2011 Phillip Island MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Polesitter Dominates Qualifying

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

Casey Stoner has secured his 4th straight pole position in the MotoGP class at Phillip Island, capping his domination of practice with the front spot on the grid. Stoner took over from Dani Pedrosa with 15 minutes to go, putting nearly eight tenths on the Spaniard, and was never challenged again. Early leader throughout the session Jorge Lorenzo will start from 2nd, the Yamaha man not quite having the measure of his title rival, but looking fast enough to keep him honest during the race, while Marco Simoncelli consolidated his good weekend with the final spot on the front row, qualifying in 3rd.

The battle for the 2nd row was intense and threw up a lot of surprises. Alvaro Bautista posted his best ever qualifying performance, putting the Rizla Suzuki into 4th on the grid for tomorrow's race, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that Phillip Island has traditionally been the GSV-R's bogey track, Bautista qualifying in 14th here last year. Bautista's time was thanks almost entirely to the hard work of Andrea Dovizioso, Bautista benefiting massively from a tow from the Repsol Honda rider and then having the temerity to beat him into 5th place. Bautista had earlier raised the hackles of Dovizioso's teammate Dani Pedrosa, the normally calm Spaniard showing an uncharacteristing display of temper, waving arms and shaking fists at Bautista for following. There was a good deal of arm waving going on through the session, with Ben Spies joining the fun earlier as well.

Rounding out the second row was Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden, his best qualifying position of the year, and matching the best qualifying position for a Ducati all season, Valentino Rossi, Karel Abraham and Hector Barbera having sneaked a 6th earlier in the year as well. Hayden was perhaps assisted a little by Ben Spies, the Yamaha man having suffered a huge 270 km/h crash early in the session that saw him badly bruised but still fit to continue. Spies came back after being examined at the medical center to qualifying in 7th, ahead of a surprisingly poor qualifying from Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda man struggling with the softer tires and with grip. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards took 9th, while Pramac Ducati's Loris Capirossi took his best qualifying position of the year to start from 10th. Valentino Rossi's miserable Australian outing continues, Rossi qualifying down in 13th position.

Saturday practice saw a number of big crashes. Apart from Spies high-speed tumble, Mapfre Aspar's replacement rider Damo Cudlin had a huge crash in the morning, sustaining a very nasty wound on the hip. The injury limited his time on the track, leaving the Australian outside the 107% qualifying limit, but Cudlin will be allowed to race as he has already posted a fast enough time during free practice. San Carlo Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama was another rider to crash in the afternoon, falling heavily and taking no further part after setting the 12th fastest time.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'29.975    
2 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'30.448 0.473 0.473
3 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'30.599 0.624 0.151
4 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'30.714 0.739 0.115
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'30.780 0.805 0.066
6 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'30.792 0.817 0.012
7 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'30.835 0.860 0.043
8 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'30.871 0.896 0.036
9 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'31.237 1.262 0.366
10 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'31.583 1.608 0.346
11 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'31.635 1.660 0.052
12 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'31.889 1.914 0.254
13 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'31.980 2.005 0.091
14 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'32.023 2.048 0.043
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'32.054 2.079 0.031
16 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'32.503 2.528 0.449
Not qualified (Out 107%) 1'36.273
* 6 Damian CUDLIN DUCATI 1'36.666 6.691 4.163

* Have qualified for the race having achieved a time within 107 % of the fastest rider in a free practice session.

2011
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Comments

Yet another flawless performance by Casey Stoner, he really is on another level compared to the opposition this year. Great qualifying laps by Bautista and Hayden, i hope they can translate that to a strong race result.
As for Rossi and the latest incarnation of the GP11.1, i think the only positive they can take is they gained more data at a different circuit/track conditions for next years bike.

Fantastic display by Casey at the end lap after lap all under the 130 mark nice to watch but bad news for Dani who looks like he is on a different bike... It really is too easy for Casey at the moment...
I think it's safe to say Presiozi has lost complete control of the project, there are so many things wrong with the duke it's laughable... Presiozi has gambled with Ducati's racing heritage on a single rider which he lucked out on in the first place and he's lost the lot.... I have zero doubt that a change of frame(Yam Honda and suzuki have laid the foundation for what works under the current regs) will immediately bring big improvements perhaps that is what Presiozi is most afraid of??

Yep, just goes to show it ain't just the bike, it's the rider. The two best riders in the world are first and second in the championship. And a graphic illustration this year of why Pedrosa has never won the world championship, he just isn't consistent enough against Stoner and Lorenzo. It could be argued that there are really only two aliens now in MotoGP.

As for Preziosi, well, he and Ducati lucked into hiring Stoner in 2007. Otherwise they would never have won a world MotoGP championship. And it is Stoner's brilliant performance on a difficult bike that is making Rossi look so bad now. But blaming Preziosi entirely for the mess at Ducati is just a cop-out. Big companies just don't work that way, especially when so much is at stake. They all bear responsibility, including Rossi and Burgess. And senior Ducati management will make the ultimate decision on what direction Ducati take, not Preziosi, Rossi or anyone else. Besides, Ducati have a hugely successful world champion superbike, and I assume Preziosi is also the engineer responsible for that.

I've read that the Rossi joined the Twitter the other day (@ValeYellow46), so today I logged in to see what he has to say. Obviously, I was curious to see who is he following, and then I saw one interesting person: @lorenzo99!!!! First thought was: Ahaa, he is studying his nemesis. But then one other thought came to me - remember the script on the table seating on Lorenzo's tank before each race: "If you can't follow me on the track, follow me on Twitter" (http://tinyurl.com/5voqu4v)
:))
Being huge Rossi fan for over a decade, I can't but laugh about that coincidence. And knowing that Rossi can really make this kind of jokes on his account, it really is in his style and could be just the reason he joined the twitter community.
Anyway, I would really like Rossi to follow Lorenzo on track, let aside lead him, but we all must keep our heads down and hope of some improvement for the race, because this embarrasment has been going for entire year and I'm really a sad Rossi supporter. Remembering his majestic ride in, what was it, 2003, when he got a 10 second punishment for overtaking under yellow flag, saw the message on pit board, and, shifting in 10th gear, finished first, this is totally unacceptable.

Yep, the way he doesn't take himself too serious is one of the things that -IMHO- always made him stand out, same for his riding. Though I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that it would be rather nice to see Rossi trying a little bit harder in his riding, to level that with his famous humour...?

We all know the Ducati D16 still shows problems when compared to the other bikes, no matter the updates so far (it has been discussed to death) but I think it has become evident in Rossi's riding -visually and in the timing charts- that his motivation isn't there, like he's simply not pushing that much.
I don't understand if it's on purpose (?!?) or if it's plain demotivation, but something is just not right in there.
I have no idea what's happening behind the stage but it can't be just "testing the bike on racing weekends", or just problems with the bike in this particular track. His team mate (the first guy you have to beat out there) was over one second p/lap faster, he also has both the Pramac Ducatis placed above him now (and Barbera is out this weekend, otherwise...).

That race in 2003 was amazing exactly because of the the way he dealt with that penalty (shutting any negative mouths) but, man... it's so contrasting to today's that it seems like a hundred years ago.

If Stoner carries on like this he'll be in danger of putting the whole CRT entry outside qualification cut-off next year..I expect change to accomadate, probably during the season like Suzukis 9 engine allowance. Will Ducati get 9 engines next year?

Unlucky Damian Cudlin..it's a shame he won't get the chance to race in front of his fans becuase of injury.

The front half of the moto2 field are inside the 107% limit for MotoGP, so it's hardly likely that a decent rider on a CRT will fail to qualify.

I was really pleased to see him holding 6th for quite a while and eventually ending up top 10. This will be his last hurah at the Island and I hope its a happy one for him and Ducati. He did a damn good job for them with Preziosi's 990 brainchild back then when he was younger. He will always have fond memories of this track having won his first championship here. Forza Capirex !!!
Stoner,yet again brilliant and ditto Lorenzo. Have to admire his skill and will to win. Thats why he carries that heavy #1 plate,which in my opinion should be obligatory for any champion crowned. Next weekend in Sepang will perhaps see the Yamaha's have an edge over the Honda's. I wouldn't read much into Pedrosa's grid slot. He was having issues with his soft rubber set up at the end. Tomorrow he will be in the mix for the podium. Simmo ? Only the chequered flag will tell. The raw pace is there,no doubt.
Stoner as usual makes qualifying look more exciting than the race itself and hats off to Spies.That was seriously nasty. I hope the bruising does not compromise him over the distance as he was doing really well up until then. Hayden,another fine job at a lefty circuit. I hope he converts it in the race.

I'm glad to see two of my soap-box issues were raised in the video commentary:
1. The gravel traps at PI are filled with rocks, not gravel. Now Ben Spies has experienced them, maybe they will finally be replaced with something more appropriate.
2. Letting the bikes most likely to leak oil (the historics) run without bellypans that all the modern bikes are required to use is a disgrace... and there is now a nice stripe of cement dust into T1 to remind everyone.

Graham - couldn't agree more.

I was stood at T12 toward the closing minutes and man, was Stoner fearsome! It was such a physical experience just watching him cane that Honda laying it down pretty flat through the last upward incline into the straight. TV doesn't do even the remotest sort of justice to the raw speed.

On the other hand, Rossi's struggles were so clear to all. Sad.

Carlo Pernat has some interesting comments regarding Stoner and Rossi here:

http://www.bigpondsport.com/stoner-owed-motogp-apology/tabid/91/newsid/7...

He says Rossi just isn't the same man these days. It is almost like Rossi has lost the will to fight. I thought Rossi would struggle a bit initially at Ducati, but I thought he would be competitive after a few races. But not this, not at Phiilip Island. Maybe Rossi and Ducati will just be glad when this year is over and they get to work on the 1000, which by all accounts works a lot better than the 800.

And of course there is no doubt the MotoGP world owes Stoner an apology, as Pernat says. All the knockers are being forced to eat humble pie. Stoner is clearly the best rider in the world. Assuming he stays healthy and continues racing for a few more years at this level of performance he will surely be ranked as one of motorcycle grand prix racing's all time greats.

A comparison between qualifying times of J. McWilliams on the 2002 Roberts <170HP 292kph 3 cylinder 500 Proton KR3 to Rossi 2011:

Rossi.......... 1:31.980
McWilliams...1:31.918

Until the last 3 laps of QP he was even behind McWilliam's 1:32.552 on the 2001 140HP V2!

Notice how "genius" hasn't been used lately describing Preziosi? This is also one of Rossi's favorite tracks & the site of the 2003 "miracle" 10 second penalty to win.

Epic fail would be kind.