Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Brno:
Lorenzo Delivers Front Row for Brno Grand Prix
Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo put maximum effort into this afternoon's qualifying session, delivering second place and a front row start ahead of Championship rival Casey Stoner for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Czech Republic. The reigning World Champion was one of the fastest riders for the duration of the session, benefiting from improvements to his set up with a more stable YZR-M1 allowing him to pressure the competition at the top. Lorenzo led the session for a brief time and at the end of the session had missed pole by just 0.113 seconds.
Ben Spies put in a superhuman effort to secure fourth and a second row start for tomorrow's race despite suffering a numb arm from a trapped nerve which hampered his ability to brake and turn the bike. The Texan had been running as high as second, just 0.061 from first in the last 15 minutes but was unable to hold on to his front row start at the end. He will continue to work with Clinica Mobile this evening for more physio in advance of tomorrow's race.
Whilst qualifying was dry, the riders endured a wet final free practice in the morning, giving them an opportunity to find a good wet set up should tomorrow's race bring rain. Lorenzo dominated the session with his revised set up, finishing in second just 0.005 seconds from the front. Spies took it easy for the morning, saving his strength for the qualifying practice and finishing the final free session in tenth, 0.768 from first.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'56.704 Laps: 25
"Yesterday things weren't like we expected but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable. The lap time improved from that and we got a lot closer to Dani today and finished in front of Casey. The pace in the last laps was quite good so we're happy. Big thanks to my team who worked hard to improve the bike. Tomorrow we aim for the podium or if it is possible to win the race."
Position : 4th Time: 1'57.178 Laps: 23
"Today honestly went a lot better than expected, we're at least in a good starting position for tomorrow. I'm not 100% confident about the race and what we can do but we've shown we've got the speed and the bike is good enough for top five. We'll do the best we can, I'm not going to make any promises but I know I've got at least half a good race in me. If we get some good rest tonight then hopefully we'll get lucky and catch a break and be good for it. We're optimistic, the bike is working well and the speed is there, I just hope I can be there too. I need to say a big thank you to all the guys at Clinica Mobile who are working hard this weekend to keep me in the game."
"A very good qualifying, we're happy with second place and we're close to Pedrosa. The final result of the setting changes we made is also good which is what counts for the race. Of course we would have liked pole but there's less pressure when you don't have it! Jorge was very consistent in the 1'56s so a big improvement from yesterday and tyres are no problem for us. Let's see what we can do tomorrow."
"I think Ben did a good job today considering his condition this morning. Starting the race form second row is very helpful, now we have to see how his endurance is. We are working with Clinica Mobile to make it possible to ride; he has to do the rest by himself. He is happy with the bike set up and tyre choice so let's see. Jorge did a great practice as usual, very impressive. His pace is very good so for sure tomorrow he will be there to fight for the win."
Edwards and Crutchlow set sights on double top 10 in Brno
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow are optimistic they can both fight for top 10 result in the 22-lap Czech Republic MotoGP race after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo impressed during this afternoon's qualifying session at the Brno circuit.
Edwards will start from the middle of the third row in eighth position, the American brilliantly capitalising on a range of set-up modifications to his YZR-M1 machine to post a best time of 1.57.676.
The popular 37-year-old was able to run consistently inside the top 10 for the entire session, the set-up changes drastically improving front and rear grip to allow Edwards to qualify leading non-factory rider once again in 2011.
His best time was just over 0.3s away from the second row and the Texan is now confident he can challenge for his first ever top six finish at the Brno circuit in tomorrow's race, which is the 11th round of this year's MotoGP World Championship.
Crutchlow too demonstrated his encouraging speed in the early part of the session, the British rider reaping the benefits of major front-end set-up changes to give him more turning performance. Crutchlow, who was an impressive seventh quickest in a rain-affected final practice session this morning, was able to run inside the top three at one stage, as he worked on fine-tuning the race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.
The 25-year-old seemed certain to challenge for a spot on the third row of the grid when a small mistake at Turn 10 resulted in an unfortunate crash with 12 minutes remaining.
Crutchlow sprinted back to the p its to jump on his second YZR-M1 bike, but he was unable to improve on his time of 1.57.797 and will start the race from 11th. The major front-end modifications though have boosted Crutchlow's confidence in full race trim and he is aiming to battle for a top seven finish tomorrow.
* After carefully considering the findings of a detailed independent report commissioned by Dorna into the possible risk of radiation contamination in the area surrounding the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team can confirm that unless there is a change in circumstances, they will compete in the Japanese MotoGP race on October 2.
Colin Edwards 8th 1.57.676 – 24 laps:
"I'm much happier today with the performance of the bike and I need to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew again for their incredible work. Yesterday I just wasn't comfortable at all and had no feeling with the front or rear of the bike. I told my crew what I was feeling on the track and it is up to them to interpret that and try and improve the bike. And today they did an absolutely awesome job and I had a much better package. I went from feeling like I was riding on marbles yesterday to having a lot of traction today and I felt much more comfortable. We actually just threw in last year's race set-up and even though I'm using a completely different chassis, it worked brilliantly, although I'm still 0.4s slower than last year. I'm not sure why that is. I'm not sure if the track lost some grip after the rain this morning because this afternoon in the dry my bike was so much better than yesterday, so I can't really compare. Looking at the calibre of the guys in front of me and what they are riding, I think to be completely realistic, I wouldn't be upset to finis h where I qualified."
Cal Crutchlow 11th 1.57.797 – 21 laps:
"I'm happy on one hand because we made a big change to the bike to help it turn better and it was a really good step. But I'm a little disappointed on the other hand because I made a silly little mistake that probably cost me the chance to get on the third row. We were making some good progress with the new front set-up and I was faster in the first two splits than my previous best lap when I just ran in too hot at Turn 10. I should have just ran into the gravel but I tried to make the corner, squeezed the brake a bit harder and down I went. It's one of those things when you're pushing hard against this level of competition but I've felt much better on the bike here this weekend. My times have been consistently on the edge of the top six and I felt I could have probably qualified sixth or seventh. My race pac e has been strong so I'm just looking forward to having a good race tomorrow and picking up valuable points."
Day to forget for Rizla Suzuki at Brno
Publish Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
Rizla Suzuki had its promising start to the weekend shattered at Brno today as firstly John Hopkins had to withdraw from the event and then Álvaro Bautista had a difficult qualifying session to leave him with a mountain to climb in tomorrow's race.
Bautista will start from the fifth row of the grid after he failed to make a competitive lap-time and will need one of his great starts to be able to challenge with the front-runners in tomorrow's race. He has a consistent race pace and was able to stay with other riders in the earlier part of the qualifying session, but was unable to put together a fast lap to move him up the grid as the session came to its climax.
Hopkins was forced to withdraw from the weekend's event following a crash in this morning's wet practice session. It has now been confirmed that he has broken three fingers on his right hand, but he will remain at Brno to support the team, before returning to America on Monday to have surgery to repair the damage.
Today's qualifying was held in dry, but overcast conditions with track temperatures reaching 30ºC. Dani Pedrosa took pole position on his Honda, with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo second and current championship leader Casey Stoner third.
Tomorrow's race is round 11 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and the excitement gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
"I am not happy with the qualifying because we just didn't get our best level today and we will have to start tomorrow near the back of the grid. My rhythm was not too bad when I followed other riders and I could stay with them, but to be able to do that in the race I have to make a good start again tomorrow and fight my way through. I can't say much more because I am just not happy with how things went today.
"It was not a good day for the whole team with John crashing this morning and breaking his fingers. I feel very sorry for him because he did well yesterday and it looked like he'd have a good race. MotoGP racing is not always what you want it to be and these things happen, but I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he's back soon."
"I guess disappointed is the only word that can sum up how I feel! I must apologise to the whole team for making such a stupid mistake out there this morning. It was the smallest crash under braking in the wet conditions and as I slid along I kept my hand on the ground to try and slow me down, but as soon as I hit the gravel it went in and mangled my hand right up. I've fractured three fingers on my right hand. The index and middle finger are just normal fractures that probably wouldn't have kept me off the bike, but the third finger has separated and split down the middle from the knuckle. It's not a case of pain, strength or anything like that, it's simply that I can't bend the finger or both bones could come through the skin, so it would have been impossible to hold on to the bike.
"I think things went very well yesterday and I had every intention of being able to make another step forward today. I believe that the GSV-R is every bit capable of a consistent top-six finish and I think it's a great machine. With the lack of seat time I've had, I don't think that I could have matched the potential of what the bike is capable of doing. I know I didn't yesterday and I think it still has another second a lap in it. I wish I could have gone out and achieved a good result for all involved and mainly to show Suzuki that they have a really good machine which has great potential.
"This is just another small setback in my journey to get back to full time MotoGP. I'll stay here the rest of the weekend and give my full support to the team and do whatever I can to express my gratitude to them for giving me this opportunity. This is not the last time you'll see me at a Grand Prix, I'm still destined to be back here, whether it's this year or next I don't know, but I will be back here!"
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"Grand Prix racing isn't easy and today showed that! Yesterday we were looking very strong with lap-times in the 57s and both riders in the top-10. Today John is in a cast and Álvaro's qualified 14th and almost half-of-a-second slower than yesterday afternoon. We did have an issue with a vibration at the end of the qualifying, but frankly speaking, we expected a much better time than that earlier in the session when he had a brand new set of tyres. We all know how well he can race, but if we don't qualify better we won't be able to improve the race result."
Pole position for Pedrosa for tomorrow's Czech Grand Prix
Round 11: Czech Republic GP – Qualifying
Automotodrom Brno, Saturday 13 August 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Wet compounds available: Front: Soft Rear: Soft
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa stormed to his first pole position of the season in Brno today with a final lap of the hour-long session that saw him dip under the existing lap record.
Using the extra hard compound front and the softer rear Bridgestone slicks, Pedrosa finished 0.11seconds ahead of Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo with Casey Stoner in third, another 0.15seconds adrift. Tomorrow's second row comprises Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi who leapt up the timesheets towards the end of the session.
Heavy rain earlier today soaked the circuit and meant that the morning's free practice was run on Bridgestone's wet tyres, but as the sun emerged the tarmac soon dried and conditions for qualifying were fine if not a little greasy at the start. This meant that some riders started the session using the hard compound front slicks, but it was the extra hard option that was favoured for its increased stability under braking and the heavy loads exerted by the undulating Brno circuit.
Under the new tyre regulations, riders were able to choose their split of rear tyre compounds after yesterday's two free practice sessions, instead of being given five of each compound as per the previous regulations. Every rider selected six of the softer option and four of the harder, giving each one more soft rear tyre than was available before the regulation change. Most riders used the softer rear for the duration of the session, some checking race-distance durability as they did so.
Tomorrow's race gets underway at 1400hrs local time, although there will only be 17 riders on the grid as John Hopkins has been ruled out of competition after a crash in FP3 in which he injured his right hand, breaking a finger and fracturing another. The forecast tomorrow suggests it will be fine and dry all day with no rain.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"This morning's conditions were tricky with a lot of rain falling that led to a great deal of standing water on the circuit. Riders spent the duration of the session on our wet tyres, but at least from this they were able to gain a lot of data about their wet setups. We could also see that even on a drying track our soft wet tyres had sufficient durability for the whole session and wear appearance was good. Unfortunately though in these conditions John Hopkins crashed and injured his hand, meaning he cannot race tomorrow which is a great shame. Conditions for this afternoon were fine and dry again, although the rain left the circuit a little more slippery than yesterday which is why the times are slightly slower than during FP1 and FP2. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm the race-distance durability of our softer option rear tyres during the session, and they are a viable option for tomorrow's 22 lap race in similar conditions."
SECOND ROW START FOR SIMONCELLI, AOYAMA ON THE FOURTH
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli was somewhat disappointed at the end of qualifying practice today, with a second row start certainly not reflecting the potential he had shown in free practice yesterday. The team will analyse the data tonight but it looks as though they will have to take a step backwards with the set-up, having lost an hour of dry time this morning in the wet final free practice. Hiroshi Aoyama was satisfied, however, the Japanese rider improving his confidence and pace to take another step forward into the top ten.
Marco Simoncelli (5th 1' 57" 351) "I am a little disappointed because we have gone slower than yesterday and not made the improvements we hoped for. Obviously the conditions didn't help because with the rain this morning the track surface was not in the best shape. Other riders have clearly struggled with it too but it seemed to particularly affect us. Now we need to look at why that was and try to put things right for tomorrow."
Hiroshi Aoyama (10th 1' 57" 784) "After the rain this morning we worked well this afternoon to find a decent set-up. I am satisfied because tenth place is a good position for us at the moment, especially because the gap to the riders at the front is smaller. We will try and make a few small changes in the morning that give us a little more pace in some sections. Overall I am happy and hopeful of a good race for me and the team, who have worked so hard. "
Fausto Gresini "Unfortunately Marco ran out of time a little in terms of working on the set-up and making the progress we had hoped for, but obviously the rain this morning was a factor in that. We tried a couple of things he didn't like and he wasn't able to improve on his best lap from yesterday. We need to take a step backwards with the set-up because he was happier before. Aoyama has had a good session and improved his feeling with the bike. He is not a long way from the front and is showing that is can be competitive again."
Pedrosa takes pole at Brno, with Stoner third and Dovizioso seventh
Tomorrow the Grand Prix of Czech Republic will mark the start of the second part of the 2011 season at the Brno circuit with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa in pole position. Casey Stoner will join him on the front row of the grid in third position and Andrea Dovizioso from third row in seventh position, after a very interesting qualifying session that was decided in the final 10 minutes.
After the third free practice this morning in wet conditions, the track was quite dirty and slippery for qualifying. However, the riders were able to continue improving the set up of their RC212V's and work on the pace before looking for the best position on the grid.
Dani has achieved his first pole of the season after showing impressive pace during the whole weekend so far, while Casey has made some steps forward to solving the issues he had yesterday in setting up his bike as he likes. Andrea Dovizioso slightly improved his lap time from yesterday, but he will be hoping to make a bigger step in the race tomorrow to fight for another podium.
DANI PEDROSA – 1st - 1'56.591
"It's my first pole of the year and also after a long time, so I'm very happy for that. The weekend has been pretty good for us so far, the bike is working well and I'm feeling good physically as well. We made only a few small changes on the bike and this allowed me to concentrate more on my riding, so let's hope we are able to keep the pace tomorrow and fight for a good result. This is the most important thing and we need to keep our feet on the ground because the rivals are close. I think we can still improve the bike a little, especially on the chassis side to have better grip, even though I guess that the rain this morning affected the conditions on track which made it more slippery".
CASEY STONER – 3rd - 1'56.860
"We hoped after yesterday that we could improve the feeling in the bike this morning but unfortunately it was a wet session, so we couldn't use it as we would have liked to. Also, the session didn't start too well with a fast crash in turn three which lost us some time and obviously dented my confidence a little. Then this afternoon we started to get a little more feedback from the bike, but all in all we didn't really make a big step forward or improve it significantly from yesterday's first session. We seem to be getting more and more chatter as the weekend progresses and the more I push the more it increases and the slower I get, so it's a little frustrating. I felt qualifying could have been better, we almost lapped with the same time on old and new tyres but in general we have a lot of work to do. We're obviously happy with front row, but we're not really where we want to be with t he bike and there is still a lot of work to do. We're looking forward to tomorrow and I'm sure we can find some improvements in time for the race".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 7th - 1'57.442
"After having struggled yesterday with the engine brake set up, today we went back to the old specification that we used up until the Italian Grand Prix. The rain fall from last night and this morning affected the track surface and this afternoon there was less grip and the references changed compared to yesterday. We will continue working, in particular on the front, because under braking we are on the limit. I also have to ride with more fluidity. We will keep on working also in the warm up to improve for the race. The pace is not so bad and it's not impossible to fight for the podium. The race will be hard, with many battles so it will be important to make a good start".
BARBERÁ CONFIDENT OF CHARGE FROM THIRTEENTH
Mistakes halt qualifying progress but MAPFRE Aspar rider remains optimistic
With close lap times throughout the field the MotoGP race looks set to be an exciting affair tomorrow at Brno, with Dani Pedrosa's clear dominance reduced to just a tenth of a second during qualifying this afternoon. The Spaniard lapped consistently in the 1'56s but Lorenzo and Stoner both broke the 1'57 mark to challenge for pole and state their intentions for tomorrow. Overall the lap times were slower than yesterday due to heavy rain showers this morning that left the track in below par condition.
Héctor Barberá was focused and determined throughout the second day of this Czech Republic Grand Prix although the MAPFRE Aspar rider was left to reflect on personal errors at the crucial point of the session that leave him thirteenth on the starting grid. Despite that setback Héctor remains confident in the set-up of his bike and optimistic about his chances of a strong fightback tomorrow.
13th Héctor Barberá 1.58.273 (21 laps): "To be honest I am not very satisfied with my performance today. I made mistakes on my last two laps, which were the most important ones. I could see that my position wasn't good so maybe I was too keen to make up positions but being optimistic it will be a long race and there are plenty of places to pass here so we have a good chance to fight back. I know I can give more than this and that we can improve the bike in the warm-up. We need to find four tenths to be fighting for a better position but if I get a good start and hang on I can set a good pace. The set-up is more or less sorted other than a couple of small details and the rest is down to me. We are some way back on the grid but I will be doing my best to turn it around."
ELIAS TAKES 12TH SPOT ON THE GRID AT BRNO GP QUALIFYING
Brno, 13 August: the premier class took to a dry track after the morning wet practice session and the 60-minute qualifying for the Czech Repulic Grand Prix saw HRC racer Pedrosa gaining the pole position with a time of 1'56.591.
After yesterday's afternoon improvements LCR Honda rider Toni Elias completed 23 laps on soft tyres at the 5.403km circuit, recording a best time of 1'58.245 and grabbing 12th place on the grid. This is the best qualifying position so far this year for the Moto2 Reigning World Champion and he is convinced he could have lapped even faster but this morning torrential rain has interrupted his TO DO list to fine tune the RCV.
Elias: "Obviously I am satisfied because this is my best position on the grid so far this year and with the small improvements we have obtained yesterday I could ride the bike with more confidence especially on the front. I had some more things to try this morning but the bad weather has interrupted my plan. Anyway we have already taken our decision about the front and rear tyre for tomorrow's race and we just need to fine tune the bike to confirm our overall package. This small adjustments make me confident for Monday test session as well".
BEST QUALIFYING SESSION OF SEASON FOR ROSSI, HAYDEN RECOVERS FOR NINTH
Valentino Rossi took sixth place in qualifying today at Brno, and his second-row starting spot for tomorrow's race is his best of the season. The Italian, who was also quite fast in the morning's wet free practice session, finishing third, worked with his team over the course of the four practice sessions to steadily improve the setting of the GP11.1, and he hopes to further perfect a few details during the twenty-minute morning warm-up session.
Nicky Hayden also took a nice step forward and, by lowering his best time from Friday by over eight tenths, earned a spot on the third row.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:57.367)
"We took a step forward today by changing the front setting again and also modifying the riding position on the bike. We were also good in the wet this morning; actually, it was a really fun session, being there near the front the whole time. It's been a good weekend so far, although of course nothing earth-shattering, as I'm only sixth. Anyway, it's my best qualifying position of the season with the Ducati, which I'm also able to ride better this way, especially under braking and on corner entry. During tomorrow's warm-up, we'll try to further improve the rear grip in the first two sectors, where I'm losing the most time. In the second half of the track, I'm only losing about a tenth. We're pleased because we've learned a few things and, after an initial period of adaptation, we're able to work on the GP11.1 in a more productive way.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:57.721)
"In the end, we salvaged ninth, but it wasn't easy getting there. All weekend, it's just been really hard in the dry, because the bike was spinning and wouldn't hold the line. This morning in the wet was great right from the exit. With our standard rain setup, I was never outside the top five, from the start to the finish, but this afternoon in the dry was hard work. We came back in a lot and changed things, but without finding a right direction. Finally, with about 20 minutes to go, we hit on something with the ride height where I was able to keep the line and could begin to push, and in the end, I was able to get into the 57s. To get on the third row is obviously nothing spectacular, but it's much better than how things were looking. Hopefully, following that direction tomorrow will keep helping us."
FIFTH AND SIXTH ROW FOR DE PUNIET AND CAPIROSSI
The starting grid for the Brno Grand Prix was finalized during this afternoon's qualifying session. Randy De Puniet turned in the fifteenth-best time (1:58.889). The Frenchman's final lap had been going well until he was forced to exit the track to avoid his teammate, Loris Capirossi. The Italian finished the session in sixteenth place (1:58.938), and he'll start from the sixth row.
Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer
"After this morning's rain, the track had much less grip, so we encountered many difficulties. We had in mind to try a certain things this morning, but the weather conditions didn't help. At the end of qualifying, Randy was doing a good lap, and it's a shame that his teammate Capirossi got in the way and forced him to brake hard, causing our rider to go off the track. He was lowering his time by a second, and he could have had a good time."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 15th best time in 1:58.889
"I'm very disappointed with how things went. I'll start from the fifth row, and I expected a better position. Unfortunately, the asphalt lost a lot of grip, so it was difficult to go fast. We had tried some different solutions this morning, but we returned to the standard setting. Things got better, but not much. I was doing a good time on my last lap, when I was behind Simoncelli and Valentino, then Capirossi got in front of me right in the last corner, and to avoid hitting him, I was forced to brake hard, which changed my line and caused me to crash. I'm pretty angry and disappointed my Loris' maneuver, because I could have had a time that was good enough for at least tenth place."
Loris Capirossi - Pilota Pramac Racing Team – 16th best time in 1:58.938
"I'm pretty disappointed with today. Yesterday we had done some good things, even if we weren't able to reach the second group. Then the track conditions got worse due to this morning's rain, which made the asphalt lose grip, and we were having a hard time. I hoped to go much better, but we weren't able to be consistent or even to improve on yesterday's time. I'm still optimistic for tomorrow. We can have a solid race and make up some positions. As for Randy, I'm sorry for what happened, but I saw him far back and I didn't think I would cause any problem. These things can happen, but I'll definitely be more careful next time."