Too bad, because I think I could do a better lap time than we did in qualifying. But we are convinced that in the race we can be closer to being the best CRT. We must try not to lose too much ground on new tyres and then try to make the difference later in the race. In any case, this is a confirmation of the improvements that we already made at Le Mans in the dry.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: pole position, 1m 46.187s
“Yesterday we had a little bit of confusion with the setting of the bike, but today we started again. We reset our mentality and from that we made a big step. Before qualifying I didn’t expect to get pole, but in the end I have a very good base for the race and this is the most important thing. As always in free practice we concentrated on race performance and from there we did a very good job. We will have to see what the weather, does but I think we can have a good race tomorrow.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 2nd, 1m, 46.382s
“It’s so nice to be on the front row for my home race after being nearer the back of the grid last year! We’re not as happy as we would be if we were on pole, but it could have been better if I hadn’t run into some traffic at the end of the session. That made it very difficult to improve my lap time. Anyway, second isn’t so bad and we have a very good chance of being there with Marquez and Luthi in the race.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: 3rd, 1m 46.430s
“Today was just a little bit hotter than yesterday and I think I struggled a little with this. For sure after the first two sessions we were looking for pole position, but we made it onto the front row so we are happy. Now we will look at the bike and maybe make some changes for the race and I’m sure we can fight for the victory. Yesterday I had a small crash. I was trying to find the limit and just went a bit over, but it was a slow corner so the crash was no problem at all.”

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: pole position, 1m 52.160s
“I am very happy to have taken pole at my home race, as it means a lot to be able to do this for the fans. I think that we had a really good session and got a very positive feeling from it, which is important as this isn’t entirely the best track for me. Le Mans was more suited to my riding style, whilst Montmeló is completely different and we have had to adapt in order to ride comfortably. We have everything ready for tomorrow, but we just have to wait and see what the weather will be like. If the temperatures drop, the tyres will degrade less and we will be able to maintain our pace better.”
Louis Rossi Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda: 3rd, 1m 52.603s
“Everything is going well, really good. I feel really at home with my team and we are making some changes to the bike and I am making some changes to my riding, so we are getting better and better. We are starting to understand some things about the bike which will help us in the future, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. I have some new engine bits here – I cannot really feel the improvement but we can see it in the lap time.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter-Honda: 5th, 1m 52.757s
“This has been a positive day. We can be satisfied with a second row, as the straight at Montmeló is very long and we have the time to gain places. We went out this morning looking to improve on yesterday’s performance, although we didn’t get the times that we were looking to achieve. Later on we got closer to the frontrunners, although I realise that I am finding it tough to get quick laps on my own. Despite not having the pace that I want, I am calm about the race. I had a crash at the end, but I am unhurt.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Round 05: Catalunya Qualifying
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
2Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
4Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
8Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
9Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
10Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
11Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
12Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
13Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
14Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
15Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
3Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
4Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
5Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)
6Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
7Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
8Toni ELIAS (Mapfre Aspar Team)
9Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
10Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
11Jordi TORRES (Tech 3 Racing)
12Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
13Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
14Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
15Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)
2Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)
3Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)
4Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
7Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)
8Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
9Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team)
10Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
11Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
12Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)
13Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
14Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
15John McPHEE (Racing Steps Foundation KRP)

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