MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix from second on the grid after coming within 0.194s of scoring pole position at tropically hot and humid Sepang this afternoon. Team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) was also in the fight for a front-row start today, finishing the session fourth fastest.
Impressive Pedrosa is very much the man of the moment – having won four of the last five races, including the last two from second on the grid – and will be doing everything he can to score another victory tomorrow and further close the gap on World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who will start from pole.
Pedrosa believes he may well have had the pace to be quickest today, but for a return of the tyre chatter issues that have dogged him at many circuits this season. The Spaniard had similar issues at Motegi last weekend, but his crew was able to largely resolve them in time for the race, which he dominated.
However, the chatter seems worse than ever here because of the nature of the Sepang circuit, which has always created this phenomenon. Pedrosa is not the only one suffering – all the fast riders have complained of chatter, a high-frequency vibration that can lead to a sudden loss of grip in the corners.
This is Stoner’s second race since returning from the nasty right ankle injury he sustained at August’s Indianapolis GP and he has done brilliantly to qualify less than half a second off pole. The injury was a major handicap in Japan last weekend, but is less so here, though it is still causing him problems, especially on the exit of right-handers because the ankle joint has only minimal movement. Stoner is also battling chatter and believes he would be significantly faster without the problem.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) was another who complained of chatter, which hurt him most on new grippy tyres. The young German rookie worked with his crew to exorcise the problem, but ultimately had to do his best to ride around it.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) qualified tenth after sliding off in the crucial late stages of qualifying when he was riding hard to get closer to the front of the grid. A superb third at Motegi, Bautista is lacking rear grip here.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was 15th fastest this afternoon, putting him 15th overall and making him third fastest of the CRT machines. He too had issues with chatter.
The weather has been changeable here, with a tropical downpour hitting yesterday afternoon’s MotoGP session, though the Honda-powered Moto2 series has had the worst of the rain with FP2 and FP3 both run on a wet track.
Moto2 qualifying was dry, however, and dominated by Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Movil HP 40-Kalex) who was nearly half a second faster than anyone else. Winner of the recent Aragon Motor race, Espargaro has to win here if Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) is not to wrap up the title with two races remaining.
Marquez was third quickest today, still working to get his machine to his liking. The championship leader ended the session 0.167s behind second-fastest qualifier Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) who predicts a tough race with a lot of wheelspin.
Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex) leads the second row, just ahead of Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3). Motegi podium finisher Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) is at the head of row three, where he will be joined by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) and Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR).
French Grand Prix winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) was top Honda-powered rider in Moto3 qualifying, the Frenchman ending the session a close fourth quickest, just 0.082s off the front row. This is Rossi’s best qualifying performance since he started the Catalan Grand Prix from the front row of the grid in June.
Rossi – who has received an engine upgrade from Honda – was followed by Spaniards Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) and Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) who were sixth and seventh aboard their Honda-powered FTR machines.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) will start from the third row, while Adrian Martin (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) was tenth quickest to lead row four. Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini Moto3– FTR Honda) and Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI – FTR Honda) head row four after qualifying 12th and 13th.
Championship contender Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) took no part in the event, having left the paddock on Friday morning after a disagreement with his team.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|7||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|8||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|9||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|11||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|15||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti Movil HP 40)|
|2||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Marc MARQUEZ (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol)|
|4||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|5||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|6||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|7||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti Movil HP 40)|
|8||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|9||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|10||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|11||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|12||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|13||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|14||Mike DI MEGLIO (Kiefer Racing)|
|15||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|1||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|2||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|3||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|5||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|6||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|7||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|8||Brad BINDER (RW Racing GP)|
|9||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|10||Adrian MARTIN (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|11||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|12||Niccolò ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|13||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|14||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|15||Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|