MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
29.6.12 – Riding just hours after one of the worst crashes of his world championship-winning career, Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) secured one of his most dramatic pole positions with a stunning lap in the dying minutes of the dry-wet-dry qualifying session for Saturday’s Dutch TT on the historic Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start the race next to Stoner on the front row after qualifying second.
It was a frustrating session for the riders, most of whom spent significant time in the pits during repeated small showers. Stoner was down in ninth when the track was dry for the final time with about six minutes to go in the hour. He had had a heavy crash in the morning and was still trying to find a solution for the front end chatter that has bedeviled the team all year. The reigning world champion had spent qualifying making the most of the limited dry track time on the harder option rear tyre, but with so little time remaining Stoner had no choice but to fit the soft option to improve his grid position for Saturday’s seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Following his out lap on the now dry track it was clear he was on a mission. With his first flying lap he was up to third and on his next he put the pole out of reach. Because of a slight reconfiguration of the 4542m circuit, Stoner’s lap of 1m, 33.713s goes into the record books as the fastest.
The pole was the 38th of Stoner’s MotoGP career and third this season after Estoril and Catalunya.
Pedrosa had set the fastest time of the session 11m, 39s into the hour. Had the conditions remained mixed, Pedrosa would have taken the pole. But in the final few minutes it was Stoner setting the fast time; that left Pedrosa second to his team-mate by .115s.
What was encouraging for Pedrosa was that he had two extended runs when the track was dry, both consistently in the 1m, 34s range that should be enough to keep him at the front of the race pack.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) shattered his previous best qualifying mark with a sterling effort in difficult conditions. In his first MotoGP season, the 2011 Moto2 World Champion had qualified a season best eighth in the Catalunya GP. But with his final lap he knocked more than .6s off his previous best to leap up to fourth, and nearly onto the front row: He missed out by a scant .034s.
Like Pedrosa, Bradl’s race pace was encouraging during the limited dry track time, which is important in Assen where Bradl’s German fans will pack the circuit.
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista was on his last lap when he crashed after pushing the front in the final minutes of the session. He was in eighth at the time, where he would finish, though he had been up to fifth when rain interrupted the proceedings around mid-session. Without the crash, the Spaniard was confident he would have been further up the grid.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was 14th and third fastest of the CRT bikes. Pirro never got the chance to show his best with only eight laps at speed during the weather-compromised session.
Moto2 championship leader Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya CaixaRepsol – Suter) raced to his fifth pole of the season, then fell while trying to better his time with his final lap. There was little need. The young Spaniard finished with a lap of 1m, 37.133s, which was .455s faster than title rival Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex), his fellow Spaniard who will sit next to him on the front row. Espargaro was on the pole at the previous British Grand Prix.
Marquez had also fallen in the morning, though he was fortunate not to be hurt in either spill. The world championship leader carries a six point lead over Espargaro and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock – Suter), the Swiss rider who qualified tenth, into Saturday’s race.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) was third fastest and on the front row for the third time this season. Iannone was able to move through the field after reducing tyre chatter while improving tyre life.
Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) pleasantly surprised his team with a standout qualifying effort. The Moto3 first year rider, and second youngest rider in grand prix racing, had never qualified better than tenth before today. But on a 31 degree C track, the 16-year-old earned his first front row start by qualifying third.
Championship leader Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR-Honda) qualified sixth fastest, but only .533s off pole. Vinales often wins from the front and wanted to do his time without the benefit of a slipstream. His pace overall gave him confidence of enhancing his championship lead on Saturday.
Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) qualified .095s behind Vinales on the row three pole. With 17 riders on the same second, it was hard for the Frenchman to get a clean lap, though with so much traffic he was not able to get into a good rhythm.
|1||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|4||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|9||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|10||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|11||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Mattia PASINI (Speed Master)|
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|2||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|3||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|4||Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)|
|5||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|6||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|7||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|8||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|9||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|10||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|11||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|12||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2)|
|14||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|15||Ricard CARDUS (Arguiñano Racing Team)|
|1||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|4||Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|5||Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)|
|6||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|7||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|8||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|9||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|10||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|11||Alberto MONCAYO (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|12||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|13||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|14||Alan TECHER (Technomag-CIP-TSR)|
|15||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|