Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of Sunday's GP de Catalunya at Barcelona:
Pedrosa smashes lap record with stunning pole and Marquez on second row
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa has broken the lap record and was over half a second faster than his rivals as he stormed into pole position for tomorrow's GP of Catalunya. He clocked a lap of 1'40.893 on his 5th lap of 8, breaking the previous record of 1'41.186, recorded by Casey Stoner in 2008 when qualifying tyres were still in use, by 0.293s. This is Dani's second and successive pole position of the season and it comes on the weekend of his 200th GP start. He becomes only the 19th rider to reach this milestone in the 65-year history of grand prix racing.
After being quickest in this morning's FP3 session, Dani's teammate Marc Marquez narrowly missed out on the front row by just 0.276s and will start tomorrow's 25 lap race from 6th position on the grid.
Tyre choice will be crucial tomorrow as temperatures continue to rise. It is expected that the front tyre option will be the hard compound but the rear tyre is still not decided. The soft compound will lose grip quickly on the hot asphalt so riders may choose the hard compound for the first time this season.
Dani Pedrosa 1st 1'40.893
“I am very happy, because we put in a great lap and took a great qualifying time. It was a fantastic pole position for me. We also broke the circuit record and were able to do so in front of the home fans. I am also happy about improving our race pace, as this is the most important thing. We hope to put on a good show tomorrow and take full advantage of the front row start"
Marc Marquez 6th 1'41.842
"I am fairly happy and satisfied, because we achieved our objective of getting onto either the first or second row. In the morning I felt more comfortable, with the track temperatures lower than in the afternoon. When they rose sharply, we had more problems. Despite this, I think that we have done a good job. We will try to test out a few things in the warmup tomorrow and see if we can gain a little more confidence when the track is hotter"
Crutchlow fastest Yamaha in Catalunya qualifying
Cal Crutchlow stormed to his second front row of 2013 in scorching heat at the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon, the British rider continuing his hot streak of form to qualify as the fastest Yamaha rider ahead of the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider saved his best for last with a blistering lap of 1.41.501 on his eighth and final lap moving him ahead of reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo to secure second position on the grid for tomorrow’s 25-lap race.
With temperatures rocketing to a sweltering 30 degrees, Crutchlow delivered an ice cool performance to challenge for a ninth career front row right from the start of the 15-minute QP2.
The 27-year-old was immediately inside the top three and he never looked like missing out on his front row start since the opening round in Qatar, his quickest lap making him the fastest Yamaha rider by 0.065s ahead of home crowd hero Lorenzo.
Bradley Smith will start the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from 11th on the grid, the British rider bouncing back superbly from a heavy crash in yesterday’s sun-drenched practice to post a best time of 1.42.548.
Smith didn’t let yesterday’s tumble dent his confidence and he advanced into QP2 with a best lap of 1.42.607, with only Andrea Iannone able to lap within 0.5s of the 22-year-old in QP1.
As track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon in conditions that provided an extreme test of both man and machine, Smith was only a second off the sensational pace set by teammate Crutchlow and he is confident he can battle for the top 10 tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd 1.41.501 - 8 laps
“I think we did a great job today and I am really happy to be back on the front row. It seems a while since I managed it at the first race in Qatar and at least I won’t be starting from fourth again. The conditions were really tricky with the incredibly high track temperature and it looks like it is going to be a big battle in the race tomorrow. I’ll be happy to get a good start and hang with Dani and Jorge because they are obviously going to be strong. Jorge had a few problems today and maybe without those he would have taken second off me. But there’s no doubt we deserve this front row and that’s a good reward for all the hard work done by my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. Congratulations to Dani though because that was an incredible lap time in such tricky conditions.”
Bradley Smith 11th 1.42.548 - 8 laps
“I’m feeling a lot more positive now considering what happened yesterday when I was quite slow. I’ve managed to go 1.7s faster today and that’s a great step. I am only a second away from Cal and that is my normal level and I feel we did a good job. When you go so much faster though the feeling with the bike changes and I could do with one more day of practice to fine-tune the set-up. I am really looking forward to the race now. Tyre wear in such hot conditions is going to be critical but I need to stay with the group in the first eight laps and then it will be a big fight to see who can conserve the tyres for the longest. I need to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they have worked really hard on changing the bike to help me improve. My left hand I injured in Mugello was also much better today and it won’t cause me any issues in the race.”
Lorenzo Delivers Catalunya Front Row
Montmelo' Circuit (Barcelona, Spain), 15th June 2013
Jorge Lorenzo continued his unbroken run as the only rider to consistently start from the front row this season, taking third on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya. The reigning world champion had only the last minutes of the brief qualifying heat to record a best time after a clutch issue forced him to pit shortly after the session started. Despite the setback he was able to salvage a front row start in third with a 1’41.566 after completing just seven laps. Lorenzo was able to walk away uninjured from a crash in the morning’s third free practice after losing the front at turn five. Conditions were even hotter than yesterday with track temperatures hitting up to 57 degrees over the afternoon.
Having been the fastest rider yesterday Valentino Rossi continued his competitive pace into the third free practice this morning, ending in fourth but just 0.156 seconds from first. Having mastered race pace the nine-time champion turned to qualifying, allowing most of the field to leave the pits before venturing out to find some clean track. Using the harder front and soft rear tyre option he delivered a best time of 1’41.959 to take seventh on the third row of the grid, less than four tenths from his team mate Lorenzo on the front row.
3rd / 1'41.566 / 7 laps
“I’m very disappointed because today we had a problem with the clutch in a crucial moment and this lap time was the best I could do. I also had not so much confidence on the front to make a perfect lap. We hope for race distance we can remain constant and fight for the win. We will need to be strong and concentrate for the whole race; we don't know what can happen in the 20th lap.”
7th / 1'41.959 / 8 laps
“We worked hard today; it’s not so bad but unfortunately we are not able to start from a better position on the grid. We tried everything but I still don't have the maximum feeling to improve a bit more. The race tomorrow is going to be very interesting because of the tyre choice and the rhythm. There are four or five riders who are very fast and very constant so we hope to do a good start and good first laps to stay with the top guys and check our performance.”
“A strange day but overall we are in front row even when we had a problem with the first bike. The clutch was spinning when he went out which isn’t ideal because you miss a bit of time with your first tyre. He did well anyway with a 1’41.7s lap. We had to stay out with the same bike, but he was able to make a 1’41.5s lap to qualify for the front row. I think that was the maximum for today, Dani with his 40.8 was unreachable. We have to sort out what went wrong with the clutch and dig into our set ups to prepare for tomorrow’s race.”
“We are quite satisfied with the pace we could run in the free practices but the qualifying didn't go as we expected. We have to try and close the gap as our competitors are quicker, especially in the hot conditions that we will probably have again tomorrow. We will work to understand how to improve the total package and we will do our best to be as competitive as possible for tomorrow. The race is always different to the qualifying session. We know the tyres we are going to use, we have to try and make the rear last as long as possible. The race is going to be tough and difficult but we will be ready.”
Second, third rows for Ducati Team at Catalan GP
In sunny and hot conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya, Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso rode to the fifth and ninth spots on the grid, respectively, for tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix.
It was a positive day for Hayden, who was the second-quickest rider in the morning session, then backed it up with his best qualifying session of the year thus far. The American had also set the circuit top-speed record in free practice aboard his Desmosedici GP13, although the mark was subsequently eclipsed by Marc Marquez in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Dovizioso improved his pace from yesterday, but had back luck in qualifying and didn’t manage to put together a good lap. He’ll share tomorrow’s all-Italian third row with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 5th (1:41.800)
“Dani [Pedrosa] had a spectacular pole lap, but the front row wasn’t out of the question for me today. That would’ve been nice, but this is still my best qualifying position of the year so far. The bike is working pretty well when we have new tyres, but as soon as we lose a little bit of edge grip, it starts pumping. It was okay for qualifying, but we’ll have to try something tomorrow morning to see if we can make the tyre last longer. We know it won’t be an easy race, but hopefully we can put up a good fight and have some fun.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:42.053)
“It’s a shame about the qualifying session. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do a perfect lap, and starting from the third row won’t be easy. That’s too bad because Barcelona is one of the nicest tracks to ride when you have a perfect lap, but I’m mainly disappointed that our spot on the grid will make it difficult for us tomorrow. My first exit was good, and I knew that if I could put all the sectors together, I could lower my time by three or four tenths. Then on my first lap with the second tyre, the bike closed the front in turn four. I almost fell and had to abort the lap in order to save the tyre. We’ve improved a lot from yesterday—more with pace than on a fast lap—but it will certainly be a very difficult race as we’ll all be struggling when the tyres wear. It will be important to make up some positions at the start, as anything can happen in the race.”
FANTASTIC FOURTH FOR BAUTISTA ON BARCELONA GRID
Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista will start the Catalan Grand Prix from the second row of the grid tomorrow after an excellent qualifying performance this afternoon. The Spanish rider was determin ed to put on a show for his fans and he more than lived up to their expectations with the fourth fastest lap of an entertaining qualifying session. Bryan Staring made some progress with the CRT bike but not enough to make up positions.
Alvaro Bautista (4th 1’ 41” 714 ) “We have to be happy today because we are really close to the front row of the grid tomorrow. I felt good as soon as we put the soft tyres on in qualifying this afternoon and I was able to push the bike with conviction. We have done different tests to weigh up our options in terms of tyre choice for tomorrow, which I think will be the biggest problem for everybody. This afternoon we went back to the setting from yesterday because I didn't feel confident with the front forks we used in the last free practice. Tomorrow will be a tough race but our starting position is good and I need to make the most of it if I want to run at the front. Tyre management will be crucial to the result and we will do our best with it.”
Bryan Staring (22nd 1’ 45” 441) “We have made some progress today but not enough to make up any positions. We had some grip issues in the fast corners which made life difficult and after taking a step forward this morning I was hoping for more in the afternoon but it wasn't to be.”
Fausto Gresini “Alvaro had a great session this afternoon and set a fast lap time. A second row start in fourth place, just a couple of tenths off second place, is a great effort and even though a front row would have been even better we have to be happy. His race pace is good and we have high hopes now for the race tomorrow. Bryan made progress today and hopefully tomorrow he can learn a bit more from the guys in front of him and hopefully pass a few of them.”
Eighth place on the grid for Iannone and the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
Andrea Iannone and his team had a busy qualifying day today, taking part in every MotoGP session, but by day’s end they had earned the eighth spot on the starting grid—their best of the season so far.
The FP4 session had gone well, with some positive changes being found ahead of Q1, helping the Italian to make the third row for tomorrow. There are still some aspects to work on, and no decision has yet been made regarding which tyre to use in the race, although with today’s high temperatures—30° air and 52° asphalt—Andrea preferred the soft option.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“I’m happy with today. We made it to Q2, and I did some good laps by myself, which is positive for tomorrow. The pace stayed high, and it may be the first weekend that we’ve really managed to ride hard, improve the bike, and understand the direction to take. I felt quite good today despite some problems that we still have—difficulty in slowing the bike for corner entry, for example—but we know that these are our limits at the moment. In order to remedy the problem, we probably won’t be able to use an ideal setting, as we’ll have to opt for better rear grip in order to decrease the sliding. We certainly won’t solve that for tomorrow, but together with Ducati, we’re preparing for the next GPs. Anyway, we’re improving little by little, and every day I understand better how to continue our work. I’m still not sure which tyre to use in the race. Today we worked mainly on getting the most from the soft tyre. We changed some things that gave positive feedback, and we’ll make our decision after analyzing the data to compare the pace in the different sessions, although I’m currently more inclined to use the soft. The guys did a great job, and now we have to stay strong in order to be fast in the race.”
Difficult day for Ignite Pramac Racing Team
Approximately three minutes from the end of the decisive third free-practice session at the Catalan Grand Prix, Michele Pirro posted a time of 1:42.970, with just 1.5 tenths separating him from a direct transfer to the Q2 session.
He then stayed in the top two for much of Q1, which would have put him into Q2 and given him a shot at a better start position. However, he lost a position near the end and will start from the fifth row tomorrow.
Michele Pirro – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“Unfortunately we were unable to get the best out of the bike’s potential and I struggled a bit but maybe it’s because it’s the first time we’ve had such high temperatures since the start of the championship. This morning we were one second off the best time but the gap widened considerably in the afternoon. So I’d say that as well as the not easy track, the lack of grip and the track temperatures also play an important role. The bike continues to move around a lot and tends to ‘pump’ at the rear and everything becomes even more difficult if the grip drops. As for the set-up we tried to use the one we found at Mugello but once again the results weren’t really positive. It’s strange how things change from one track to another and even from this morning. I had been going quite well and I thought we could have made more progress if we’d worked on the set-up a bit more. The only thing left now is to choose the best set-up for tomorrow and decide what tyre to use; for sure the soft one is better due to the pumping problem because when it kicks in it doesn’t stop until the bike straightens up again. Now we’ll just have to try our best and see what we can do to get a good result in the race.”
Ben Spies - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“First of all, thanks for all the well wishes for my rehab to keep going in a positive direction. Of course it’s hard for me to watch the action from a distance, but I have hopes for the Ducati field this weekend. It was another mixed day of riders using hard and soft tyres, and from here it seems that the hard option is a bit slower for some riders. Dovi looked quite consistent on the hard, and although he wasn’t quite as fast as the guys at the very front, he had a good, strong pace. Hayden was using a soft rear like Marquez, and what a lap he had! It was also good to see Iannone have his best qualifying session of the year. This all bodes well for Ducati tomorrow.”
BRADL STRUGGLES IN THE SWELTERING HEAT OF CATALUNYA GP QUALIFYING
Montmeló, 15 June: LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl will start from the 10th position (1’42.090) on the gird tomorrow after a tough and hot qualifying session at the Montmeló race track. The German responded very well to the fast traits of the 4.727km race track over the 2 days of practices tweaking the set up of his Honda machine but was not able to confirm his good shape in the afternoon QP2 session.
“Obviously this is a disappointing qualifying for us as we were expecting a second row start. We missed some time and I lapped all alone for the whole session which is unusual for this 15-minute session new system. We changed the plan a bit during the session and I did 3 laps on the first tyre and 2 on the second tyre missing a few tenths to get a P5 start for example. It’s not the end of the world anyway because we are still able to do a good race tomorrow. Over the distance our potential is higher than what we have shown today so I still feel very confident”.
ESPARGARÓ READY FOR HOME RACE
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider overcame several obstacles to qualify 12th as best CRT once again, whilst Randy de Puniet is right behind him and ready for a big race
Following the four MotoGP free practice sessions it was difficult to predict who would be on pole given that Lorenzo, Rossi, Márquez and Pedrosa had each topped an FP timesheet at Catalunya. Qualifying had been an unremarkable session until Pedrosa set the best ever lap of the Catalunya track three minutes from the end. The 1’40.893 lap time beat the pole and fastest race lap times from 2008. The Catalan rider has a slight gap at the front of the grid and is perhaps the favourite for victory, alongside Lorenzo and Crutchlow on row one.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró had a mixed day but ended up in his usual position as the top CRT rider. He made some setting changes from the morning with immediate pay off as he made it straight through to Q2, having had a light crash in FP4. He eventually qualified 12th after his team repaired his bike, meaning he is just in front of Randy de Puniet on the grid. Randy just missed out on a Q2 position, taking advantage of his new forks, but he is still looking to improve his engine performance with some set up changes in Sunday’s Warm Up.
12th Aleix Espargaró 1’42.878: “It was a tricky day but in the end we’ve got a decent result. I didn’t feel comfortable in the morning practice and I asked the mechanics to make some engine settings adjustments, which they did for me and they didn’t even have time to eat lunch! Then I crashed in FP4 which meant they hade ven more work to do. Luckily they got the bike working well at the last minute and I was able to get three fast laps in during Q2. I still got the best CRT time of the day and that’s due to the hard work of the team. Despite the problems our pace is good so we can fight for another good race result”.
13th Randy De Puniet 1’43.186: “We did a good job today but it’s still a bit frustrating not to have made Q2. I gave it my best this afternoon but I was just 0.5s short of making it through from Q1. On a postitive note my pace is strong and I did my fastest lap on an empty track. Generally our work has been good and we’re ready to race, with just some fork adjustments to make. We need to tweak the engine for more performance, in order to get the power we need for the long straight”.
Pedrosa smashes lap record to take pole position at the Catalan Grand Prix
Round 6: Catalan MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Montmeló, Saturday 15 June 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 25-28°C; Track 37-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4 & QP2/1 - Dry. Ambient 32-32°C; Track 56-58°C (Bridgestone measurement)
For the second consecutive race Dani Pedrosa set a new pole position record in qualifying, the Repsol Honda rider setting a remarkable lap time of 1’40.893 to claim the first slot on the grid for tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix.
Pedrosa’s storming lap saw him qualify more than six-tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 of Cal Crutchlow whose best time of 1’41.608 placed him in second position. Rounding out the front row of the grid in third place and 0.065 seconds adrift of Crutchlow was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the best CRT qualifier, his time of 1'42.878 placing him twelfth overall.
Yesterday’s hot weather intensified today with track temperatures soaring to 58°C in QP1. Many riders took to task in the free practice sessions to evaluate both options of rear slick, and amongst the works riders the consensus is that despite the extremely high track temperatures, the superior edge grip of the softer rear slick has the better overall performance at this circuit which features prolonged periods at high lean angles. With many fast and flowing corners, the harder front slick is preferred due to its more stable feel.
Tomorrow’s Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT +2) will give riders a last opportunity to decide on tyre choice for the twenty-five lap race which commences at 1400..
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“We had another very hot day today and many riders took the opportunity to test both rear tyre options in today’s free practice sessions. The feedback we received is that the harder rear slick gave better drive out of corners, but with the riders spending so much time at high lean angles, the greater edge grip of the softer rear slick is the better performing option around this circuit. Also, the track condition improved today so the consistency of lap times of the softer rear on long runs was better, so I think many works riders are planning on using this option for tomorrow’s race - even in these very hot conditions. Front tyre choice for the race is clearer with the harder option being preferred by almost everyone.”