Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying on Saturday at Qatar:
PASINI WILL START FROM THE SIXTH ROW FOR THE RACE AT LOSAIL CIRCUIT
Today the MotoGP class had sixty minutes at disposal for the qualifying session of the Qatar Grand Prix.
Pasini and his crew took advantage of most of the time to focus on a more traditional path for the setting and on the tyres choice, testing various possibilities that are available for this race for the rear and the front.
Because of a small crash with no physical consequences, Mattia was forced to finish the session on the second bike, without having the chance to improve the position on the grid, ending with the eighteenth placement.
Therefore the Italian will start from the sixth row tomorrow.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 18th with 1'59.195
“Generally speaking today we did a good job. In the previous sessions we worked on some changes that maybe should have been done later on. Today we worked towards a more traditional direction, which helped us in improving. It’s a shame I crashed out: we put on a new front tyre, but probably it was too late. We ruined the last part of the session, I finished using the second bike, but it didn’t have exactly the same setting as bike n. 1. The race of tomorrow will be long and demanding, we’ll try to get into the pace lap after lap and do the best we can.”
HECTOR WILL START FROM THE THIRD ROW THE FIRST 2012 MOTOGP RACE
Hèctor Barberà will kick off his third MotoGP campaign from the third row of the grid after a closely fought opening qualifying session of the 2012 season in Doha this evening.
Hèctor registered the eight-best time in 1.55.982, behind Nicky Hayden, the only Ducati rider to finish the session ahead of the Spanishman.
Tomorrow's race is scheduled to run in 22-laps and it is the first in the 18-round World Championship that will conclude in Valencia on November.
Hèctor Barberà - Pramac Racing Team Rider
“The assesment of these three days practices was strongly positive. Thanks to my team’s work we could be able to improve and understand both the track conditions and the behaviour of my Ducati’s machine on it. Probabily this week end of practices was been the most concreat and satisfying one of my MotoGp campaign.
It’s a shame that i lost the second row only for one tenth of a second and, to be honest, it was my goal untill today.
But now i have only to think about tomorrow’s race and i’m excited for it because i want to achieve a good position ahead the Ducati’s official riders."
Francesco Guidotti - Pramac Racing Team Manager -
“Today we had a good result but our idea was to achieve the second row.
The tomorrow’s race will be certeinly fighting and unsure,but i’m convinced the Hector’ will be able to make a good game.”
Lorenzo Delivers Perfect Pole in Qatar
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made his 2012 intentions clear tonight scoring a scorching pole position at the Losail circuit for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Qatar. The 2010 World Champion was on top form, pushing his YZR-M1 to the limit, taking full advantage of Bridgestone’s softer compound tyre to put himself 0.221 seconds clear of second place rider Casey Stoner. Lorenzo was also delighted to be joined on the front row by fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow.
Teammate Ben Spies had also been delivering impressively quick laps on the softer tyre and was on target for a front row start until a fall minutes from the end of the session. The Texan was unhurt and walked away but had to settle for fourth and a second row start for tomorrow’s race with a best lap time of 1’55.512, 0.878 from pole.
Position : 1st Time: 1'54.634 Laps: 23
“I am really happy with tonight’s result. I had to push more than 100% to make pole position but I pushed to the limit and managed to make a perfect lap. We still have to improve the power on the straight and our maximum speed but in the rest of the track the bike is working really well. Tomorrow will be a tough race and tyres will be very important I think. A big thank you to Yamaha and my team for giving me such a good bike!”
Position : 4th Time: 1'55.512 Laps: 20
“We were on a good lap until the crash, I just lost the front. I’ve been complaining the last couple of days that the front end just didn’t have the right feeling that I wanted. As I was trying to get away from the bike when I was sliding something got caught up and I went with it. I was looking at the front wheel for a while and thought about trying to get back on when I couldn’t get away from it! We’ll try to make the bike better now, I know if we can fix it we can be up front. The M1 is clearly going round the track fast and I feel good on it apart from that. We’ve got some good ideas to try in warm up so we’ll see.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
“A fantastic start to the season, last year we struggled many times to qualify well. Jorge delivered a great pole and was over two tenths quicker than Casey which is impressive. We have a good feeling and we’re looking forward to tomorrow to see what we can do.”
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director
“There’s no better way to start the season than starting from pole, Jorge put in a really impressive lap. Despite the crash Ben managed to keep fourth place on the grid, second row is not so bad. We’ll work a bit more tonight to try to fix one area with the front and in the warm up we hope to get the feeling we are looking for. If all that comes together we have all the conditions for a good race.”
Front row start for Stoner in Qatar
World Champion Casey Stoner will start the Grand Prix of Qatar from the front row of the grid in second place, with team mate Dani Pedosa on the third row in seventh.
It was a frustrating session for Casey who was once again plagued with chatter issues on his RC213V. He led for the majority of the session but in the end took second place with a 1'54.855 just 0.2 seconds off Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.
Dani also experienced issues during the one hour session. In his first stop in the garage to swap bikes, the second one failed to start and disrupted his session and momentum. He finished 7th with a time of 1'55.905.
The Grand Prix of Qatar, the first race of the season will take place tomorrow at 22h00 local time, 21h00 CET.
CASEY STONER 2nd 1'54.855
"I'm not really happy with how qualifying went for us, it should have been a lot better especially on the soft tyre which we hadn't used all weekend. Last night we were happy with what we had improved and with the set up in general. Then tonight we tried to improve that set up and we just made it worse and worse. In the end we did a full circle and came back to what we had on Thursday night and we have huge chattering problems again. Now we have a lot of work to do to understand what's gone wrong and where the problem is before tomorrow. If we can make a big step forward in warm up then we can challenge for a podium and maybe fight for the win, but if the bike remains as it is at the moment, then we were going to be in for a long hard race".
DANI PEDROSA 7th 1'55.905
"We solved a little the issues we had yesterday with the electronics, but we had other problems today. I stopped in the garage to change the bike and it didn't start, twice. I lost a lot of time there and I had to take the other bike which I didn't feel comfortable with either. It's a shame. The team couldn't do any better and nor me; from this point I lost the concentration a little and we couldn't get a better position. Seventh on the grid is not a good place to start the race, but I hope that we don't have any issues tomorrow and I can have a good race".
DAZZLING PERFORMANCE FOR BRADL AT QATAR GP QUALIFYING
Losail, 7th of April: the opening round of 2012 season continued today with the 60-minute qualifying session which decided the first starting grid of Qatar Grand Prix with Lorenzo, Stoner and Crutchlow in the front row ahead’s tomorrow 22-lap race.
Stefan Bradl also demonstrated the rapid progress he is making in getting the best out of the impressive RC213V machine on soft rubber after he finished 9th quickest in his first qualifying session (1’56.063) aboard the Japanese machine. The 22-year champion will line up in the third row for the race which is scheduled at 10pm local time.
Stefan: “Actually this is a good qualifying for us as our target was the third row. And when I looked at the time I realized were are close to P6 and this is good for the race. We lapped on many soft tyres probably more than the others, but for me it was not easy for me to use every single tyre. Initially you feel you can push more and more but you must focus on the right acceleration. We also improved the overall package and I am looking forward to race with the top riders and my target is to follow them and learn as much as possible”.
Lorenzo claims pole for Qatar season opener
Round 1: Qatar MotoGP - Qualifying Practice
Losail International Circuit, Saturday 7 April 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 29-29°C; Track 30-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo will start on pole at the first race of the 2012 MotoGP season after the Spaniard continued the strong form he showed in Free Practice to post a benchmark qualifying lap time of 1:54.634.
Lorenzo traded places at the top of the timesheets with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner for most of the qualifying session, with the reigning champion ultimately falling short of his rival with a best time of 1:54.855 to finish in second place. Rounding out the top three was the ever-impressive Monster Tech3 Yamaha of Cal Crutchlow, the Brit’s time of 1:55.022 good enough to land him his first ever front-row start in MotoGP.
In the battle of the CRT riders NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards took the honours with the Texan’s quickest lap of 1:57.644 placing him 13th overall.
For the first half of qualifying most riders ran the harder rear tyre option until twenty minutes remaining in the session at which point the riders switched en masse to the softer asymmetric rear tyre in pursuit of a quick lap time. Track temperatures for qualifying stayed relatively warm at around 29°C though due to the wind, track conditions weren’t at their best for qualifying.
The stage is now set for the first race of the season with the action set to start at 2200 local time (GMT+3).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today was quite unusual as despite the warm track temperatures, conditions didn’t improve much from yesterday. Nevertheless it was an exciting qualifying session and I would like to congratulate all the riders on their performance in the first qualifying practice of the year and in particular, Jorge Lorenzo and the Yamaha Factory Racing team for taking pole position.
“Once again the extra durability and stability offered by the extra-hard front tyre made it the popular choice for riders and I expect most riders to use this option for tomorrow’s race. Both the softer and harder rear options were used throughout qualifying, so we may see some different strategies for the race with the rear tyre. With our 2012 specification tyres working very well here in Qatar I am confident that we will have a good race tomorrow to commence the 2012 MotoGP season.”
Crutchlow lights up Losail with maiden MotoGP front row
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow lit up the Losail International Circuit tonight by storming to a sensational place on the front row of the grid for the opening round of the new 1000cc MotoGP World Championship.
After finishing in a fantastic second position in practice last night, the 26-year-old delivered superbly when the pressure was on in the decisive final moments of qualifying to come close to snatching a dramatic pole position.
The British rider, whose previous best qualifying result was sixth position in 2011, was in cont ention for the front row throughout an incident-packed 60-minute session.
The former World Supersport champion was able to reel off fast and consistent times on the hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre in race trim before commencing his attack on soft tyres in the final 20 minutes.
A stunning lap of 1.55.505 rocketed him into second position and at that stage he was just 0.090s behind reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. He briefly dropped back to third as Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo upped their pace, but Crutchlow wasn't finished and he pushed his YZR-M1 1000cc to the limit to set an inspired lap of 1.55.022. That was only 0.029s off pole position in the closing stages and by the end of the session he was third, almost 0.5s clear of Ben Spies in fourth and only 0.388s away from Lorenzo's impressive pole time of 1.54.634.
Andrea Dovizioso played a major part in helping Yamaha enjoy a brilliant first qualifying session in the new 1000cc era, with the Italian sixth quickest. All four Yamaha YZR-M1 machines were inside the top six.
Dovizioso secured his place on the second row of the grid thanks to a competitive time of 1.55.857, although changes to the set-up his YZR-M1 machine didn't deliver the improve performance he had been expecting on soft tyres. The 26-year-old was still able to lap consistently inside the top six on both hard and soft compound Bridgestone tyres and he is confident he will be in the podium hunt in the 22-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow 3rd 1.55.022 - 22 laps:
“I'm really happy and I think we can go into the race now with a lot more confidence. It is a great feeling to be on the front row with Casey and Jorge because everybody is aware of how fast they are. It has felt like a long time coming to get a result like this but this is a fantastic reward for all the effort my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew put in over the winter. They worked with me a lot to help me learn how to ride in MotoGP and tonight is a great pay-off. I'm happy with my performance but fair play to Jorge because he did a phenomenal job and that's an awesome lap time. But I always knew what I could do once we started putting the soft tyres in and I thought I'd have a crack at the front row. The big positive aside from my first front row in MotoGP is my race pace is going to be good enough to finish in the top six and that remains my goal. There's no doubt we are getting the absolute maximum out of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 package and all I will do tomorrow night is try my best. I'd say per lap I am three or four-tenths off the pa ce Casey and Jorge are capable of, but that's a lot better than what it was last year."
Andrea Dovizioso 6th 1.55.858 - 25 laps:
“Tonight didn't go as well as I had hoped but it was a part of the learning process that we need to go through to improve for the future. I'm not going to be disappointed to finish sixth but I think we were a little bit unlucky tonight. I was a little bit inexperienced with the bike in the crucial final minutes of qualifying and we need to build a better understanding between the team and myself. But that is completely normal and we know we will get better. We made a modification to the bike from last night and unfortunately it didn't give us the improvement we had anticipated, particularly with the soft tyres. I'm sure that for the race we will be quite a bit faster by switching back to the set -up of last night. I'm still full of optimism because my race pace on the hard tyres is not so far away from Lorenzo, but it is vital to start from as close to the front as possible because I think the tyres will lose grip quite quickly. The key will be to ride smooth to save the tyres and then we will see what happens in the final stages of the race.”
BAUTISTA AND PIRRO FACE TWIN CHALLENGE AFTER DISAPPOINTING QUALIFYING
It was a disappointing night for both Team San Carlo Honda Gresini riders tonight as Alvaro Bautista and Michele Pirro struggled to improve their pace in qualifying practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Spaniard still has problems with the front end of his Honda RC213V and cannot push it as hard as he would like, whilst the Italian spent far too much time in the garage due to problems with the electronics of his CRT bike.
lvaro Bautista (11th 1’ 56” 521) “We have changed a lot of things without improving the bike and I still don't have confidence in the front. We are a long way back on the grid which is never good but we have the warm-up tomorrow to try to find a solution. Hopefully we can do that otherwise we are going to be on the back foot for the race, trying to finish it in the best shape possible. It is a shame and it's strange because we were happy with preseason testing but here I just don't have the feel. We'll keep our heads up and keep fighting.”
Michele Pirro (17th 1’ 59” 085) “There is not much to say tonight - I went out on a hard tyre and did a 1’59 but I came in to change the electronics and we had problems from that point on. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go and the electronics are going to take a lot of work. Tomorrow in the warm-up we will try to work out what is slowing us down and I am sure we can have a good race.”
Fausto Gresini “We hoped for a better start to the season than this but Bautista still hasn't got the feeling to allow him to push on and it's a problem we didn't encounter in testing. Losail isn't a good circuit for him and he had a bad injury here last year so I think that plays its part too. With Michele the problems are more understandable because the bike is so young but I still thought we could do better. Michele hardly went out tonight after a good session yesterday so obviously we're disappointed but we'll keep working and we'll see! ”
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR READY TO RACE IN QATAR
Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró still looking for front-end feel but ready for the lights at Losail
The first qualifying practice of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship took place late this evening at the Losail Circuit, where Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies made the early running only to be overcome by the strength of title favourites Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner. Lorenzo took the first pole of the season in 1'54.634 but it promises to be a close battle between the pair tomorrow night, whilst Crutchlow and Spies will both have their eye on the podium.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró are both looking forward to start racing after a long preseason and some good results in practice here this weekend. The Frenchman and the Spaniard have worked hard on their machines, in particular in the search for more front-end feel, with De Puniet qualifying fourteenth fastest despite a fast crash in turn thirteen with twenty minutes of the session remaining and Aleix just one position behind him on tomorrow's grid.
14th Randy De Puniet 1.58.266 (18 laps): "Qualifying actually went pretty well, I wasn't put off by my crash yesterday and felt comfortable on the bike. I was the top CRT bike in the early part of the session but another crash spoiled that. It was a strange one because I lost the front when I wasn't braking or accelerating so that gives us a bit to think about. We have to put it behind us as quickly as possible and make sure we are focused on the race tomorrow so we'll look at the data tonight and prepare as best we can."
15th Aleix Espargaró 1.58.520 (21 laps): "Looking at the first session compared to tonight the lap times have come down a lot and that gives us hope. I am not completely happy with the way qualifying went but overall it has been a good weekend so far and we have improved the bike in several areas although we still have work to do to reduce the chatter. It is rebounding a lot at full lean and if I try to pick the bike up too early it wants to crash. Apart from that I am happy with the performance of the ART."
Fifth-best time for Hayden in Qatar qualifying, Rossi twelfth
The Desmosedici GP12 will start its debut Grand Prix on the second row tomorrow evening, with Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden having posted a top-five time in tonight’s qualifying session at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit. Teammate Valentino Rossi, after a trio of progressively improving free-practice sessions, encountered setup problems that prevented him from doing better than twelfth place.
While Nicky Hayden immediately felt at home with his bike’s setup and was able to log consistently good lap times even with the hard tyre, Valentino Rossi had a much different experience and didn’t find the same feeling that had enabled him to post better times on Friday.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 5th (1:55.637)
“Our goal tonight was to be in the top five, and I’m pleased that we achieved that. I did a 56.1 on a hard tyre and to be honest, I thought maybe I could do something really special with the soft, but all things considered, I think we did decently in our first qualifying session. We’ll see if we can come here and turn it into a result tomorrow night. Tyre life is going to be important, and since we’re using up the tyre a lot, we need to work on that. I still struggled a bit with chatter and understeer, especially in the fourth sector, where the corners are flat, but the GP12 is certainly the fastest Ducati I’ve ever ridden, which could come in handy in the race. I think it will be a hard race, but I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a big gap to the top two, but we’ll try our best to get a good start, get into that second group and fight like dogs to hold on. Hopefully we can leave here with something positive.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 12th (1:56.813)
“Yesterday was nothing fantastic but a lot better, especially with the used tyre, so my goal was to qualify on the second row. I’m very far from that target though, as the problems that we had before were worse. It’s very strange because we only made some small changes from yesterday, but the feeling was very different. After that we returned to yesterday’s setting and I went a little bit faster, but it wasn’t enough to significantly improve the result. I’m not sure what to expect for the race, but obviously, I hope to do better. Nicky made a different setup choice than ours and did a good session with both tyres, so now we’ll also look at his data and try to do better.”
Tissot Pole Position Awards
LORENZO HALTS STONER’S QATAR RUN
Former World Champion Jorge Lorenzo prevented current World Champion Casey Stoner from securing his fourth consecutive pole position at the Grand Prix of Qatar when he grabbed pole position for the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Losail International circuit this evening.
Under the floodlights at the 5.380 circuit situated ten kilometers outside Doha, Lorenzo riding the factory Yamaha led the way after the three practices to head the one hour qualifying session. He received his pole setting Tissot T-Touch Expert watch from Mr Ziad Nehme, the Regional Brand Manager for Tissot, after leading Stoner by just over two tenths of a second. The Australian complained of chatter problems with his 1000 cc Honda. The front row of the grid for the 22 lap race on Sunday evening was completed by British Yamaha rider Cal carutchlow who starts from the front row for the first time.
Tissot Ambassador Tom Luthi made the perfect start to his Moto2 campaign with just his second pole position in the class. The Swiss rider was awarded his Tissot T-Race watch after dominating both practice and qualifying as the former 125 cc World Champion chases just his second Moto2 victory.
German rider Sandro Cortese made history after becoming the first ever pole setter in the new Moto3 class. He received his Tissot Racing-Touch watch after fighting off the considerable challernge of four times grand prix winner Maverick Vinales and Frenchman Louis Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo -
- This was the 45th pole of his career
- It was his 19th in MotoGP together with 23 in the 250 cc and three in the 125 cc classes
- The Spaniard celebrated his MotoGP debut in Qatar in 2008 by taking pole position
- The 2010 World Champion has raced in Qatar eight times. Every time he has started from the front row and finished on the podium
- He was won three times in Qatar - one 125 and two 250 cc races
Thomas Luthi -
- This was the seventh pole of his career but only his second in the Moto2 class
- The former 125 cc World Champion won his first Moto2 and intermediate class race in Malaysia last year
- His third place in Qatar last year was his first podium at the Losail circuit
- The Swiss rider set the fastest lap in the 2010 Moto2 race when he finished seventh
Sandro Cortese -
- This was the very first pole position in the new Moto3 class
- The German rider secured his fourth pole position with the other three coming in the 125 cc class
- He won his first ever grand prix the 125 cc race in the Czech Republic last year followed by victory in the Australian Grand Prix
- Three years ago Cortese secured his first ever podium finish with third place in the 125 cc race in Qatar
- He finished fourth in the 125 cc race in Qatar last year after starting from the front row
NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team sets the pace of the CRTs at Losail
It’s a race of first; first race of the season, first MotoGP race with the 1000cc and the CRTs. After an intense pre season and a weekend of hard work, Colin Edwards´s team seems to have found the right setup for the Suter-BMW prototype.
The team approaches the race with a positive attitude and looks forward to it knowing that the CRT will be put to the test in a 22 laps night race.
Colin Edwards – 13th (1´57.644)
“We were in such deres straight a couple of weeks ago with the chatter and some issues that we had, I’m just happy that we sorted that out, well we are heak of a lot better that it was. Now we are in the realm of what we can and push, make the bike a little bit better and for myself, understand what the limits are. I have yet to do race distance on this bike, its not easy, it’s a beast. To be honest it’s a drag car that we are trying to turn into a Formula 1 car. It’s hard to ride, four or five laps I get a little arm pump and it get tiring and it hard. So tomorrow I just really got to get a good start, get out there and relax, breath, not be so tense on the bike, not ride around with a cleft.”
Kornelis Veldeman – Crew Chief
“We finish the first qualifying session with a good feeling; the track was good, the bike was good, the rider was good…Honestly speaking we did not expect to get so close to the factory bikes. We improved from yesterday, the team has been working really hard all weekend and we are just happy that we see the results. The target for the race is to have a good start and get ahead of the CRT riders and try to be in the top 10 riders.”
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
“I would like to thank all the team for the work done this weekend: all mechanics, technicians, Suter, Bosch and BMW, every one that has contributed to achieve this result and above all the great Colin Edwards because once more he has proven his value. Tomorrow we would like to repeat this same result, that would be our goal.”