MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) scored a surprise pole position at Silverstone this afternoon, outpacing the rest of the pack before the session was effectively brought to an early close by a rain shower.
So far the weather has not been kind to the 2012 British Grand Prix, with strong winds, low temperatures and occasional downpours playing havoc with the plans of riders and teams. There have been several crashes, most significantly local hero Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) who fell this morning and missed qualifying due to a foot injury.
Spanish star Bautista produced a brilliant qualifying performance in the tricky conditions, proving that he really is getting to grips with his RC213V after joining Fausto Gresini’s Honda team at the end of last year. This is the former 125 World Champion’s first pole in MotoGP. His previous best grid position with for Honda was sixth place at Estoril last month. Although the rain shower may have helped protect his lap time from attack, Bautista was confident that he too could have gone faster if the track had stayed dry.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) ended the day third quickest to give him his fourth consecutive front-row start. The reigning World Champion, who started the recent Catalan GP from pole, was just 0.120s behind Bautista and 0.014s behind second-fastest Ben Spies (Yamaha). Like many riders, his plans to make a final ‘time attack’ in the closing minutes of the session were ruined by the rain. If the shower had not come just then the Australian is confident he would have had a good chance of scoring his third pole of the year.
Fifth-fastest Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was also prevented from showing his real speed by the ever-changing Silverstone weather. However, the Spaniard is satisfied with the progress he has made here and is confident he can eke a little more performance from his machine with some further changes during morning warm-up. This will be Pedrosa’s first race at Silverstone since 2010 – he missed last year’s British GP due to injury.
Reigning Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) had a painful second day at Silverstone, crashing on his out-lap during this morning’s session. The tumble was blamed on the strong winds and cold track temperatures that make it very difficult to get heat into the tyres. Bradl hurt the fourth finger on his left hand in the fall, but was able to contest qualifying this afternoon and did well to take ninth place for a third-row start.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) qualified 14th, in the midst of the CRT pack and is looking forward to an enjoyable battle with his fellow CRT riders. The Italian is using a new FTR frame and fairing here.
Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) scored his first Moto2 pole position this afternoon, coming out on top after a typically frantic qualifying. The Spaniard, who scored his first Moto2 race win at Jerez earlier this year, bettered Catalan GP winner Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) by a relatively comfortable 0.385s.
Following Crutchlow’s tumble in this morning’s practice session, Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) is now the local fans’ best hope of a home-grown British GP winner tomorrow. The 19-year-old, who won the British 125 GP at Donington Park in 2008, was fast and consistent in qualifying, despite the unpredictable, gusting winds. He ended the day just 0.220s behind Iannone.
Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3) found inspiration at home to achieve his best grid position of the year. The Briton will head the second row tomorrow, just beating Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) and Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex). To emphasise the close-quarters nature of this Honda-powered series, the three riders on row two are separated by just 0.039s.
World Championship leader Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) qualified seventh, 1.109s off pole.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored his third consecutive Moto3 pole position this afternoon and was followed by two other Honda riders to make it an all-Honda front row. The Spanish teenager ended the session 0.198s in front of Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) who was 0.658s ahead of Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda).
Vinales, who is currently second in the points chase behind Sandro Cortese (KTM), will now be hoping to repeat his brilliant performance at the Catalan GP where he took pole and race victory.
Vazquez led much of the session and will be keener than ever to take a good points haul tomorrow after taking home zero points from the last two GPs.
French Grand Prix winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) qualified seventh to lead the third row, with Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda) in ninth place at the other side of the same row.
|1||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|2||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|6||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|7||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|8||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|9||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|10||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|11||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|2||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|3||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|4||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|5||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|6||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|7||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|8||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|9||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|10||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|11||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|12||Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)|
|13||Roberto ROLFO (Technomag-CIP)|
|14||Gino REA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|15||Mike DI MEGLIO (S/Master Speed Up)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)|
|3||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|4||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|5||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|7||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|8||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|9||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|10||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|11||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|12||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|13||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|14||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|15||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|