2012 Silverstone MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Late Shower Throws Up Surprise Polesitter

Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Silverstone:

Alvaro Bautista has secured his first ever pole position in MotoGP, timing his fast run perfectly before a light shower put an end to proceedings in the last few minutes of qualifying. Bautista sits ahead of Ben Spies and Casey Stoner on the front row of the grid for Sunday's MotoGP race.

Qualifying looked like being a settled in a straight contest between Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, the two taking it in turns to top the timesheet, but at the halfway mark of the session, Ben Spies posted a lap to take over provisional pole. Alvaro Bautista was the first rider to put in a serious attempt at pole, securing the top spot with 19 minutes to go, and a few minutes later, the first spots of rain started to appear. With 8 minutes to, the rain turned more serious, thwarting any attempt to depose Bautista from pole, but the San Carlo Gresini Honda man had done more than enough to earn his first pole in MotoGP. Spies ended up in 2nd, a tenth behind Bautista, and just a hundredth ahead of Casey Stoner on the Repsol Honda.

Jorge Lorenzo will start tomorrow's race at the head of the second row, with fellow Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Hector Barbera alongside him in 5th and 6th respectively. Nicky Hayden heads up the 3rd row, and is the last man within a second of Bautista, taking 7th despite a heavy crash towards the end of the session. Andrea Dovizioso will start from alongside Hayden in 8th, while Stefan Bradl sits in 9th, riding despite having injured his finger during this morning's free practice. Valentino Rossi will start from 10th, after crashing in exactly the same spot that Nicky Hayden would later, locking up the front under braking at Vale.

While the Ducatis were crashing at Vale, Turn 16, the rest of the field were going down on the entrance to Brooklands at Turn 6. Nobody was seriously hurt in the crashes, though both Hayden and Rossi looked a little shook up when they crashed. Cal Crutchlow, who did not ride during qualifying, will be allowed to start the race on Sunday, though he will line up at the back of the grid. The Englishman damaged his ankle during FP3 this morning, and was undergoing further checks at a local hospital during QP.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA HONDA 2'03.303    
2 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 2'03.409 0.106 0.106
3 1 Casey STONER HONDA 2'03.423 0.120 0.014
4 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 2'03.763 0.460 0.340
5 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 2'03.835 0.532 0.072
6 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 2'03.876 0.573 0.041
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 2'04.162 0.859 0.286
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 2'04.304 1.001 0.142
9 6 Stefan BRADL HONDA 2'05.035 1.732 0.731
10 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 2'05.416 2.113 0.381
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ART 2'06.283 2.980 0.867
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET ART 2'06.303 3.000 0.020
13 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ BQR 2'06.814 3.511 0.511
14 51 Michele PIRRO FTR 2'07.016 3.713 0.202
15 5 Colin EDWARDS SUTER 2'07.376 4.073 0.360
16 54 Mattia PASINI ART 2'07.511 4.208 0.135
17 77 James ELLISON ART 2'08.228 4.925 0.717
18 9 Danilo PETRUCCI IODA 2'08.686 5.383 0.458
19 22 Ivan SILVA BQR 2'10.092 6.789 1.406
Not Classified
  17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI      
* 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA      

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

2012
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Total votes: 23

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Comments

If you frame-by-frame the footage from behind Hayden, you can see exactly what happens.

The bike goes over a slight hump while under brakes, and the rear wheel comes off the ground - almost like a micro-jump.

The track flattens out while it's still on the front-wheel only, the front wheel locks up (you can see a puff of blue smoke) and then the bike crashes.

This sudden loss of grip on the front with a change in load, makes me wonder if it's perhaps an issue with the extra flex in the new front tyre and these track conditions.

Ducati only did very limited testing with the new Bridgestone, and under totally different conditions.

Stoner did comment some time back, that other riders will regret their decision to approve the new tyre, once they've used it more.

Total votes: 54

I think you're over analyzing that crash a bit to much. Same thing may have happened regardless of tire.

Total votes: 44

I saw the interview with him post-QP and he stated in no uncertain terms that he thought the new tyre was responsible for the front-end crashes.

Total votes: 47

The Ducati also has a little form. Plenty of riders prefer them. Caseys words spoken in anger suggesting nobody knows what they are talking about also has a little form. Ducati guys lucky today. Hope cal is ok for race will be fun watching him fighting through the pack.

Total votes: 42

..... not able to get a decent grid slot.

Last year out & this year starting from low down the grid.

Granted he was not injured at the time, but lets not forget Bradders #38 started last in 2011 and still got second. YES, I know, different class & uninjured but it shows what can be done.

Good luck to all tomorrow, lets hope for either a total downpour or a wet race. The pit it rides are a nightmare !

Total votes: 46

It hardly seems like it would be safe for him to start the race -- to expect him to ride competitively and control a MotoGP bike in such difficult track and weather conditions -- when he was in so much pain after the accident they decided to take him to a hospital for further scans. Doesn't exactly sound like an injury that will resolve enough in little more than 24 hours.

Total votes: 41

Both Hayden and Rossi crashing the same way at the same corner is a bit more than coincidence. This has got to be apart of front end not working as good as other bikes on the grid. No one else crashed there but those two. The need to figure something out soon, or else that bike will never challenge in the dry again. Hope they find an answer in design, front fork, brakes, tire....something or everything.

Feel for Cal Crutchlow at his home race. Something about Brits on Tech 3 going to race in their home race. Toseland a few years ago seemed to struggle at home too.

Total votes: 44

I was watching from Woodcote. They were both looking 'squirelly' coming out of there too for 2 or 3 laps beofre they binned. No-one else was.

David, is it possible that this is somehow down to mis-loaded electronics again? The Duc crashes seemed to have no cause, the riders looked bewildered as were the techies, and both incidents looked identical.

Total votes: 44

Last time the World Superbike Championship visited Silverstone (2010), the track conditions were considerably better in qualifying (track temp 38 degrees Celcius), and the following was the result:

1 JOHN HOPKINS SAMSUNG CRESCENT RACING 2'04.041
2 EUGENE LAVERTY YAMAHA WORLD SUPERBIKE TEAM 2'04.068
3 LEON CAMIER APRILIA ALITALIA RACING TEAM 2'04.303
4 CARLOS CHECA ALTHEA RACING 2'04.362
5 SYLVAIN GUINTOLI TEAM EFFENBERT-LIBERTY RACING 2'05.456
6 MARCO MELANDRI YAMAHA WORLD SUPERBIKE TEAM 2'05.639
7 MICHEL FABRIZIO TEAM SUZUKI ALSTARE 2'05.997
8 NORIYUKI HAGA PATA RACING TEAM APRILIA 2'04.627
9 LEON HASLAM BMW MOTORRAD MOTORSPORT 2'05.091
10 AYRTON BADOVINI BMW MOTORRAD ITALIA SBK TEAM 2'05.115
11 MAX BIAGGI APRILIA ALITALIA RACING TEAM 2'05.184

These times are around the same as Hayden was doing yesterday on the factory MotoGP Ducati and most of them were faster than what Rossi achieved in an admittedly truncated qualifying. No doubt the MotoGP bikes would have been even faster with a bit of temperature in the track. That aside, it is the lap times of the Formula 1000 bikes (a.k.a. CRT) that are interesting. Espargaro & De Puniet are a bit slower than these times above, and even if the two ART riders were a full second faster, that would still leave them slower than all three Aprilias in the list above.

It was the same thing in the first season of Moto2. At the handful of tracks Moto2 bikes and World Supersport raced at, the WSS bikes were faster around the track, despite some of the Moto2 bikes having more than 10 km/h speed advantage. But then Dunlop made better tyres, the chassis constructors improved their chassis and the Moto2 bikes picked up.

It is to be hoped that a decently prepared F1000 bike would be faster around any given track than a Superbike.

Of course, we have to also consider that few of the F1000 riders are in the same league as the top 15 Superbike World Championship riders.

Be interesting to see what Eugene and Max would do if they tested on their Superbikes alongside the F1000 bikes at the same track on the same day.

You could probably sell tickets to that...

Total votes: 43

WSBK bikes do not have an engine allocation limit. The Aprilia, BMW & Honda powered CRT bikes have less power & revs than their WSBK factory analogues.

Over time I would expect that chassis & electronics development will increase the CRT bikes pace over their WSBK siblings. It does show how good modern stock production motorcycle frames actually are if they are able to use the extra power they have available to them to turn faster lap times than those of the CRT bikes even with the CRT advantage of carbon/carbon brakes & GP spec tyres.

Total votes: 42

Don't forget that WSBK uses qualifying tyres, whereas MotoGP doesn't. I don't know the grip level difference between the soft (less hard) compound of the BS vs the qualifiers of Pirelli, but since the BS ones last longer, I'd venture into saying the Pirellis have more grip.

Total votes: 37

"Both Hayden and Rossi crashing the same way at the same corner is a bit more than coincidence," writes whorida002000

Yes, indeed it is.

It shows that Jeremy 'the Guru' Burgess and Juan 'the butcher' Martinez have achieved a level of total consistency in their approach to racing motorcycle set-up.

Do not blame Ducati for what these two are achieving. This is the set-up they chose.

The Guru himself was the one who said racing motorcycles are a tool and it is the crew chief and mechanics' job to sharpen it for the rider.

At the moment, their 'tool' appears to be a hammer.

Total votes: 43

But you can't polish a turd.

Total votes: 49

The other manufacturers are giving their teams knives, which lend themselves more easily to sharpening.

Total votes: 39

The fact is the Ducati 800cc MotoGP bike even with the monococque chassis (carbon fibre airbox, whatever) was winning races in the latter half of 2010. That would indicate it was a very sharp little knife indeed. However, that knife was given to people who did not know how to care for it, and they have steadily taken away its razor-sharp edge. Has anyone counted how many changes were made to what was once a winner to arrive at this point? It is amazing that so much money and resources have been committed to the task of making Ducati look bad. The new owners cannot be amused. They may even be outraged if, after Aragon, they discover the new 'tool' is still slower than the old winner.

Total votes: 50

Stoner was winning races, not Ducati. Even if you're right and the bike was helping him win rather than him winning in spite of the bike, he's no longer riding for them. Designing a bike that only someone who rides for another manufacturer and is retiring can ride is not a recipe for success.

Even if Rossi/Hayden aren't the right combination to win the championship, are the next riders Ducati hire more likely to ride like them or Stoner? Ducati have work with their riders to fix the major problems they do have, instead of hoping the riders will figure out how to ride around the problems.

Total votes: 51

The fact is the Ducati 800cc MotoGP bike even with the monococque chassis (carbon fibre airbox, whatever) was winning races in the latter half of 2010. That would indicate it was a very sharp little knife indeed. However, that knife was given to people who did not know how to care for it, and they have steadily taken away its razor-sharp edge. Has anyone counted how many changes were made to what was once a winner to arrive at this point? It is amazing that so much money and resources have been committed to the task of making Ducati look bad. The new owners cannot be amused. They may even be outraged if, after Aragon, they discover the new 'tool' is still slower than the old winner.

Total votes: 50