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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 13: San Marino

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
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San Marino
San Marino
September 15, 2012

Pedrosa & Honda Grab Crucial Pole at Misano

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to a brilliant pole position at sunny Misano this afternoon, winning a thrilling duel with World Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Pedrosa’s pole was backed up by strong performances from HRC’s two satellite riders, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) and Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) who will both start tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix from the second row of the grid.

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

Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V) – making his MotoGP debut as substitute for injured World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) – made excellent progress to qualify on the third row.

Pedrosa has made impressive inroads into Lorenzo’s points lead in recent weeks, winning three of the last four races to sit just 13 points behind his fellow Spaniard with six races remaining. His fourth pole of the year could not have come at a better moment.

The former 125 and 250 World Champion left his crucial move until the very end of qualifying, with pole swapping hands four times in the last few minutes. Pedrosa went fastest just 20 seconds before the chequered flag came out, dislodging Lorenzo who had knocked Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) off the top only seconds before. Crutchlow had been fastest after taking over from ever-impressive rookie Bradl.

Pedrosa’s advantage over Lorenzo isn’t huge – only 0.018s – but being on pole is always a good psychological boost, especially after two difficult days of practice during which rain dramatically limited track time. Track conditions were so poor yesterday that most top riders did not even venture out. When the circuit was as good as dry, track temperatures were too low to bring slick tyres up to operating temperature, and when it was wet it was not wet enough to allow riders to run rain tyres without tearing them up in just a few laps. So Pedrosa spent both Friday sessions in the pits, as did Rea. Bautista did venture out yesterday afternoon, but only for eight laps. This morning conditions still were not perfect but the track was once again busy, with Bautista fastest.

That left everyone with just the one-hour qualifying session in which to work on set-up, choose race tyres and do their ‘time attack’ to achieve the best possible grid position. Not only that, riders had to wait a while before grip reached a level that allowed them to push to their limits. Pedrosa’s remarkable performance proved once again that he has a brilliant crew behind him, able to give him the best-possible machine even when time is extremely limited.

Bradl’s performance once again proved how much the young German has learned in the first two thirds of his rookie MotoGP season. As fast and smooth as ever, the reigning Moto2 champ led the session for a while, improving his pace as his crew improved his RCV’s front-end set up. He finished the hour fourth quickest, just 0.220s down on Crutchlow. The result equalled his best MotoGP grid slot, achieved at June’s Dutch TT.

Bautista was also involved in the battle for pole, the Spaniard moving up to second behind Lorenzo with ten minutes remaining before slipping to fifth, a slender 0.078s behind Bradl. Fifth on the grid is Bautista’s best qualifying result since he took pole at June’s British GP. It signals a return to form from the former 125 World Champion who has regained some of his earlier confidence, thanks in part to some Showa suspension upgrades received here.

Yesterday’s miserable weather conditions hurt Rea more than most. The Briton’s full-time job is contesting the World Superbike championship aboard a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR, so he is only starting to climb the MotoGP learning curve. Rea, who recently won the hugely important Suzuka Eight Hour race in Japan on a CBR1000RR, had two tests on Stoner’s RC213V before coming here, but still needs every lap he can get. MotoGP machines are significantly more demanding to ride than superbikes, with limits that are more difficult to reach and more challenging to find. Rea is also set to race Stoner’s RCV at the Aragon GP in two weeks time.

Stoner – who is recovering from surgery on the right ankle he injured at August’s Indianapolis GP – aims returns to action shortly before his home race at Phillip Island.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had a promising day’s work for his team’s home GP, ending qualifying 15th and a close third in the CRT class. The Italian believes he can find some more speed from his CBR1000RR-powered FTR machine, so he can battle to be top CRT rider in the race.

The brilliant Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) took his seventh pole position of the Moto2 season, bettering title rival Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) by just 0.044s. Espargaro had been trying to make further inroads into his compatriot’s advantage when he slid off without injury with five minutes to go. The Spanish pair finished first and second at the front of a grid which is as tightly packed as usual in this Honda CBR600-powered series. Just 1.178s covers the fastest 20 riders.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) was third quickest, a further 0.053s down for his second consecutive front-row start. Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex) leads the second row following his best qualifying since the Spanish GP back in May. The Japanese will start the race alongside fifth fastest Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter). Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) was seventh fastest and first man on the third row of the grid.

Two Honda –riding teenagers will start tomorrow’s Moto3 race from the front row after impressive performances in the first qualifying session of the day. Italians Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda) ended the 45-minute outing second quickest, 0.370s behind World Championship leader Sandro Cortese (KTM) and just 0.019s ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda).

Fenati’s team-mate and fellow teenager Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda) also rode well today, scoring his best GP grid position. He was seventh fastest to lead the third row, just 0.708s off pole. Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) will start from the other side of row three after qualifying ninth fastest.

The session did not go so well for World Championship hopeful Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda). The young Spaniard – who led the title chase earlier this season – could only manage 11th, which puts him on the fourth row of the grid with a challenging first few laps ahead of him.

Alvaro BAUTISTA(Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA
(Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Jonathan REA(Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Jonathan REA
(Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP rider quotes

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 33.857s
“It was a pretty tight session and no time to rest as we had to test the tyres, suspension and find some settings, as well as finding some feeling for myself! At the end we managed a good lap to take pole, which is very important as the first part of the circuit is very tight, so a good start is necessary. The setting on the bike is good so I hope to have a good race tomorrow. Thanks to all my team, we did a very good job in a very short time after a strange weekend due to the weather conditions, but we remained focused to have a good qualifying session and be ready for tomorrow’s race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 4th – 1m 34.221s
“I am quite happy about this qualifying, but I think it was hard for everybody because we had no data and no track time in the dry due to the bad weather of the last two days. The grip condition was not perfect but since the beginning we made a combination of the two bikes using data and adjustments of the test sessions at Brno and Aragon and at the end I decided to stay on one bike which was better for today’s surface situation. We lost a bit of front-end feeling and we had to adjust it twice because I was losing too much in the entry of the corners. At the end I could make a good lap time thanks to those adjustments, but we still have to fix it properly. In my last run I found some traffic and I probably waited too long for the tyre to warm up before my flying lap. Anyway I enjoyed the session and I think we are in a good shape for tomorrow.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th – 1m 34.299s
“Today we were finally able to get a dry session in and make some changes to the bike that addressed the problems we’ve been having in recent races. I feel like I have more confidence with the bike now and even though it is still moving around under braking it is not as bad as before and my feeling is better. We were able to maintain a strong pace throughout the session and set the lap time without taking big risks. The second row is positive and now I am feeling confident with the bike. It will be important to start well and stay in touch with the lead group and get back to the level we were at a few races ago. I want to thank all the guys because they have done a great job and I hope I can give them a great result at their home track.”
Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda: 9th – 1m 35.358s
“I woke up this morning pretty stressed after yesterday’s missed sessions and then FP3 was also pretty useless so I’ve got to be happy with a third row start, as my goal was top ten. I’m learning something on every single run and the team did a great job on translating my feedback to give me good settings on the bike. I’m taking things step by step and the limit is still quite a way off, but I don’t really want to find that limit just yet. I’m taking my time. I want to thank Repsol Honda for this opportunity, I’m really enjoying the experience and don’t want it to end! I know tomorrow’s race is going to be tough. I just want go out, give my best and have a clean race. I’m pretty nervous, but when the lights go out I’ll be in race mode and we’ll see what happens."
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th – 1m 36.340s
“I am happy. Unfortunately we had a problem with the clutch, but the guys did a great job to change it and get me back out on track. I am a few thousandths of a second off the second fastest CRT and the gap to the top guy is not that big so if we can keep this up tomorrow there is no reason why I can’t at least fight to be the top CRT. That would be a great result for us.”


Moto2 rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: pole position, 1m 38.242s
“Even FP3 wasn’t fully dry, so we couldn’t learn too much from that session. But it’s the same for everyone. It was difficult to work on the set-up and then go for pole in such a short time. I hope we can improve tomorrow because we have more to learn. For example, no one knows what the tyre life will be, which is important for the end of the race. I will try some more things in warm-up to be more consistent and then I will give 100 per cent in the race. The race will be difficult because there are so many fast riders – I will try my best, though the most important thing is the championship.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 2nd, 1m 38.286s
“The crash was strange because I was feeling very comfortable riding the bike at this pace. Anyway, the bike is working well; we made a good job of the setting and chose our race tyre. I made a mistake while trying to get pole, but the important thing is that I am on the front row.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex: 3rd, 1m 38.339s
“Yesterday was a disaster, we couldn’t work on the bike because of the weather, and then today the grip wasn’t so good to start off with. But my motivation was up and I got my head down, and lap after lap we began to get into it. Now the track is in good condition and I’m happy to be up front.”


Moto3 Rider Quotes

Romano Fenati, Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda: 2nd, 1m 44.571s
“Finally we are on the front row again and this is thanks to the valuable work of the mechanics and my red helmet which has brought me luck. This is one of the few tracks on the MotoGP circuit that I know, which means I have an equal chance with the others. I really like the track and I will be trying everything I know to win tomorrow.”
Niccolo Antonelli, San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda: 3rd, 1m 44.590s
“Come on! I made the first row! That’s fine, but I’m not happy because I’m not yet comfortable with the bike. If I could push as hard as I felt I could, then I could have been on pole! Now we will keep working to get the front end to work better and to have more grip at the rear. Then I’m convinced we will be able to ride a good race.”
Alessandro Tonucci, Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda: 7th, 1m 44.909s
“Since Brno we have found a really good way forward. In the wet yesterday we set a good pace and today we have improved some more. The bike is working well and I have to thank the whole team for their excellent teamwork. Tomorrow I want to prove how well we can do.”
Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: 11th, 1m 45.230s
“As you saw, the day didn’t go well. We are very far back on the grid and tomorrow will be a very difficult race. We will have to get a tremendous start, on the limit, in order to get as high up the order as possible on the opening lap. We don’t know what happened to us. I have to admit that I am not happy at all. My feeling wasn’t good, because we weren’t able to put in many laps in the only dry session. I hope to be able to gain an understanding from the little time that we spent on track. At least I am happy to have ridden well in the wet, because I haven’t felt that comfortable on a wet track since France.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Round 13: San Marino Qualifying
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
2Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
4Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
5Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
6Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
9Jonathan REA (Repsol Honda Team)
10Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
11Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
12Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
13Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
14Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
15Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
2Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
3Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
5Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
6Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
7Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
8Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2)
9Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
10Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
11Yuki TAKAHASHI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
12Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)
13Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)
14Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 Racing)
15Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
3Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
4Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)
6Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
7Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)
8Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)
9Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
10Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
11Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)
12Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)
13Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
14Brad BINDER (RW Racing GP)
15Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)

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