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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 06: Great Britain Qualifying

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Great Britain
June 16, 2012

Honda's Bautista to Start British GP from Pole

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.

Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)zoom
(Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
(Repsol Honda Team)

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.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
(Repsol Honda Team)
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL
(LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP rider quotes

Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: pole position, 2m 03.303s
“I'm really happy for myself and also pleased for the team. This pole position hasn't happened by coincidence – it is the fruit of a lot of hard work from all the guys who have all been giving 100% and sometimes a little more. The conditions today were strange and difficult but we managed to find a good setting, I was up front for the whole session and set my fastest lap on my own. It started to rain for the last few minutes and nobody was able to improve their time, but I still had a fresh tyre to use and made a couple of mistakes on my best lap so I could have gone faster too. Tomorrow I start on pole and have a good race pace so hopefully we can convert it into a good result.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd, 2m 03.423s
“This afternoon was a little disappointing to be honest. We began the session and struggled with the bike, we couldn't really get any edge grip and we seemed to make the chatter worse. We were trying to fix some problems we had in the morning, but ended up making them worse so we tried various things to improve them. Finally we found something that was working so we decided to scrap the lap and come in and put a new soft rear tyre on, but it didn't work for us as we got out there and the rain started to come, just enough to upset the bike a little. I was waiting for the rain to disappear so I could put a lap in, but unfortunately we didn't get an opportunity and missed our chance at pole. For tomorrow I hope the race is one way or another, not a 50/50 race, but we'll deal with whatever we have and I feel confident with both situations".”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th, 2m 03.835s
“We managed to improve our lap times quite a lot and our position on the grid a little, although by the end of the practice some drops of rain prevented us to make any time attack with the last set of tyres we had ready. I'm satisfied because we've improved the set-up of the bike this afternoon and I think we can still do another step forward in the warm-up tomorrow. We had a better pace in qualifying, but my feeling didn't change much compared to yesterday. We did many laps with the new front tyre, but only short runs, so the performance in the second half of the race is mystery. I keep thinking that the new front tyre is not safer; we've seen many crashes on the front. We have to make a good start tomorrow, but also be able to keep a good pace during the 20 laps. I don't have a lot of experience in this track; I missed the race last year and in 2010 we chose the wrong tyre and we did a bad race, but we will do the maximum tomorrow to get a good result.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 9th, 2m 05.035s
“Honestly, I am not thrilled about this second day. The weather was incomprehensible and the crash this morning was quite hard. I was not at 100% for qualifying because of the finger injury and also in the afternoon the weather was very strange. We could not make a proper run on soft tyres because it was raining here and there around the track. At the end I was not able to find real confidence in the bike and we were also struggling with the strong wind. So it’s not the perfect day for us, but I am still confident for tomorrow: we are not that far from the front group and I hope the weather can be less unsettled.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th, 2m 07.016s
“That session could have been better, but it started to rain in the last few minutes and it would have been too risky to try and improve my lap time so we decided to back off. Anyway I am happy because our race pace is good and I think I can fight with the best CRT guys out there. We have taken another step forward here and I think we can make another improvement for tomorrow.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: pole position, 2m 08.011s
“After the disaster of Catalunya, this is a great feeling for us. It’s best not to think about what happened in the last race, so we are just looking forward. The conditions here can be a little dangerous because the wind keeps changing direction and you get it at different corners every lap. I hope for less wind and rain tomorrow!”
Andrea Iannone, Speed Master – Speed Up: 2nd, 2m 08.396s
“Finally, things are starting to go well for us. We won at Barcelona and now we are on the pace again here. It’s taken a while for us to find the feeling with our chassis, and it’s been a lot of work, because we make our chassis ourselves. The race will be fast and close – I just hope for good weather.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex: 2m 08.616s
“I’m feeling confident for the race, but the weather is making it difficult here – the wind is so unpredictable. I had a few big moments, one when Luthi had a moment in front of me, which lost me a good lap. The main thing is that we are consistently fast.”

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: pole position, 2m 16.187s
“That was a very positive session, because I felt comfortable in difficult conditions. We were able to ride in the dry and we hope that things are the same tomorrow. With this wind and with the track being so long, we have more difficulties to face than normal. We got a fast lap in at the right moment. I am very happy to be back on pole at the circuit where I did so for the first time in my career last year. I feel good about tomorrow and I am focused. It will be a tough race contested in a group because here it is very difficult to escape from the other Moto3 riders. We will see what happens.”
Efren Vazquez, JHK Laglisse – FTR Honda: 2nd, 2m 16.385s
“Well, we’re second again. We worked so hard throughout the weekend. The session was a little weird, it was more strategy than anything else. We knew it would rain, so we had to do a good lap time quickly. That’s why we decided to go out and push hard to get in a good position. The plan worked and I was on pole for quite a while, but then Maverick improved on my time. He did a fantastic lap and I congratulate him. Tomorrow we'll see what the weather will do.”
Alexis Masbou, Caretta Technology – Honda: 3rd, 2m 17.043s
“I'm glad. We worked well today and I am convinced that I could have done better because I found some traffic on some of my best laps and because near the end of the session I had to stop because of a problem with the exhaust. Tomorrow I will try to follow this up with a great result.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Round 06: Great Britain Qualifying
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
2Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
4Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
7Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
8Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
10Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
11Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
12Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
13Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)
14Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
15Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
2Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
3Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
5Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
6Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)
7Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
8Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
9Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
10Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)
11Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
12Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)
13Roberto ROLFO (Technomag-CIP)
14Gino REA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
15Mike DI MEGLIO (S/Master Speed Up)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)
2Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)
3Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)
4Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
6Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
7Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)
8Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)
9Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
10Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
11Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
12Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)
13Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
14Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)
15Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

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