2012 Laguna Seca MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Pole Record Falls As Duel Goes Down To The Wire

Results and summary of a thrilling qualifying practice session at Laguna Seca:

Jorge Lorenzo has snatched pole position for tomorrow's US GP at Laguna Seca after a thrilling qualifying battle that went right down to the wire. The Spaniard set a blistering pace from the moment the session started, posting his fastest lap of the weekend so far on just his 3rd lap out of the pits, before getting within two tenths of the pole record a couple of laps later. Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa followed the Factory Yamaha rider closely, Pedrosa quickly following Lorenzo into the 1'20s, posting a lap within 0.007 of Lorenzo's provisional pole time.

It was clear that the pole record would fall - set by Casey Stoner using qualifying tires on a Ducati in 2008 - but that moment would not come until the session had entered its final stages. Lorenzo was chipping away at his time, taking a couple of hundredths one lap before stepping up the pace again a lap later to cut just inside the lap record. Casey Stoner threatened to take pole position from Lorenzo every lap he was on the track, but kept running into traffic around the short Laguna Seca circuit. With 2 minutes to go he had his best shot, only running across Danilo Petrucci in the final corner, but still keeping enough of his advantage to cross the line seven hundredths quicker than Lorenzo. But the Spaniard was not done, and on his final flying lap he shadowed Stoner's time in the first half then put on a burst of speed in the second half to snatch pole right at the last gasp, and demote a frustrated Casey Stoner to 2nd on the grid.

Stoner's Repsol Honda teammate will start from 3rd, Dani Pedrosa's race pace very strong, but unable to find the extra pace to battle for pole in his qualifying runs. Pedrosa finished ahead of Ben Spies, the factory Yamaha man dropped to 4th, though lucky to escape from a very big crash at Turn 3 late in the session which shook the Texan up pretty badly. Spies leads a second row full of Yamahas, Cal Crutchlow qualifying ahead of Andrea Dovizioso to take 5th, leaving his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate in 6th. Alvaro Bautista heads up the third row, qualifying in 7th and the first man to be over a second slower than Lorenzo. The San Carlo Gresini man sits ahead of Ducati's Nicky Hayden, the American just losing out to Bautista at the end of the session, while LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl qualified in 9th at his first visit to the track. Valentino Rossi struggled to find any pace during qualifying, as he has previously, focusing instead on race pace and ending up nearly two seconds behind Lorenzo and starting from tenth, just ahead of the two Power Electronics Aspar Aprilias of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro.

The American wildcard rider Steve Rapp qualified just outside the 107% limit, but given the massive progress made by the bike - the Attack Kawasaki APR machine had not turned a wheel on track before FP1 on Friday - will be allowed to start from 22nd. Rapp has taken 3 seconds off his time in the three hours of practice the MotoGP riders have, but the gap to the next fastest CRT bike is still large, over two seconds. He has his work cut out on Sunday.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'20.554    
2 1 Casey STONER HONDA 1'20.628 0.074 0.074
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'20.906 0.352 0.278
4 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'21.094 0.540 0.188
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'21.268 0.714 0.174
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 1'21.539 0.985 0.271
7 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA HONDA 1'21.732 1.178 0.193
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'21.734 1.180 0.002
9 6 Stefan BRADL HONDA 1'21.753 1.199 0.019
10 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'22.544 1.990 0.791
11 14 Randy DE PUNIET ART 1'22.886 2.332 0.342
12 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ART 1'23.075 2.521 0.189
13 5 Colin EDWARDS SUTER 1'23.699 3.145 0.624
14 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'23.704 3.150 0.005
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ BQR 1'23.769 3.215 0.065
16 51 Michele PIRRO FTR 1'23.877 3.323 0.108
17 24 Toni ELIAS DUCATI 1'23.898 3.344 0.021
18 54 Mattia PASINI ART 1'24.017 3.463 0.119
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI IODA 1'24.227 3.673 0.210
20 22 Ivan SILVA BQR 1'24.560 4.006 0.333
21 77 James ELLISON ART 1'24.715 4.161 0.155
Not qualified (Out 107%) 1'26.192
  15 Steve RAPP APR 1'26.887 6.333 2.172


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According to MotoGP.com, the Attack CRT team will be allowed to race tomorrow despite being 0.7 seconds outside the 107% rule. After this weekend, I hope they will use the 3-week gap til Indy to good effect.

Thankfully, the CRT speeds are better than the AMA superbike times. Josh Hayes gapped the field by nearly a second, but still would have been 20th in the MotoGP classment.

For different folks. Laguna is a wonderful experience for most fans and riders. If you are Mr Fancy Pants, it's true, one might find it a throw back to another era. Laguna Seca is rustic in every sense of the word. I for one hope it never leaves the calendar.

... would a serious, professional operation such as F1 even consider operating out of tents?

If MotoGP is to gain greater credibility in the US, then perhaps it should take a long and honest look at what is being served-up to the paying customer.

Laguna is quaint, but offers very little to those with broader MotoGP interests i.e. Moto 2 & Moto 3.

Sounds like you are sipping too much from Bernie Eccelstone's koolaid. Let us have homogeneous tracks with absolutely no character as long as they have a decent paddock area.

You can stick that idea where ... well you get the idea. I would rather have iconic and interesting tracks anyday of the week. Laguna is a track like no other in the world and it would be terrible to see it go or changed.

Laguna Seca, Philip island, Assen (even after the mods), Spa to name a few are iconic with super flavor and style. You can take your Herman Tilke tracks and keep em.

Stoner will be criticised for speaking out again about being held up by slower bikes in qualifying, but more than ever I think he has a point this time. Those CRT puddling around the place are definitely adversely affecting qualifying for the fastest riders. Qualifying is about your outright pace, not your ability to negotiate an obstacle course of slower bikes. Maybe the CRTs should cut their practise and qualifying laps with the Moto2 bikes instead!

Please don't think I am trying to center you out, I am just presenting my viewpoint.
If there was no "CRT" label and these bikes were simply last years prototypes is smaller companies, etc. BUT in the same positions and running the same times would people be complaining even though the bikes would be adhering to the same rules as the front runners? Is there more criticism because of the controversial rule change? Some may make comparisons to past years when the grids were full and traffic was normal but I personally think such comparisons are pointless as the sport has moved too far forward to compare. At the same time I am in the minority, I like the CRT idea, not in it's current form obviously, but I like the vision that Ezpeleta has presented in his interviews. Such a drastic change takes time, so I hope it all goes as planned.

Lorenzo did not shadow Stoner's time in the first half of his pole lap. He was down .208 at the first split and .183 at the second split.

Looked like casey gave it evrything looked knackered when took his helmet off. Good qualifying but a massive blow for Honda who've brought huge upgrades and still behind yam. Vale I applaud you patriotism but you'ce done your service. Ducati might as well be a different class ala CRT. Imagine looking forward to being a ducati satellite rider next year , deary me like pulling teeth (your own) riding a factory one.!!!!