MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) won an enthralling duel for pole position at sweltering Mugello this afternoon, beating title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by a fraction of a second. Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) had a more difficult time, ending the session fifth quickest.
The Pedrosa versus Lorenzo battle lit up the final stages of the hour-long outing, after Lorenzo had dominated the opening 50 minutes. Pedrosa then went ahead by less than two tenths, only for Lorenzo to counter-attack two minutes later and regain the advantage by a similar margin. With three minutes remaining Pedrosa once again moved in front by five hundredths, and then stretched the advantage to 0.139s. Lorenzo looked like he might have the speed to regain pole, until his machine suffered an electrical glitch during his final run.
The pair will be joined on the front row tomorrow by Hector Barbera (Ducati), who was delighted with his first premier-class front-row start. Barbera’s new-found speed helped make history: the first all-Spanish front row in the elite category.
Pedrosa – who earlier this week renewed his contract with Repsol Honda – is currently on fantastic form, having won last Sunday’s German Grand Prix to move to within 14 points of championship leader Lorenzo. It seems like the Spaniard’s title challenge has shifted into top gear, though he is fully aware that Lorenzo has a very strong race pace and will be difficult to beat tomorrow.
Stoner ended today in the middle of the second row, 0.405s off pole. Winner of three GPs so far this year, the Australian is having a few problems getting through Mugello’s sweeping corners and so far has been unable to match the pace of his two title rivals. Stoner has tomorrow morning’s warm-up session in which to try some more solutions as he works to close the gap on the front-runners.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) enjoyed another good qualifying session, the German MotoGP rookie holding third place with just 12 minutes to go. As the pace increased he slipped to eighth, 0.573s behind Pedrosa, but he is very confident of a good race, having increased his confidence in the front end, a vital asset for Mugello’s numerous high-speed corner entries.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda GresiniRC213V) has made some good progress recently, but has had a torrid time here, sliding off on three occasions during the first three practice sessions. He ended qualifying in 11th position as he worked to regain some confidence around this challenging circuit.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTRHonda) was third fastest CRT rider in 14th position. He also fell this morning, but came back strongly this afternoon to close the gap on the two CRT men in front of him.
Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) claimed a heroic Moto2 pole position, denying Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) of a third consecutive pole by just 0.069s. It was a remarkable performance from Espargaro who had a heavy fall in this morning’s practice session after he was taken out by Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi) at turn one.
Zarco was third fastest in qualifying, his best-ever in Moto2, but Race Direction relegated him to 18th on the grid for his part in the incident with Espargaro.
Local star Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) ended the session a mere 0.054s behind Zarco, which left him just off the front row. But due to Zarco’s punishment he will be promoted to third place for a front-row start tomorrow.
The lap times were typically very, very close in Moto2 with the fastest 20 riders separated by just 1.353s. The second row is led by Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR) who will be looking to repeat his first 2012 podium that he achieved last Sunday. He will be joined on row two by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3). Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) leads the third row.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) stormed to another brilliant Moto3 pole position, overcoming title rival Sandro Cortese (KTM) at the very last moment. The Spaniard timed his attack perfectly to better Cortese by an impressive margin of 0.421s. It was a welcome performance following his difficult ride in last weekend’s rain-lashed German GP in which he finished just outside the points, thus relinquishing the title lead to Cortese. This is Vinales’ fourth pole of the year.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) made it two Spanish teenagers on the front row, the 16-year-old taking third place, 0.841s down on 17-year-old Vinales. It is Rins’ first front-row start since he took pole at the Spanish Grand Prix in April.
Row two was another two Hondas on the outside with a KTM in the middle: fourth fastest Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) just ahead of Cortese’s team-mate Danny Kent and 16-year-old Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda), riding in his first home Grand Prix.
Spanish GP winner Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) will start from the third row in what is also his first home GP.
|1||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|4||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|5||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|6||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|9||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|10||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|11||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|3||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|4||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|5||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|6||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|7||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|8||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|9||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|10||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|11||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar TeamMoto2)|
|12||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|13||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|14||Yuki TAKAHASHI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|15||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)|
|5||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|7||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|8||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|9||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|10||Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|11||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|12||Alberto MONCAYO (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|13||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|14||Alan TECHER (Technomag-CIP-TSR)|
|15||Kevin CALIA (Elle 2 Ciatti)|