MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) bounced back from a tumble at Brno this afternoon to qualify on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Czech Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had led all three free practice sessions, only to interrupt his impressive rhythm when he slid off at turn nine ten minutes into qualifying. With only his second bike available for the remainder of the session, Pedrosa struggled with chatter issues, so it was not until the last moment that he could find the pace to make the front row. He went third fastest on his final lap, and it was a close run thing – his best lap time just 0.004s faster than the best time set by Ben Spies (Yamaha). Pole position went to Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Pedrosa is on something of a charge at the moment. After receiving an upgraded RC213V at last month’s United States GP he won his second victory of the year at Indianapolis last Sunday to close to within 18 points of current leader Lorenzo. So far this year he has scored ten podium finishes from 11 races.
Pedrosa is flying the Repsol Honda flag all alone this weekend after team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) withdrew from the event following the advice of his Australian surgeon. Stoner injured his right ankle when he crashed during qualifying for last weekend’s Indianapolis GP. He bravely decided to race with the injury and finished a heroic fourth, but subsequent examination of x-rays and MRI scans showed that the injury was worse than first thought.
On Thursday the reigning World Champion was told that he risked causing permanent damage if he continued racing with the injury. Therefore he flew home to Australia on the same day and is expected to undergo surgery on the right ankle – which suffered complicated ligament, cartilage and bone damage – within the next few days, once the swelling has subsided.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) was seventh quickest today, missing a second-row start by just 0.092s. The German youngster has been struggling with front-end feel, a major issue at Brno which features so many downhill corner entries.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was fast and consistent in practice but was not quite able to raise his game in qualifying. He ended the session eighth fastest to put himself in the middle of the third row between Bradl and local Karel Abraham (Ducati).
The Spaniard’s team-mate Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had a fraught session, during which he had to abandon his number one bike out on the track after its engine burst into flames. The Italian ended up 14th quickest.
In Moto2, Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) scored his third consecutive pole, putting himself in the best position possible to take some points away from series leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who could only manage fourth quickest.
Espargaro lies 39 points behind Marquez with seven races remaining, so his title hopes are a long shot at best, but anyway he will be keen to add to his victory tally. Tomorrow Espargaro will be joined on the front row by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
Marquez has scored front-row starts at all but two of this year’s GPs. He will start tomorrow’s race from second row alongside Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) who slid off in the early stages of the session, bringing out the red flags.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored his fifth pole position of the year in the Moto3 class, outpacing title rival Sandro Cortese (KTM). During his final lap Cortese came very close to dislodging Vinales from pole but failed by just 0.033s. Vinales currently trails Cortese by 29 points after sliding off on the final lap of last weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix. Vinales says his only tactic for the remaining races is to go for the win every time in an effort to close the points gap.
Teenage rookie Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) was the next best Honda rider in fourth place, the 16-year-old missing the front row by less than two tenths of a second.
Local star Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) was seventh quickest, putting himself at the top of the third row. The 19-year-old Czech bettered eighth-placed Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) by two tenths.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|3||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|7||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|8||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|9||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|10||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|11||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|13||Toni ELIAS (Pramac Racing Team)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|3||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|4||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|5||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|6||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|7||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|9||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|10||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|11||Axel PONS (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|12||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|14||Mike DI MEGLIO (MZ Racing)|
|15||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|4||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|5||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|6||Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|7||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|8||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|9||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|10||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|11||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|12||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|13||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|14||Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|15||Adrian MARTIN (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|