MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Local hero Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) set a new circuit record at blazing hot Catalunya this afternoon to take pole position for tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix, one-third distance in this year’s MotoGP World Championship.
Another local Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) recorded his best qualifying performance of the season, taking fourth on the grid, just 0.148 seconds off the front row. Pedrosa’s team-mate Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) will also start from the second row, after qualifying sixth for his first premier-class race at Catalunya.
Pedrosa’s storming lap at this magnificent circuit outside Barcelona was an exercise in perfection and he rates it as one of the best of his life. The lap was almost three tenths inside Casey Stoner’s pole record, established in 2008, the last year of qualifying tyres. Pole position gives the former 125 and 250 World Champion the opportunity for a great start in his home race, which he will start as World Championship leader for the first time in his premier-class career. Tomorrow’s race will also be Pedrosa’s 200th Grand Prix event.
As always, Pedrosa has focused most of his attention on achieving the best-possible race-long performance. This is particularly important in sweltering weather – the track temperature today was 52 degrees – when riders know they will have to deal with a real drop-off in tyre performance during the race. Catalunya is very demanding for tyres, with many long corners that put riders on the very edge of the tyres for long periods of time.
Bautista was delighted with his fourth place, while also being slightly disappointed to miss the front row by such a slender margin. His previous best grid position of the year was sixth at Jerez. Last year Bautista scored his first premier-class pole at Silverstone.
Following a torrid Italian GP two weeks ago, Marquez has been steadily getting up to speed since practice got underway yesterday morning. As usual the 20-year-old has had to learn his way around the track on a MotoGP bike. Sixth fastest yesterday he proved his ability to learn and move forward by going fastest this morning, to end the first three practice sessions on top. However, the reigning Moto2 World Champion couldn’t quite reproduce that performance in qualifying, ending the 15-minute session 0.949 seconds behind his team-mate. Marquez was the fourth Catalan rider in the top six today.
During the first three practice sessions Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) was on impressive form, lapping just four tenths off the front-running pace. Qualifying didn’t go quite so well for the young German who ended the session in tenth, though only 0.248 seconds off the second row. Nevertheless he knows he has a good race pace and is therefore confident for tomorrow.
MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had a good morning session on his CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike, which gave him some confidence for qualifying. He wasn’t able to find the step forward he needed, however, leaving him 22nd fastest.
Moto2 pole position man Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) will be hoping that his first pole since the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix will be the start of a change of fortune for him. Another Catalan, who lives just five kilometres from Catalunya, Espargaro is currently fifth on points in the Honda-powered series, 47 points down on Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), so he’s hoping he can start clawing back some points tomorrow.
Redding goes into the Catalan round with a big points lead after winning the last two races, a performance that makes him the first Briton to win back-to-back Grand Prix races since Barry Sheene in 1977. Today he was second quickest in qualifying, six tenths behind Espargaro, whose team-mate Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) was third, a further 0.047 seconds down.
Le Mans pole man Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) was fourth quickest to head the second row, ahead of Alex De Angelis ((NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up) and Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter). Row three is Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), Randy Krummenacher (Technomag carXpert Suter) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact P Kalex). Today was a big step forward for reigning Moto3 World Champion Cortese, whose previous best Moto2 qualifying performance was 13th.
Spaniard Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) was Honda’s top qualifier in the Moto3 class, recording seventh fastest time in the first qualifying session of the day. The 19-year-old will therefore head the third row, which is an all-Honda affair, with Australian Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) and Italian Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) lining up alongside in eighth and ninth.
Frenchman Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) completed the top ten to lead the fourth row, just a fraction of a second ahead of 12th fastest Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda). Alessandro Tonucci (Team La Fonte Tasca Racing Honda) and Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda) were 14th and 15th.
Pole position went to Luis Salom, by a margin of 0.326 seconds from fellow KTM rider Alex Rins. World Championship leader Maverick Vinales (KTM) ended up fifth after suffering engine problems.
|1||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|3||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|4||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|5||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|6||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|7||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|8||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|10||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|11||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Ducati Test Team)|
|15||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|2||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|4||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|5||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|6||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|7||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|8||Randy KRUMMENACHER (Technomag carXpert)|
|9||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|10||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)|
|11||Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|12||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Marcel SCHROTTER (Desguaces La Torre SAG)|
|14||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|15||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|1||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|3||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|4||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|6||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|7||Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|8||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|9||Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|10||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|11||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|13||Livio LOI (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|14||Alessandro TONUCCI (La Fonte Tascaracing)|
|15||Alan TECHER (CIP Moto3)|