Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying on Saturday in Barcelona:
Crutchlow storms to front row at sweltering Catalunya
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's impressive qualifying streak in 2012 continued in sweltering heat at the Catalunya track today, with Cal Crutchlow powering to a third front row start in the opening five races.
Air temperatures peaked at a punishing 31 degrees but Crutchlow set a blisteringly hot pace on his YZR-M1 machine to battle for a front row position in a typically exciting conclusion to qualifying.
The British rider briefly led the timesheets with just over 10 minutes left on the clock when he posted a time of 1.41.922. Lap times continued to plummet and Crutchlow was briefly bumped off the front row before he produced a stunning late attack with just over two minutes remaining to secure third spot on the grid for the third time this season.
Taking full advantage of the extra grip from a new soft Bridgestone rear tyre, Crutchlow improved his pace to a 1.41.548, which put him second behind reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. Only 0.107s stood between Crutchlow and a career best MotoGP grid position after Jorge Lorenzo snatched second in the final moments.
Andrea Dovizioso started qualifying in confident mood after he'd finished practice with the third fastest time of 1.41.966.
The Italian's form continued this afternoon and he put up a strong fight for his second successive front row for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. When the time attack commenced in the final 20 minutes, Dovizioso wasted no time in demonstrating his potential by surgin g to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1.41.931.
He improved his pace to a 1.41.687 and will start from sixth, the former 125cc World Champion optimistic that he will be able to battle for the podium in the 25-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow 3rd 1.41.548 – 24 laps
“I am really happy to be back on the front row again and it feels great considering this is only the second time I have been to this track. I expected to be up there challenging but wasn't sure where and my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew did another fantastic job with the bike today. It proves again that I've got the raw speed and consistency and now I am really looking forward to the race. It will be really tough if the conditions are the same with the temperature so hot but I am ready for it. This morning I only used an old soft rear tyre and I was still really fast, so I knew when I put in a new soft rear this afternoon that I could be much quicker. I got in a good lap even though I'm not completely comfortable with the set-up and I will definitely run the hard front and soft rear for the race. The hard doesn't give a big advantage over race distance. Today is a great result and hopefully I can do the same job tomorrow when it really counts.”
Andrea Dovizioso 6th 1.41.687 – 24 laps
“I am really satisfied with the work we have done this weekend but I can't deny it would have been nice to be on the front row again. Being sixth on the grid is not bad and the most pleasing aspect for me is that my race pace is very fast and consistent. This morning I was able to be much faster than yesterday and hopefully all the work we have put in will pay off tomorrow. The second half of the race is going to be really important if the conditions are as hot as today and tyre c hoice is going to critical. It seems the Yamaha can't use the hard rear tyre as well as the soft, but Lorenzo can't use the soft, so this is a little bit confusing. I will sit down with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to carefully consider what the strategy will be with the tyres. I have always been strong at this track and after today's performance I am expecting a good race.”
EIGHTEENTH TIME IN THE QUALIFYING PRACTICE OF THE GP OF CATALUNYA FOR PASINI
The riders of the MotoGP class got out on the track today for the third free practice session and the qualifying practice for the Catalunya Grand Prix.
In the morning, Mattia Pasini and his crew made up for the time they lost yesterday, valuing some last modifications for the setting and the tyres choice for the race.
In the QP, Mattia focused, together with his technicians, on some confirmations they needed to define the set-up for the ART machine. The italian ended the session with the 18th best lap time, which puts him in sixth row on the starting grid for tomorrow.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 18th with 1'44.764
“In the whole I’m satisfied. Yesterday we didn’t really have the chance to take advantage of the afternoon session as we wanted, and today we had to work to make up for it. We had a good session, we weren’t particularly fast, but we gathered a lot of data that we’re going to put together for tomorrow, in order to try to do better. After all, the race is tomorrow: it’s going to be a long one, but according to me we have a good margin to improve a little more. It’s very hot, so it’ll be important to get ready physically in a proper way. We know we can do better, we have a good potential and we are learning, session after session, to know and work better on this bike.”
Lorenzo Battles for Catalunya Front Row
It was tight at the top in Catalunya today as the MotoGP elite battled in sweltering temperatures to qualify for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo was on typically fast form, breaking into the low 1’41s to take second on the grid. The Championship leader’s qualifying time of 1’41.441 was just 0.146 seconds from pole man Casey Stoner.
Ben Spies was also on form for qualifying, narrowly missing the front row by just 0.004 and pole by just 0.257 seconds. The Texan starts from fourth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race having beaten local hero Dani Pedrosa by 0.104 seconds for the grid slot.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'41.441 Laps: 24
“It was very important to finish on the front row today because I knew all the riders would be pushing to the limit in qualifying. The lap times were very close but I managed to make a good lap. I almost crashed in T3 on my first hot lap on the bumps so second place is good for tomorrow. We still need a little good feeling on the front; we are struggling on some corners so we need to improve the feeling or it’s going to be difficult in the race. We would have liked to be on pole, but we are happy with the position.”
Position : 4th Time: 1'41.552 Laps: 24
“That was a pretty good qualifying session. I’m a little frustrated as I lost a couple of tenths on one of the splits which would have put me on the front row. I think I had almost too much grip through T1 and T2 with the soft tyre! The bike is working really well, the team’s worked hard to deliver a good set up so I’m confident we can run a competitive pace and stay with it tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough race and I’m hoping the rain stays off!”
“A very exciting qualifying, second position on the front row is great and lap times were really good. There’s still some space for improvement as we are not completely happy with the base set up. Jorge had to fight hard for the front row and it was a spectacular session, let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
“I’m satisfied with today’s results. For sure pole is the target but we have a good pace in general. Ben was reasonably happy with the set up yesterday but the team managed to improve it even more for today. We are pretty optimistic for tomorrow. The weather forecast means it might be a little different but we are ready in any case.”
Ducati Team on third row for Catalan GP
Both Ducati Team riders will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow in the Catalan Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden in the seventh spot and Valentino Rossi ninth.
The Italian said he was satisfied with the good setup work done on his GP12 for qualifying today, enabling him to lower his lap time by over a second compared to yesterday, and perhaps more importantly, to maintain a decent and consistent race pace.
Hayden found a good feeling in the third free practice session, and after making changes to adapt the bike to the higher temperature, he turned in a good performance in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:42.029)
“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s. We’ll start seventh tomorrow, which isn’t great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it’s been all year. We’ll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:42.175)
“I’m pretty pleased because we improved the bike’s setup and we made the third row, which was our goal for today, even if I really lose a lot in the last part of the track, especially on entry in the last two corners. Anyway, we can also be pretty satisfied with our race pace because I was able to ride well and consistently, even on a used tyre. The forecasts say it could rain tomorrow, and of course we know that we can do well in the wet, although it could also be good for us even if we just get a bit cooler temperatures.”
Stoner storms to second pole of 2012
The Repsol Honda Team put on a strong performance in Qualifying today for the Grand Prix of Catalunya, the fifth round of the MotoGP World Championship with Casey Stoner on pole position and Dani Pedrosa in fifth place.
Casey, who has won every Spanish race in the last 12 months, secured his second pole of the season and 40th of his career (36 in MotoGP) on his last exit with a time of 1'41.295 and will be aiming to repeat his win here from 2011.
Dani Pedrosa, fastest in morning practice, is confident he can do one of his trademark starts. With Casey on the top of the time sheets and only two minutes remaining, Dani was also fighting for pole but after completing the third sector 0.080 tenths from his team mate, he ran off track in turn 10 and missed the front row of the grid by just a tenth of a second.
His ideal lap time from qualifying practice (the combination of fastest lap sections) would have seen him placed second behind Casey.
CASEY STONER 1st 1'41.295
"We used the qualifying as an extended practice session as we don't always have enough time to do everything during the 45 minute sessions. This morning we did a lot of work with the hard tyre, so in the afternoon in these hot conditions, we worked more with the softer one to get a clearer understanding if we can run with it for race distance. We were in and out a lot during the session trying a few different things, hoping to reduce the chatter which is still proving to be a problem, as soon as I touch the throttle the bike starts to chatter in the rear and it's making things very difficult. Towards the end of the session we managed to improve it slightly but I think we need to make another step before the race. Tomorrow, for sure tyre degradation is going to play a role so we're going to have to wait and see but I'm happy to start from pole".
DANI PEDROSA 5th 1'41.656
"It was a difficult qualifying session because I spent a major part of the hour testing the used soft tyres and I was down in the classification. But I was not worried because I knew that I had two new soft tyres for the end of the practice. When we put the first one on, I immediately improved my lap times and I jumped to second place then on my final flying lap I braked too late, I had a big shake on the bike and I ran wide. From this side it's a pity because I missed my chance at pole position or, at least, the front row of the grid. Anyway, I'm happy with the work we did yesterday and today's preparation for the race and for me this is always the most important thing. Let's see if together with my team we can improve the bike slightly for tomorrow and be ready to give 100% in a hard race".
Stoner sets the standard in Catalunya qualifying
Round 5: Catalunya MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Circuit de Catalunya, Saturday 2 June 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 31-31°C; Track 55-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Casey Stoner will start on pole position at the Catalunya MotoGP™ after the Repsol Honda rider set a stunning time of 1:41.295 with nine minutes remaining in a highly entertaining qualifying session.
In what were scorching conditions, Stoner managed to snatch pole ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 of Jorge Lorenzo who ultimately had to settle for P2 with a time of 1:41.441. Just behind him in P3 and a further tenth of a second back was Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet was the standout CRT rider in qualifying and will start in P13 for tomorrow’s race.
Friday’s very warm conditions continued today with clear, sunny skies lifting track temperatures to a maximum of 55°C during qualifying. Some teams used the morning practice session to evaluate both rear tyre options for the race though when it came to setting a quick lap time in qualifying, almost all riders decided to use the softer rear slick tyre in conjunction with the hard front for the best balance of rear edge grip and braking stability. Despite the excellent weather conditions so far this weekend, forecasts indicate a high chance of rain tomorrow afternoon.
The MotoGP™ riders will be back on track for Sunday’s morning warm-up session at 0940 local time (GMT+2) before the race gets underway at 1400 local time.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Once again we had dry weather and very warm temperatures today which gave the teams the opportunity to try many tyre combinations and build on the data they acquired yesterday. The pace at the front of the field is very competitive with the pole position time more than a second quicker than last year and the top six riders in qualifying were separated by just four-tenths of a second so we could have a very close race tomorrow.
“In this morning’s free practice session some teams did long runs on the softer rear slick tyre to evaluate its performance for race distance and I believe this option will be widely used tomorrow, though there is a chance of rain tomorrow as well. I expect all riders to use the harder front slick for the race with the majority of the field opting for this compound in the new specification front slick tyre as this was a common choice in qualifying. I am pleased that the 2012 specification tyres are performing very well here at Catalunya which is a very challenging circuit for tyres and the feedback from riders this weekend has been positive.”
STRONG EIGHT POSITION FOR BRADL AHEAD THE CATALAN RACE
Montmeló, 2nd of June: LCR Honda MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl clocks a remarkable 8th fastest lap time (1’42.065) today in a physically demanding 60-minute qualifying session at Montmeló circuit in readiness for tomorrow’s 25-lap Catalan GP.
The German riding the RC213V was clearly enjoying the Catalunya circuit lapping with a fast and consistent pace since yesterday first run out. Together with his hard-working crew Bradl responded very well to the fast traits of the 4.727km race track tweaking the set up of his Honda machine.
Stefan: “Well... this is not bad for us and we are in a good shape. Finishing in eight position considering the hot track conditions is quite positive but I was expecting something more: maybe the sixth or the seventh placement. During the session we could handle that position easily but at the end everybody went out on soft tyres pushing at 100%. I am happy with the bike package and our race pace is good so I am really optimistic ahead tomorrow’s race. We will try to follow the top guys for a while and we will see considering the tough conditions: everything is possible”.
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR RIDER RANDY DE PUNIET TOP CRT QUALIFIER IN CATALONIA
Frenchman claims 13th on the grid, two seconds off pole. Teammate Aleix Espargaró fifteenth for home race
The big question ahead of qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix revolved around which tyre compound would be used by the MotoGP riders. The best times in practice had been recorded by the top three in the championship (Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa), and when the Saturday afternoon run came around it was Casey Stoner who ended up on pole position with a time of 1'41.295. Crutchlow and Dovizioso had been amongst the frontrunners in the session, taking the lead before Stoner came within touching distance of his own 1'41.186 record time from 2008.
With their preparatory work done and their base settings established, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders are eagerly awaiting tomorrow's race. Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró are both experiencing a lack of rear grip with their ART machines, but that did not stand in De Puniet's way as he recorded the best time of the CRT competitors. Teammate Espargaró was close behind, as the two placed thirteenth and fifteenth, respectively. Both have high expectations for tomorrow's MotoGP race at the Montmeló circuit, with it's long straights and corners demanding maximum attention from the riders.
13th Randy De Puniet 1.43.500 (22 laps): "It is very important to be the best CRT, so I am happy about that. However, we shouldn't lose track of the fact that the most important moment is tomorrow when we start the race. We have tried loads of things in search of the best setup. I wasn't completely satisfied with the rear traction, so that's why we made so many changes today. With fifteen minutes to go I decided to put on the soft tyres and I improved my times considerably as a result. I am satisfied with the result today, but I still believe that we need to take another step forward to find more rear traction. Tomorrow in the warmup we will try to improve things a little more and I hope to be at my best. It's going to be a long race, in which we will have to pay attention to tyre wear."
15th Aleix Espargaró 1.44.041 (22 laps): "I would have liked to have finished a bit higher up the order. We have worked hard all weekend, but we still haven't found anything to give us more grip on the rear. The heat is forcing us to ride with the hard tyre tomorrow, and the positive thing is that we have good pace with that and are closer to Randy. The race will be a long one, we will need to be able to manage it in order to try and get into the fight to be the best CRT. I hope that it will be a straight fight between my teammate and I, as we have both done a good job this weekend. We have been told that maybe temperatures will drop tomorrow, and even that there is a chance of rain. We will try to be ready to race in any conditions."
FOURTH AND SIXTH ROW STARTS FOR BAUTISTA AND PIRRO IN CATALUNYA
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista was hoping for better fortunes than a fourth row start at the Grand Prix of Catalunya after ending the opening day as the second fastest rider but that is where he will line up for tomorrow's race. Unable to improve on his free practice pace, the Spaniard dropped to tenth position, citing a lack of confidence in the front tyre caused by the dramatic increase in track temperature this afternoon. Michele Pirro was also slightly disappointed after losing time when Karel Abraham crashed in front of him during today's qualifying session although he did at least close the gap to the leading CRT.
Alvaro Bautista ( 10th 1’ 42” 356 ) “Today didn't go so great. The track conditions changed this afternoon and the extra grip on the rear was at the expense of the feel I had for the front yesterday. We need to look at the data and try to improve things for tomorrow. It was really difficult to ride out there with no feel for the front but I am confident that we're capable of a much better result tomorrow. ”
Michele Pirro (16th 1’ 44” 356) “I think I could have set a faster time today but I lost concentration momentarily on my fast lap when Abraham crashed and that cost me some important time. But I'm sure that in the race we can be closer to the top CRT. We have to make sure we don't lose touch at the start, when they are able to be a bit faster on the new tyres, and then try to fight. Anyway, today we have confirmed the progress we already made at Le Mans in the dry.”
Fausto Gresini “Today wasn't brilliant for Alvaro because he wasn't able to improve his time from yesterday. He is still not too far off the pace of the guys at the front but starting from tenth place is certainly not ideal. It was a shame for Michele that Abraham crashed in front of him on his fast lap but I am happy with the progress he has made lately and I think he can have a good race.”
5th row for Edwards at the Catalunya GP
Colin Edwards return on his Suter-BMW with the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team has been very positive with a 14th position on tomorrow’s starting grid in this 5th round of the 2012 season.
The American rider just got back from his left collarbone fracture and has not held back in these first two days back on his bike. He has been constantly improving his prototype and finishing the qualifying session with only one CRT ahead of him.
The tire choice for tomorrow’s race at 14:00 will be soft for Colin Edwards, in the hope that the temperature and weather conditions will not change.
Colin Edwards – 14th (1´44.024)
“It feels good today, when we got on the bike yesterday we had some issues that we obviously sorted out and we got a lot of work done from yesterday and today. For qualifying we knew what we would have to do, get more comfortable with myself as well and pushing a little bit more. When we put the new front tire it seemed to make a really big difference and threw a couple soft tires, which is actually going to be the race tire for us. Its felt good, felt like there was a little more there but I was working on building my confidence a little bit more. The scar tissue did bother me a bit but when I’m out there on the track its really not a problem at all.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“Finally we had some improvement compared to the last three races. We tried to be the first CRT for today’s qualifying, we didn’t accomplish it but we only have De Puniet in front of us. Overall we are happy because we have been able to solve some problems we have been having up until now. This weekend we haven’t had chatter problems, we’ve made a significant progress in the electronics also thanks to the work done at Le Mans, the bike has a better balance. We know we have still a lot of work to do but we are taking it one step at a step.”
AN ELECTRONIC ISSUE SLOWED DOWN THE GREEN TEAM
After a brilliant morning free practice session, in which Hèctor was able to achieve a great 4th place, The White and Green rider will start tomorrow’s 25-laps of the Catalunya GP only from the 11th spot of the grid after a tricky qualifying session.
The 25-year-old clocked a best time of 1’42.375 to claim a place on the 4th row, but he was just 0.6 of a second away from 6th place Andrea Dovizioso on a scorching hot afternoon that saw air temperatures around 30 degrees.
In the last ten minutes of the qualifying practice, while Hèctor was pushing hard to set his fast lap time, his Ducati GP12 had some issues with the electronic setup and it switched off.
The Spaniard, who went out with his second bike after the technical issue on the best one, tried to improve his lap time, but he didn’t have the same feeling with this machine and he wasn’t able to lower his time.
Despite that , tomorrow, when the lights go out at 14:00 CET, Hèctor and the Pramac Team will try to make a good start and fight for a satisfying place in this Grand Premi de Catalunya.
Hèctor Barberà – Rider Pramac Racing Team – 11th place in 1’42.375
“I’m bitterly disappointed with today. The 11th place is too far from what I was looking for.
Unfortunately, toward the end of today’s qualifying practice, I struggled with a technical issue, which forced me to use the second bike, that I had never ridden during this Spanish weekend so I obviously didn’t have a suitable setup to ride at 100%.
I lost a great chance today, but the most important appointment will be tomorrow with the race, and I’m ready to fight for a position that suits me and my crew.”
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager –
“Unfortunately, after the promising result this morning in the last free practice session, we made a step back during the qualifying.
The electronic issue on the bike slowed down our work and this result is definitely not up to our capacity.
Tomorrow Hèctor should make a great start to fight for a good final place.”