2011 Silverstone MotoGP Saturday Press Releases

The press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying on Saturday at Silverstone:


Crutchlow to miss home race, heroic Edwards seventh

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team suffered another cruel injury blow today after it was confirmed Cal Crutchlow will miss his all-important home MotoGP round at Silverstone with a broken left collarbone.

The home crowd favourite was just starting his third lap of this afternoon's qualifying session when he lost control of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team YZR-M1 machine on the entry to the second corner.

He landed heavily on his left shoulder and was immediately assessed by trackside medical staff before he was transferred to the Silverstone Medical Centre. He was diagnosed with a broken left collarbone and concussion. The crash will unfortunately prevent the 25-year-old from starting tomorrow's 20-lap British Grand Prix and he will now commence a period of rest and recuperation to regain fitness ahead of the next round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship in Assen, Holland.

Crutchlow's injury comes just eight days after team-mate Colin Edwards broke his right collarbone in a practice crash for the Catalunya race in Spain. The American was passed fit to ride in Silverstone and he produced a heroic performance this afternoon to secure a brilliant eighth position on the grid.

Brave Edwards shrugged off the persistent pain from a rib injury he also suffered in the Catalunya crash to set a best time of 2.04.508 to finish ahead of several riders in much better physical shape than the popular 37-year-old.

He modified the settings of his YZR-M1 machine to help him get more comfortable in the hard braking zone and is confident he can fight for a top ten finish tomorro w.

Colin Edwards 8th 2.04.508 – 14 laps:

"My shoulder feels pretty much perfect but my ribs are killing me and that's the biggest issue at the moment. I feel worse physically than I did yesterday but when I crashed at Catalunya I pulled some of the muscle away from my ribs and I'm finding it hard to do anything. If I breathe, cough, sneeze or do anything it hurts. So on the bike I just don't have the strength I need to flick the bike in the fast changes of direction. I've got to take my time and be nice and smooth, but to get on the third row is a great result considering this time last week I was lying in a hospital in Barcelona with my right collarbone smashed to pieces. I'm feeling confident for the race but I know it is going to be a big effort. But I'll grit my teeth and do my best as always and show there's plenty of fight in this old dog. I was determined to ride this weekend for the Team. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 are awesome and they've been an unbelievable support to me in the past few years. So I want to race and get a good result for them more than anything. I'm gutted too for Cal. I know what he's going through unfortunately and I'm really sorry that he's going to miss his home race. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back giving me a hard time on track in Assen."

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:

"Cal's injury is a very big disappointment and I feel really sorry for him because he was desperate to do well in his home race here at Silverstone. He's been fast all weekend, so we had high hopes that he could get a good place on the grid and be challenging for the top six in the race. But track conditions were quite cold and it was obvious from looking at the TV pictures that the ty re wasn't up to temperature. He is in pain right now but I think he is more upset than anything else because he wanted to put on a good show for the British fans. A lot of people have come to support him and he didn't want to let anybody down. Our luck seems to have completely deserted us at the moment when you think it was only eight days ago that Colin broke his right collarbone. I suppose the only small consolation for Cal is that Colin was back on the bike less than a week later, so we are optimistic that Cal will be back for the next race at Assen. Colin has produced a super human effort to qualify on the third row and his courage and determination has been an inspiration to everybody in the whole Team. At one stage it looked like he might even finish in the top six, which would have been a great reward for him and his Team."


Stoner on a roll with pole and new lap record at Silverstone

Round 6: British GP – Qualifying

Silverstone Circuit, Saturday 11 June 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner scorched to his fourth pole position of the season at Silverstone today, using the harder front and softer rear Bridgestone slicks to post a lap 1.3seconds faster than last year's pole record.

Conditions today were fine and dry and the laptimes were fast: the top five riders were all faster than last year's pole position record. As the track temperature reached a weekend high of 33 degrees Celsius, every rider used the harder front and softer rear for their best laps, though even using the hard rear Stoner's pace was faster than the existing lap record demonstrating good tyre performance this weekend.

The final two places on the front row were hotly contested in the closing minutes of the hour-long qualifying session as Marco Simoncelli and Jorge Lorenzo traded places with each lap. Simoncelli finally beat the World Champion to second position on the grid by just 0.029seconds, meaning the top three are covered by just 0.217seconds.

The second row of the grid for tomorrow's race comprises Ben Spies, Andrea Dovizioso and Karel Abraham who achieved his best MotoGP qualifying position. Colin Edwards, who broke his collarbone just last Friday in Catalunya, qualified 8th today just behind fellow American Nicky Hayden. Unfortunately, on his third lap of the session Brit Cal Crutchlow crashed and fractured his left collarbone, forcing him to miss his home race.

Whilst conditions today were good, the forecast for tomorrow is for rain showers arriving at the circuit at lunchtime, just before the MotoGP race which gets underway at 1300hrs local time.

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

"I am pleased with performance today as the laptimes were very fast. The conditions were better today than last year but nevertheless it is impressive that Casey's pole lap is 1.3seconds faster than Jorge's pole time last year. With a full day of dry running, riders have used both the harder and softer front and rear slick options and I can say that all are working well – the soft fronts which are part of our revised tyre selection for Silverstone this year worked well this morning in the cool conditions, and we saw in qualifying how well the harder option worked. With the rears, every rider favoured the softer option for their attack laps but Casey could still lap under the lap record using a harder rear with race-distance on it so I am happy with durability and consistency. We also know from yesterday afternoon that wet tyre performance is good here, so although tomorrow's conditions are likely to be mixed we are in a good position with our tyre selection and all riders have experience in both conditions. I'd like to wish Cal a speedy recovery after his crash today – it is very sad that he will miss his home race tomorrow and I hope he can return soon."


Third row for Bautista at a chilly Silverstone

Publish Date: Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista will start the team's home Grand Prix at Silverstone from the third row of the grid after qualifying in ninth place today.

Bautista (2'04.520, 25 laps) again produced a solid day's work on his Suzuki GSV-R and made constant improvements to find the optimum set-up for tomorrow's race. As this afternoon's qualifying drew to a close he pushed hard to improve on his lap-time, but got caught up in traffic and had to settle for a place on the third row, even though his potential showed he could have qualified higher.

The weather at Silverstone looks like playing a very important part this weekend. After the wet/dry session of yesterday, both of today's sessions were held in dry conditions, but this afternoon saw air temperatures only reach 17ºC and a strong breeze made it feel even cooler. Pole position went to Casey Stoner on a Honda, as the Australian secured his fourth pole of the season.

Tomorrow's 20-lap British Grand Prix gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (14.00hrs GMT), but with heavy rain forecast to arrive in the area of the circuit at around race-time, it could present a whole new lot of variables for Bautista and the rest of the MotoGP field.

Álvaro Bautista:

"Today we have been able to do both sessions in the dry conditions, so that has been good for us to test many things. I started this morning with the same setting as I had yesterday morning and I immediately felt a lot more comfortable today than I did on Friday. We were able to try the bike with a couple of different settings to make it shorter or longer - I preferred the longer set-up because this track has fast corners and you need more stability. I tried the front hard tyre this afternoon because the soft one this morning was a bit difficult to turn in some corners and I was also able to get a good rhythm with the used tyres today, so that is an important thing for the race. I think I could have improved my lap-time at the end, but I got in some traffic and was never able to follow someone faster than me. I am happy being on the third row, but I think our potential is better than that. The weather says it could rain, but I think we have a good setting for that from yesterday. Whatever happens I want to get a good start and get with the group in front and I'm sure I will be able to improve my rhythm and times. I am pleased with what we have done here this year, because in 2010 I had a bad feeling and wasn't even able to put my knee down! This year it is a good sign that the bike has improved so much because I now feel comfortable and confident on it. I think we have made a good step forward and I am looking forward to the race."

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

"It is a sign of Álvaro coming back to full fitness that we are all a little disappointed with the third row! We all believe that he and the Suzuki GSV-R could have been in the high 2'03s if we'd found a better track position and put together a slightly better lap. The front few guys are a long way away, but wet or dry we want to be in the fight for the top-six tomorrow and Álvaro has the ability to make that happen.

"As a UK based team, everyone at Rizla Suzuki would like to pass our wishes for a very quick recovery to Call Crutchlow. It's never nice to hurt yourself, but at your home Grand Prix it must be very upsetting – get well soon Cal."


HÉCTOR BARBERÁ FOCUSES ON RACE PACE IN MOTOGP QUALIFYING

MAPFRE Aspar will start from eleventh on MotoGP grid after working on consistency.

There was a certain air of deja vu at Silverstone on Saturday. Stoner was the strongest rider in both the morning and afternoon sessions, taking pole for the British Grand Prix with his afternoon run. Simoncelli and Lorenzo pushed him close, but haven't yet been able to catch the Australian. It was a close call in the afternoon session, and Stoner only held onto pole position by a tenth of a second from the Italian and two tenths from the Spaniard. Sunday's race looks to have a similar script to that of last week at Montmeló although rain could open up the field and break up the dominance of the front row trio. Forecasts predict a 70% chance of rain after 11am. The MotoGP gris is once again down to fifteen, with Pedrosa out injured and Crutchlow also fracturing his collarbone in the qualifying session.

Héctor Barberá will start from eleventh on the grid. Despite it not being an optimal placing, the MAPFRE Aspar rider is very motivated for the race. He has reason to be cheerful once more after a disappointing weekend at Montmeló. Instead of looking for a speedy single lap, the Spaniard has been working on race pace and has been going round in the 2'05 range. Feeling comfortable on his Ducati, Barberá is ready for whatever the weather throws at him and will look to make a charge up the order on Sunday.

12th Héctor Barberá 2.05.164 (23 laps): "It has been a strange day, in which I could have got a better grid position. I want to focus on the positive side, which is that we are close to sixth place. I think that this is where we can finish tomorrow, based on our pace and consistency over the past two days. Although the result hasn't been great today, I feel very comfortable on my Ducati. I am convinced that we can get a good finish tomorrow. We will have to make some changes if it rains, but even though I would prefer a dry race I think that we are prepared. I will wait until tomorrow to show what I can do. We have found a good setting and are ready to race. I have managed to put in a lot of laps and am really motivated."


Successful Qualifying in Silverstone for Lorenzo and Spies

Today's qualifying session for tomorrow's Silverstone GP came to a successful conclusion for both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies this afternoon. The second day of the British round of the World Championship was graced with sunshine, allowing the riders to finalise a good dry set up. The Yamaha Factory Racing riders were quick from the start in the morning's final free practice session, wrapping it up with Spies in third and Lorenzo in fourth.

Qualifying followed in the afternoon, both riders again enjoying a dry track as they evaluated tyres for tomorrow's race should it be dry. At one point Lorenzo and Spies were threatening to deliver a double Yamaha front row; finally settling at the end of the session for a front row third and second row fourth respectively in a mirror of their Barcelona start positions.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 3rd Time: 2'02.237 Laps: 24

"I am very happy because tomorrow we will start from the first row and today we got a lot closer to the Hondas. I rode at a very high level today and I'm ready and focused for the race. I will do my best to make a good start tomorrow and fight for the front. At this moment our weapon is consistency. You try many things some days and some days you find a solution like today. I don't know if it is enough to fight for victory but we will give our best. I'm very proud of my crew, they really worked hard to deliver a great package for qualifying!"

Ben Spies

Position : 4th Time: 2'02.677 Laps: 19

"It was a good day today, we made some improvements to the bike and then tried some different tyres to evaluate and see if they are going to be race tyres for tomorrow if it's dry. Qualifying went well, when we tried to nail our fast lap we didn't quite get it all in there, I left out a couple of tenths but they wouldn't have moved me further up anyway, just a bit closer to Jorge. I gave it my maximum and we're starting in a good position so we need to get a good start and of course see what the weather is going to do!"

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"I'm pretty happy with the qualifying session today, the bike improved a lot compared to this morning and yesterday. We found the right way to progress and Jorge improved his riding quite a bit as well. The team worked hard between the two sessions and made a step on the bike so for dry conditions we are ready to race. We are 0.2 behind pole which is the closest we have been all year apart from Estoril. This is especially good considering the length of the track."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"Overall we should be satisfied with the second day. We have our riders on the first and second row and we led part of the practice. We've got a good pace and I think we did a good job today, the team worked really hard. We're confident and I think we can get good results. Tomorrow I think it's going to rain but we saw yesterday that in the wet conditions we can be quick so we'll see what happens."


ELIAS 14TH AT DARKENING SILVERSTONE GP QUALIFYING

Silverstone, 11 June: todays' second day of practices at Silverstone circuit was held in dry conditions despite some cloudy skies and low temperatures (32° on the asphalt) with Stoner setting the fastest lap time in the afternoon qualifying session (2'02.020) ahead Simoncelli and Lorenzo.

The 60-minute qualifying at the 5.902 km race track saw the LCR Honda racer Toni Elias posting the 14th lap time (2'05.862) despite a crash in the first half of the session. The Iberian rider escaped unhurt from the incident and continued to ride on soft tyres using a new suspension link. Elias could not make the most of his RCV but obtained some small improvements so far.

Elias – 14th - 2'05.862: "Despite the crash and the lap time we obtained some small improvements using a new suspension link that makes me more stable now. Obviously the crash has spoiled our TO DO list for the qualifying session but I am lucky I am unhurt: I was lapping on hard rear tyre pushing a bit too much and I crashed out. Honestly I do not feel very comfortable in the dry so I am hoping to race in the wet tomorrow because it seems we have found a good direction".


Stoner roars to fourth pole of the year with Dovizioso on the second row

Casey Stoner left nothing to chance this afternoon and scored his fourth pole of the season and thirtieth of his career (26 in MotoGP class) at the Silverstone circuit, which will tomorrow host the sixth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. Team mate Andrea Dovizioso will start on the second row of the grid, in fifth position.

The Australian Repsol Honda rider completed a stunningly fast lap seven minutes before the end of the qualifying session. His 2'02.020 lap was 1.2 seconds quicker than the 2010 pole position set by Jorge Lorenzo. However, Stoner's pace is not only impressive on the flying lap but also for race pace: in the one hour qualifying practice, he completed 5 laps under the 2010 pole position and 8 laps under the circuit record (2'03.526).

Andrea Dovizioso has tried to make the most of today's two sessions in dry conditions to take another step forward. The Italian, who scored a second place finish here in 2010, has improved his time from yesterday by more than 1.5 seconds and he will fight for the podium from the second row on the grid.

CASEY STONER – 1st 2'02.020

"Everything has gone really well this weekend, we were lucky it stayed dry for qualifying but it doesn't look so good for tomorrow. We've been competitive in each session and in various weather so I hope we have prepared ourselves for the race tomorrow, whatever the conditions. We haven't changed too much from the set up we had in Barcelona and this afternoon was important for us to see what we could get from the hard tyre, what our pace is and if we can find some more edge grip, and we definitely found some more traction so I'm very happy with how everything is working at the moment. For the pole position we changed the set up and balance of the bike a little and on my best lap I closed the front a few times and wasn't so confident with the balance, so I feel lucky to have got the pole but for sure it's the best way to start the Grand Prix. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow but I love this track and love this part of the UK and I'm really happy to be here!"

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th 2'03.212

"Compared to this morning's practice we improved the bike and I had quite a good feeling with my machine. We worked on the set up to have more control especially over the bumps and the different track surfaces. After 10 laps we managed a 2'03.8 with the hard tyres, which is not too bad. In the afternoon we were faster, but the others also improved a lot. We need to analyse the data and understand in which areas we can work to gain some tenths. Tomorrow we will begin from the second row and it will be very important to have a good start and maintain contact with the riders at the front."


DE PUNIET MISSES THIRD ROW. CAPIROSSI ON FIFTH ROW

The starting grid for the sixth round of the MotoGP world championship, at Silverstone, was finalized during this afternoon's qualifying session. Compared to the last free-practice session, the Pramac Racing Team riders lowered their respective times in qualifying. Randy De Puniet, who tomorrow will start from the fourth row, posted the tenth-best time, stopping the clock at 2'04.589, missing ninth place by just a few thousandths. Loris Capirossi also improved his time by a second, but rider No. 65 will start from the fifteenth spot, on the fifth row. Meanwhile, tomorrow's forecast calls for rain at Silverstone, a factor that could affect the race to the possible advantage of Pramac Racing Team.

Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet's Track Engineer

"Randy was really good today. All the Ducatis are going through a difficult period, and after all, we're only 3 or 4 tenths from Abraham's Ducati, which qualified sixth. We're also close to Hayden, who did the same times as last year's MotoGP round, while the others took a big step forward. For tomorrow we're planning a different solution for the bike's front end; we'll try it in the warm-up and see if we can do a good job of improving the feeling in the wet."

Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Team – 10th, 2'04.589

"It was a challenging, difficult day. We changed a number of things between this morning and this afternoon, for qualifying. I managed to improve my best time, but my goal was to be a bit higher. We're still far from the others that should be within reach. Tomorrow I'll try everything to finish in the top ten, maximum top eight. All the Ducatis are having many problems here at Silverstone, so I think I'll have to give more than 100% to reach my goal. Today everyone on the team did our best, and our best, unfortunately, was only tenth place. Tomorrow, with the rain, we'll try to prepare the bike as well as we can."

Loris Capirossi - Pramac Racing Team – 15th, 2'06.256

"We had a very hard time today and yesterday. In the afternoon, during qualifying, we went faster, improving our best lap time, but not enough. I wasn't able to go fast, and this is probably my fault. It wasn't a good performance. At the end of the session, we put on new tires to try to improve the situation, but the back of the bike was hopping and there was nothing to do. Maybe the rain tomorrow will help us for the race."


Karel Abraham claims fantastic start from the second row on the grid

Karel Abraham will start the Grand Prix of Great Britain from the sixth position on the grid after he produced fantastic performance in the qualifying.

Riding on board his Ducati Desmosedici GP11, the Cardion AB Motoracing rider completed 23 laps and produced stunning final lap of 2.04,151 to claim the best qualifying result of the season.

"Honestly, I didn't expect that I will be able to set such a great time," said Karel Abraham, who defeated both Ducati factory riders and former world champions Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi by 0,153 and 1,630 seconds respectively. The Czech motorcycle rider also became the best rider on board Ducati Desmosedici GP11. "I am very satisfied with this result."

Most of the time spent Karel Abraham fighting with other riders for the tenth and eleventh place. But then he made significant progress and improved his time by more than one second.

"I knew that I am able to set fast and consistent lap times, but until today I wasn't able to push enough in the last moments of the qualifying," continued Karel Abraham, who set his best time just before the time of the qualifying for the Grand Prix of Great Britain expired.

"I will be very nervous at the start of the race," concluded Karel Abraham, hoping for the good result for him and his team Cardion AB Motoracing.


FRONT ROW AT SILVERSTONE FOR SECOND-PLACED SIMONCELLI

Marco Simoncelli fantastic weekend at Silverstone continued on Saturday. He improved upon his Friday time and pulled closer to Casey Stoner at the British circuit. Second on the grid was his reward, in a more ‘solid' ride than his qualifying run in Barcelona that earned him pole. The only variable that causes concern is the weather, but ‘Super Sic' is ready to take his first podium in MotoGP with a good race on Sunday. Hiroshi Aoyama also improved his times, as he looks to gain more confidence with his Honda RC212V at Silverstone.

Marco Simoncelli (2nd 2' 02" 208) "I am decidedly happier with second place here at Silverstone than with pole position in Barcelona. I had a good lap in Spain, but wasn't as fast in general as I am this weekend. I managed to go round in the high 2'00's today on the hard tyre. Now we have to find out what the weather will do tomorrow, but I feel ready to fight for the podium and even the win in wet or dry conditions. I am confident and hope to acheive one of my main goals for the season."

Hiroshi Aoyama (11th 2' 04" 919) "I rode better than yesterday and have more confidence on the bike, although my grid position isn't excellent. We made some changes that have been relatively positive and that have improved grip. I hope that tomorrow I can improve my lap times and have a good race. Everything is obviously going to depend on the rain, and the predictions are that the weather will not be at all good."

Fausto Gresini "Marco is riding well here and the team have done a great job. We had some difficulties in the fourth section yesterday, something that we have improved today. Second place and a front row start is a big step forward. Marco looks more relaxed here than last weekend in Spain, which is another positive. He and the HRC mechanics have worked hard and deserve a good result. Aoyama has ridden well too, because he has some bad memories of the track from last year when he crashed. He is more confident today and I'm sure that he will have another good race."


DIFFICULT SILVERSTONE QUALIFYING FOR THE DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi qualified with the seventh- and thirteenth-best times, respectively, for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Although it was his best qualifying performance so far this season, the American had hoped to build on his strong Friday performance and qualify on the second row.

Valentino Rossi and the team weren't able to find a good setup for the English circuit. The Italian lacks experience from last year and was only able to ride in good weather conditions in today's two sessions, though without finding enough feeling to decisively improve his performance.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 7th, 2:04.304

"Although we had problems, this is my best qualifying position of the year, but to be two seconds off is too much. We tried some options to get it better, but from my first outing of the weekend, we haven't really gone much faster. We tried stuff to make it better—maybe we tried to do too much—and we haven't improved. Certainly the front isn't good over the bumps, and the rear is spinning a lot and moving around. It was pretty frustrating, really, but I hope for rain tomorrow. Doing 20 laps in the wet around here wouldn't be easy, but I think it would help our chances."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 2:05.781

"It's been a very difficult day—actually, a very difficult weekend. We were a long way off Friday, but in a way it was understandable since I didn't know the track. Today, though, I had hoped to do much better, but we only lowered our time by one second, while the others cut two. The gap is considerable, and we're even having trouble compared to the other Ducatis, so evidently we haven't managed to work well at this track. I'm having difficulty riding, I'm slow on corner entry, and I'm not able to take the lines I want. We found many things with the bike's settings, but without making progress. They're saying it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so we'll see. I don't think we can be as competitive in the wet as we have been on other tracks, but it would probably be a bit better than dry. Anyway, we have to do the best with what we have."


2011

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