MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix from second on the grid after a brilliant comeback from a tumble during this afternoon’s qualifying session. MotoGP rookies Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) and Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V) also performed superbly, going fifth and seventh fastest.
Conditions at Aragon have been very similar to what they were Misano a fortnight ago: a wet track for the first three practice sessions, then a dry track for qualifying. Set-up time has therefore been extremely limited, with Pedrosa, Bradl and Rea all falling back on the data they gathered here during a test session at Aragon earlier in the month.
Pedrosa – who celebrates his 27th birthday today – was second fastest after the first three practice sessions and went into this afternoon’s hour-long outing aiming to score his second consecutive pole position. But his hopes were dented when he took a heavy tumble after just five minutes, losing the front as he braked for turn 14. It was an unexpected crash because Pedrosa was not pushing hard. Only minutes later another rider crashed at exactly the same spot, suggesting that cold track temperatures and a slippery ‘green’ track surface were the culprits.
With both his bike and his leathers damaged, Pedrosa returned to the pits to change leathers and climb aboard his second machine. At first he focused on getting his confidence back and securing a reasonably fast lap time to put him well up on the grid. Once he had done that then he began to push to the limit in search of pole. With three minutes to go he did go fastest, but with just seconds to go Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) sneaked ahead to take pole with a slender 0.088s advantage.
Bradl was once again up with the leaders throughout, finally taking fifth spot, which means he will start the race in the middle of the second row between Yamaha Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso. Like most riders Bradl rode with soft front and rear slicks this afternoon, due to the low temperatures, even though he usually prefers the extra support of Bridgestone’s harder compound front tyre.
Rea also had good reason to be happy with his day’s work, especially considering the changeable conditions. The Ten Kate Honda World Superbike rider made his MotoGP debut at the rain-hit Misano GP – substituting for injured World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) – which means he has had very little dry track time on a MotoGP machine. Luckily he had joined Pedrosa and Bradl for testing here in preparation for Misano.
Rea is in his fourth weekend of five consecutive race weekends, alternating between his Honda CBR1000RR superbike and Stoner’s RC213V MotoGP machine. Last weekend he rode his CBR to second place in the second race at the Portimao World Superbike round.
Stoner’s much-anticipated return is scheduled to take place at the next MotoGP round in Japan on October 14, six weeks after he underwent surgery on his right ankle, injured during a nasty qualifying crash at the Indianapolis GP.
Bautista was the only RC213V rider not to take part in the Aragon tests, and that lack of dry track time today cost the Spaniard who ended up 12th fastest. Like many riders he struggled to find grip on the slippery surface and he wasn’t prepared to push over the limit and risk a crash.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was happy enough with his progress to 15th position, which puts him third quickest in the CRT machine rankings.
Both Moto2 and Moto3 experienced similarly changeable conditions, with a complicated contrast between wet practice and dry qualifying. The ever-changing weather produced a surprise pole sitter in the Honda-powered Moto2 series – with Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) taking his first pole in the class. The Italian bettered Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) in his final lap by less than two tenths of a second.
Delighted by his first Moto2 pole, the former 125 GP winner is determined to turn around his 2012 season tomorrow. So far this year his best results have been three fifth-place finishes at Catalunya, Silverstone and Brno
Espargaro’s ride to second place today may turn out to be crucial in his efforts to close the gap on Moto2 title leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter). Espargaro will be aiming to get away with the leaders tomorrow while Marquez has to fight his way through the pack after qualifying seventh, his worst grid position of the year.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) took the last place on the front row after outpacing Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex) and others by a fraction of a second. As usual, the Moto2 grid is tightly packed with 1.2s covering the fastest 19 riders.
Marquez threw everything at getting closer to the front, his machine going wildly sideways as he exited the final turn at the very end of the session. The series leader will start the race from the third row, but he has proved on many occasions that he is more than capable of getting to the front, regardless of his position in the early laps.
Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) was Honda’s top qualifier in the Moto3 category, the Italian teenager clocking the fourth fastest time to put him at the head of the second row.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) will start the race from the other end of row two in sixth spot. The Spanish teenager currently lies second in the World Championship standings and needs a good result tomorrow if he is to keep series leader Sandro Cortese (KTM) in sight. Cortese qualified third fastest today, behind KTM riders Jonas Folger and Luis Salom.
Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) was seventh quickest this afternoon and will start the race from the middle of the third row, alongside Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda).
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Jonathan REA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|8||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|9||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|10||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|11||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|15||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|1||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|2||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|3||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|4||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|5||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|6||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|7||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|8||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|9||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|10||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|11||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|12||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|14||Axel PONS (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|15||Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 Racing)|
|1||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|2||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|3||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|5||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Maverick VIÑALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|7||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|8||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|9||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|10||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|11||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|12||Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|13||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|14||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|15||Juan Francisco GUEVAR (Wild Wolf BST)|