2011 Estoril MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Pole Sitter Holds Off Late Challenge

Results and summary of qualifying practice for the MotoGP class at Estoril:

Jorge Lorenzo has taken his fourth straight pole at Estoril, after quietly chipping away at the times to come out on top. All eyes had been on Marco Simoncelli early on, the San Carlo Gresini rider dominating the first part of practice, but Lorenzo edged Simoncelli with less than 5 minutes to go. The Italian looked like taking back pole again, but he crashed out while on a very fast lap.

Dani Pedrosa secured the final spot on the front row, though the Repsol Honda rider looked like going even better in his final fast lap, losing out in the last sector to remain 3rd. The same happened to his teammate Casey Stoner, who looked to be on course to take over pole until he lost a huge amount of time in the final sector. Yamaha's Ben Spies put in a solid performance to secure the 5th spot on the grid, while the third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso made some huge steps forward to take 6th.

The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders also shone under the darkened Portuguese skies, Colin Edwards ending up 7th on the grid, while Cal Crutchlow had a fantastic qualifying session, and was unlucky to end up just 8th. First Ducati rider was Valentino Rossi, the Marlboro rider taking the final spot on the 3rd row, while Hector Barbera rounds out the top 10.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'37.161    
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'37.294 0.133 0.133
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'37.324 0.163 0.030
4 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'37.384 0.223 0.060
5 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'37.866 0.705 0.482
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'38.073 0.912 0.207
7 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'38.080 0.919 0.007
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'38.189 1.028 0.109
9 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'38.271 1.110 0.082
10 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'38.363 1.202 0.092
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'38.497 1.336 0.134
12 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'38.786 1.625 0.289
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'38.922 1.761 0.136
14 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'38.934 1.773 0.012
15 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'39.172 2.011 0.238
16 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'39.378 2.217 0.206
17 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'39.894 2.733 0.516


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...is Bautista, no doubt. It's 43 days after breaking his leg, many paddock experts didn't think he could be back so soon (and still say it's too early) and he even out-qualifies two riders?
Yes, he's losing 2 seconds on Lorenzo, but what he's done so far this weekend is a humongous achievement. MotoGP riders are nuts. Love it. :)

How far off the pace would the Suzuki be even if he had 2 good legs? Just 2 seconds off the pace with his injury is astonishing to me as most mere mortals would still be sitting on the couch pounding down pain killers. 2 seconds off the pace with his injury AND trying to sort out the Suzuki....well.....that's something else altogether.

Quickly becoming a fan of #19.

The qualifying session just re-emphasised #1's sublime manner as reigning #1.
Anyone betting against George not doing a Casey, Phillip Island 4th has deeper pockets than I.
Ducati were seriously disappointing. Hector was close to parking the first one on the back of row 3.
Sure,the weather is not predictable at best,but the rider going into this race with the least pressure is Lorenzo. Dani is up against his shoulder. Simmo is up against himself. Ben needs a result and so the list goes on.
Dani's experience within HRC at this point of the championship is interesting.
He opted for the more flexible chassis for the season,whilst Casey opted for the stiffy along with Dovi. Simmo was outfoxed by Lorenzo and Lorenzo knew how important it was for him to get a good launch pad.
I just hope they all get through lap 1 safe and sound and let common sense prevail. Another Rossi or anyone else's over exuberant torpedo approach is something we don't want to see.

Should be a hell'eva race tomorrow, as it appears that you could cover the top 4-5 w/a blanket . . . . but racing is different! I checked weather for the race, and it looks, at this point, that the rain MAY hold off. What are they forecasting for tomorrow?

Close times. It should be a good race, if Lorenzo doesn't run away at the beginning. We know Stoner can pass Pedrosa. Pedrosa can stay with Lorenzo. And Simoncelli is the big mad Italian. I hope Simoncelli keeps his cool and finishes. Spies is pretty steady and could podium with a mistake up front.

Lorenzo on pole; he'll do his best to immediately get away from the chaos behind him. Simo on the front row; watch out. You KNOW he'll be very aggressive in the first few laps. Pedrosa; who knows? He's so unpredictable even when he's healthy. Stoner; with that huge chip on his shoulder and all the preseason hype weighing him down, is gonna struggle. He needs a good result or he's gonna start to self-destruct. In my opinion, the rider with the most to lose/prove is Spies. His season is off to a terrible start and he NEEDS a good result badly. And as an aside; I hate to say it about a fellow American who is such a good guy, but Hayden I think is gonna be looking for a satellite Yamaha or Honda ride next year-he's done as a factory rider. But anyway, it should be very a interesting race. Can't wait.

Nicky is signed through 2012, but this doesnt look like its his weekend. Lorenzo, Stoner, Spies, Pedrosa are your top 4 tomorrow.

I am glad to see Spies up there finally. Someone else said it, he needs a result this race. Simocelli looked like he was gonna get pole for most of the session till he went down. Pedrosa looks like his collarbone may still be bothering him, judging from the way he touched it after qualifying. The times are close in the top 4.

But the funny thing I noticed, at the end of qualifying they ran highlights. They started off with 5th position and showed Rossi instead of Spies. Is it for the ratings?