MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Honda team in MotoGP qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa earned his third pole position of the season with the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle at the famed 4.216Km Brickyard, while team-mate Casey Stoner ended up in the medical centre after a vicious high-side crash early in the twice red flag-interrupted one hour session, held on a warm, sunny day in Speedway, Indiana.
The team-mates had dominated practice for the 11th round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship. Stoner was fastest in Free Practices 1 and 3, with Pedrosa second in both sessions. Pedrosa was fastest in FP2-Stoner was second-and again in qualifying.
Once Pedrosa took command of qualifying, just over 22 minutes into the session, he was never headed. Over the course of the final 38 minutes he strengthened his pole position three times, ending with a new fastest ever lap of 1m, 38.813s. Stoner held the circuit best lap of 1m, 38.850s from 2011. It did not hurt that he also clocked the fastest ever top speed by a motorcycle at IMS, 335.5Km/h.
Pedrosa’s MotoGP pole tally reached 22 all-time, two at IMS, and three this year; he was also on pole at Le Mans and Mugello.
Stoner was one of three riders to fall victim to the same section of track, the double left turns 13-14. The reigning world champion was exiting turn 13 when the rear of Repsol Honda RC213V came around, caught traction, and spat him into the air. Stoner landed face down, first hitting his toes and knees. When he tried to stand up his knees buckled. He was transported to the infield care centre where it was initially determined he may have a torn ligament in his right ankle. With debris on the track, the session was red flagged.
Stoner was fastest at the time of his crash, but fell to sixth overall.
The team will make a decision later this evening on Stoner’s fitness to race on Sunday.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) had his second best qualifying performance of the season. The German MotoGP rookie qualified fifth fastest-he had been fourth in Assen-on his first visit to the Brickyard on a MotoGP machine. Bradl had shown promise in the cooler morning temperatures by finishing fourth fastest, then took advantage of the warmer track in the afternoon to up his pace on the softer option rear tyre.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) qualified ninth fastest after his work programme was interrupted by the red flags. (In addition to the Stoner red flag, a second one came with only eight minutes remaining.) The Spaniard and his crew were trying to make the most of the hard rear tyre, the presumptive race rubber, but the interruptions made it difficult to get a gauge on their effectiveness. And when he fitted the softer option his lap times did not improve.
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Michele Pirro also could no make the most of the softer tyres. The Italian MotoGP rookie, attacking the Brickyard for the first time on the Honda-powered San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT machine, ended up setting his fastest time on well worn hard rear tyre. Pirro qualified 16th in the top half of the CRT pack.
The Moto2 class had an extended summer break following the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The time off served Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) well, with the Spaniard taking his second pole in a row and third of the year after the four weekend respite.
Espargaro finished the session with a new Moto2 circuit best lap of 1m, 42.602s, lowering the previous time of 1m, 44.038s set last year by title rival Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter).
In addition to poles here and in Italy, Espargaro earned his first pole at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a race he won.
Marquez had been the fastest rider until the 22-minute mark when Espargaro dropped him to second. Marquez spent the rest of the hour trying to regain his supremacy, only to fall short by .231s. Still, he hasnbeen on the front row for every race except Silverstone, where he qualified fifth.
Marquez enters Sunday’s tenth round of the Moto2 World Championship 34 points ahead of Espargaro and Andrea Iannone, the Speed Master - Speed Up rider who qualified third. Iannone was an identical distance from Marquez that Marquez was from Espargaro, .231s.
Iannone concentrated on his race set-up and testing tyre durability during much of qualifying.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia FTR-Honda) qualified on a very tight front row and top 12 for Sunday’s Moto3 race. Vinales was third fastest behind KTM team-mates Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent, but less than a tenth of a second from pole.
Vinales starts the second half of the season trailing Cortese by nine points (164-155) and after having ended the first half with a win from pole in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Suter Honda) was sixth fastest and exactly half a second from the pole time.
Just behind Rins came JHK Laglisse FTR-Honda rider Efren Vazquez. Vazquez was .529s off pole and one of 12 riders on the same second as the pole-sitter.
|1||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|7||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|9||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|10||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|11||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|14||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|15||Mattia PASINI (Speed Master)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|3||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|4||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|5||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|6||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|7||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|9||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|10||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|11||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|12||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|13||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|14||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|15||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|1||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|4||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|5||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|6||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|7||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)|
|8||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|9||Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia JHK Laglisse)|
|10||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|11||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|12||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|13||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|14||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|15||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|