MotoGP 2012 – Round 14 – Aragon
— Aragon MotoGP Race Day Guide – From official statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines
• Jorge Lorenzo starts from pole for the fifth time in 2012. Aragon is the only one of the four Spanish circuits on the GP schedule where Lorenzo has not had a MotoGP victory. Lorenzo has finished either first or second at every race that he has finished since the Aragon GP last year.
• Dani Pedrosa is on the front row for the eighth successive race. Pedrosa has finished second at each of the previous two visits to the Aragon circuit, but has not won at any of the Spanish circuits since the final race of 2009 at Valencia.
• Cal Crutchlow is in third place on the grid – the sixth time this year that he has qualified on the front row.
• Ben Spies heads the second row, making it three Yamaha riders in the top four places on the grid.
• Stefan Bradl, who has qualified in the middle of the second row, has finished in the top ten on 12 occasions in the first 13 races of his debut year in the MotoGP class.
• In sixth place on the grid is Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed out of the Aragon race last year on the first lap – the only occasion in 2011 that he failed to score points.
• Heading the third row is Jonathan Rea, which is the best qualifying result in MotoGP by a wild-card or replacement rider since Ben Spies was fifth on the grid at the Indianapolis GP in 2008 riding a Suzuki.
• The last time that two British riders qualified in the top seven places on the grid in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing was at the Czech GP in 1989 when Niall Mackenzie was in fifth place on the grid and Ron Haslam in sixth.
• The highest-placed Ducati rider on the grid is Valentino Rossi in eighth. Aragon and Silverstone are the only two circuits where Rossi has not finished on the podium in the MotoGP class.
• Nicky Hayden has taken the final place on the third row of the grid. Hayden was third at the Aragon GP in 2010, which was his last dry-weather podium finish.
• The top CRT rider in qualifying for the fifth time this year is Aleix Espargaro in 11th place on the grid. Espargaro finished tenth in the MotoGP class at Aragon in 2010, and was the first of the satellite Ducati riders across the line.
• Simone Corsi is on pole for the first time since moving up to the Moto2 class at the start of 2010. Corsi’s third place finish at the Aragon Grand Prix last year was the last time he stood on the podium.
• Pol Espargaro has qualified in second place on the grid – his tenth front row start of the year. Espargaro won the 125cc GP at Aragon in 2010.
• Taking the final place on the front row is Andrea Iannone, who won the Moto2 race at Aragon in 2010 when he led every lap of the race.
• In fourth place on the grid is Claudio Corti, which is his best qualifying result since he was on pole at the British GP in 2010.
• Jordi Torres has qualified in the middle of the second row, which is his best ever qualifying result in Grand Prix racing.
• Taking the final place on the second row is the winner of the 125cc GP last year at Aragon, Nico Terol. This is his best grid position so far in his debut year in the Moto2 class.
• Championship leader Marc Marquez will start the race from seventh place on the grid – his worst qualifying result so far in 2012.
• Jonas Folger starts from pole for the first time in his Grand Prix career. He takes the record for the youngest ever German rider to start from pole in Grand Prix racing from Sandro Cortese.
• Second place on the grid is Luis Salom, which equals his best ever grid position in GP racing and is his first front-row start of the year. Salom has already had seven podium finishes in 2012.
• Sandro Cortese takes the final place on the front row after being either first or second on the grid at the last six races. Cortese has been in the top six at every race that he has finished since the Aragon race last year, including 13 podiums.
• Heading the second row of the grid is Romano Fenati who has already scored 120 points this year, which is the highest points total by an Italian rider in their debut season in the lightweight class of Grand Prix racing since Simone Sanna scored 123 points in his debut 125cc GP season in 1999.
• In fifth place on the grid is Danny Kent, who finished sixth in the 125cc GP at Aragon last year which equalled his best dry-weather result of 2011.
• Maverick Viñales, who is in sixth place on the grid, has not had a podium finish at the last three races; he has never had four successive races without a podium since entering GP racing at the start of last year.
— Qualifying Reports – Jorge Lorenzo steals pole in Aragón thriller
All three MotoGP™ classes were gifted dry track time during qualifying at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón, where in a thrilling premier-class session it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who snatched a close-fought pole position for tomorrow’s race ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow.
After nothing but wet sessions so far, Lorenzo put in a strong performance in the dry with a time just under the mid 1.49s, which was sufficient to oust Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa into second on the grid, who did well to recover from an early crash. Rounding out the front row is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who despite taking a tumble in the wet this morning, looked certain to take pole until the final minutes when the Spanish duo pounced.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies heads the second row in fourth, after the American put in another strong performance, which he will undoubtedly look to carry over into tomorrow’s race. Alongside him in fifth is LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who was fastest out of the blocks in qualifying, yet could not maintain the pace of the factory machines and Crutchlow’s satellite Yamaha. Sixth place is occupied by Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian almost seven-tenths off his British teammate.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner stand-in Jonathan Rea continued his improvement in form as he leads the third row in seventh place, seeming more and more comfortable on the factory Honda. To his right, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi starts in eighth, with the Italian not finding the pace he displayed two weeks ago in Misano, and suffering a front-end fold half way through the session.
His teammate Nicky Hayden qualified in ninth, after having also crashed in the final minutes, in front of Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá. Top CRT performer was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who got within 1.7s of the top time and beat San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who was clearly struggling with his satellite RC213V. Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez fell at turn 14, the same place as Pedrosa, but like the other crashers was able to walk away.
1 Jorge Lorenzo 1’49.404 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 1’49.492 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Cal Crutchlow 1’49.576 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Ben Spies 1’49.748 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
5 Stefan Bradl 1’50.034 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
6 Andrea Dovizioso 1’50.241 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Jonathan Rea 1’50.410 GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
8 Valentino Rossi 1’50.949 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Nicky Hayden 1’51.013 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Hector Barbera 1’51.072 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
11 Aleix Espargaro 1’51.082 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
12 Alvaro Bautista 1’51.155 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
13 Randy De Puniet 1’51.459 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Karel Abraham 1’51.521 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Michele Pirro 1’52.606 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 Mattia Pasini 1’52.638 ITA ART Speed Master
17 Colin Edwards 1’52.853 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Danilo Petrucci 1’53.140 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
19 Yonny Hernandez 1’53.233 COL BQR-FTR BQR
20 James Ellison 1’53.719 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
21 David Salom 1’55.290 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
It was Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi who charged to his first ever Moto2™ pole position for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón after putting in a terrific performance ahead of Pol Espargaró and Andrea Iannone.
Corsi stunned the Spanish crowd by stealing pole position in the dying seconds from Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Espargaró with a time of 1.54’343, which was just over two tenths quicker than the Spaniard. Third place went to Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, with the Italian hoping to carry this pace over into tomorrow’s race to claw back some vital championship points.
It was a qualifying session for the Italians at the Spanish circuit, as Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti fought his way into fourth position, cementing the good form he has shown in the sessions before. Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres, who is very familiar with the Aragón circuit from his time here in the Spanish Moto2 championship, was on the pace throughout, ultimately qualifying in fifth despite a crash at the end, in front of his teammate Nico Terol.
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez had a very subdued session for his standards as he qualified first on the third row in seventh. The Spaniard did well to save a near crash on his final hot lap, and will be looking for a marked improvement in form tomorrow. Márquez’s time did however push back Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith into eighth, after the Brit wrestled his bike up the order in the closing minutes. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding completed the third row in ninth, while the wet-pace man, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, rounded out the top ten.
In cool conditions many of the riders struggled for grip, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis and Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot both crashing twice in the session. Additional fallers included S/Master Speed Up’s Alessandro Andreozzi, Technomag-CIP’s Tomoyoshi Koyama and Targo Bank CNS Motorsport’s wildcard Alex Mariñelarena. All riders fortunately escaped serious injury.
The Moto3™ grid was greeted by a continually drying track for qualifying at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón where it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who stormed to his maiden GP pole position ahead of Luis Salom and Sandro Cortese.
Under threatening skies but a track that was almost fully dry by the end of the session it was Folger’s time of 2.01’715 that saw him take his first ever Grand Prix pole position, with RW Racing GP’s injured Salom less than two tenths behind him in second. There had been concerns that Salom may not be able to contest qualifying after a crash this morning, yet he was declared fit despite a very sore shoulder. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese completes the front row in third, as the German was unable to match his compatriots pace in the final stages.
Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati heads the second row in fourth, having had a terrific session at the Spanish track, ending the afternoon just under five-tenths off the top. Lining up next to him in fifth is Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, whilst the final spot on the row belongs to Blusens Avintia’s championship pursuer Maverick Viñales. Viñales had been lingering further back in the field when the track was damp at the start, yet soon made his way up once conditions improved.
In seventh, AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin was unable to repeat his top spot from this morning, but will no doubt be pleased with his performance. Next to him in eighth, JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez looked as if he might make it onto the second row in the latter stages, yet was unable to match the pace in the final laps. Yesterday’s pace-setter, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira completes the third row, with his teammate Alex Rins rounding out the top ten.
— Yamaha Racing
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo emerged the victor in an intense qualifying battle today, securing the pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Aragon at the Motorland circuit. The Championship leader started the first dry session of the weekend quite slowly, gradually picking up the pace to join the battle between his team mate Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa for the top spot. It was with his last fresh tyre just three laps from the end of the session that Lorenzo delivered, putting down a 1’49.404 lap to secure pole 0.088 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. The pole is his fifth of the season.
Texan Spies threatened to make it an all Yamaha front row this afternoon, consistently battling with the top three and briefly taking the top spot on the timesheets. His fastest lap came just one lap before the end of the session, delivering a 1’49.748 lap and missing the front row by just 0.172 seconds.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 1st – Time: 1’49.404 – Laps 22
“I feel happy, I really thought Cal would take pole position because his lap time was really quick but finally we managed to improve our lap time with the last qualifying tyre. It’s important to be on the front row in pole position but tomorrow is what counts, we have to do a lot of laps and it’s going to be a long race. Let’s see how the weather is, we all hope it’s not going to rain, it’s much better if it’s dry.”
Ben Spies / Position 4th – Time: 1’49.784 – Laps 24
“In the end we weren’t too far off the fastest guys. The session was quite tricky in the beginning, very slippery in parts and quite different to when we tested here. In the end we did an ok job, we didn’t make a perfect qualifying session but honestly speaking after seeing some of the crashes I was probably being a bit cautious. It was the first dry session of the weekend so it’s quite hard to go full speed that quickly. The bike is working well so a good warm up tomorrow morning and we’ll be ready for the race.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very important pole position, circumstances were very difficult because it was slippery and cold so in the beginning we weren’t so fast. We knew what times we had achieved in the test but it was important not to lose concentration and make a mistake today.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We wrapped up today with pole which is always a great result. I think the test we had here was very helpful, this makes our work a lot easier this weekend. The only thing that could have been sweeter today would have been to have Ben on the front row too. Ben has a good set up so let’s hope tomorrow will be dry.”
Crutchlow clinches front row at Motorland Aragon
Cal Crutchlow delivered a fantastic qualifying performance in cool and cloudy conditions at the Motorland Argon circuit this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider heading the timesheets for over half the session before securing a place on the front row of the grid for the sixth time in 2012.
The session started on a dry track, which gave Crutchlow and teammate Andrea Dovizioso their first opportunity to assess grip levels on Bridgestone’s slick tyres after a rain-hit weekend.
With dark clouds threatening in the skies above, Crutchlow wasted no time in establishing a fast rhythm and he took control of the session shortly before the halfway mark with a lap of 1.50.322.
Crutchlow brilliantly built up his speed and he was the first rider to lap in the 1.49 bracket when a lap of 1.49.718 moved him over 0.6s clear of the pack with 15 minutes left on the clock. He held top spot until just over three minutes remained when his pace was bettered by Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
The British rider lowered his lap time to a 1.49.576 to finish just 0.172s off pole position. Today’s result secured Crutchlow a place on the front row for the third race in succession ahead of tomorrow’s 23-lap encounter. And today’s qualifying session was the third in succession that Crutchlow, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have occupied the top three places.
The first dry session of the weekend gave Dovizioso the opportunity to focus on the dry race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine. The Italian was a consistent challenger for the top three for much of the session and with just five minutes remaining he looked well set to notch his third front row start of the campaign when he sat in third position on the leaderboard.
Dovizioso was able to set a best time of 1.50.241 that secured him a place on the second row in sixth position and he’s confident he will be a leading contender for the rostrum in tomorrow’s race.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 3rd – Time 1’49.576 – Laps 23
“I think we did a very good job today to finish on the front row when this session was the first time we have been able to work on the settings in the dry. My main aim for the session was to get the bike set-up for the race and immediately out of the box I was fast and all through the session I was able to steadily improve my pace. I’m confident going into tomorrow’s race because the bike feels good, despite the fact that we missed a lot of dry track time, so credit to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did a fantastic job again. I thought we’d be struggling more because Jorge, Dani and Ben all tested here for two days recently, so to be so close to them shows we’ve done a great job. That is the third front row start on the bounce now but after Misano I have got to finish the race tomorrow. Hopefully it will be in the top three because it would be great to get another podium.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 6th – Time: 1’50.241 – Laps 25
“It has been a particular session this afternoon with quite tricky conditions as qualifying was the first dry session of the weekend and with the low temperatures we had to use the soft front tyre, which is normally unusual for this track and for my riding style. I can’t push as hard as I would like while braking on corner entry, so we will probably use the hard option in the race tomorrow without having it tried before. I’m still really happy with my feeling with the bike. I could have been faster during the last run but I did just two of the five planned flying laps because I found some slower riders on track. I’m confident that I will be able to fight for the podium tomorrow, but it will be important to make a good start to stay with the leading group during the opening laps.”
— Ducati Report
Qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix took place on a dry track in chilly, cloudy conditions, and Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished in eighth and ninth places, respectively, putting them both on the third row of tomorrow’s starting grid.
Rossi had a fall at mid-session and Hayden had one at the end, and although neither incident had any physical repercussions, the session was somewhat affected for both riders. They hope for a dry warm-up session tomorrow morning, to help them refine the Desmosedici’s setup.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th (1:50.949)
“This is a pretty difficult track. You spin a lot, and it’s basically the opposite of Misano. Today went pretty well considering that the others tested here recently and that qualifying was basically the first normal session all weekend. Being on the third row isn’t great, but it’s not too bad either. Unfortunately, I fell about midway through the session, and that cost us some time. Tomorrow we’ll have to decide between a couple of setting options. Let’s hope that the warm-up session will be dry so that we’ll have the opportunity to improve the setup a little bit. Then in the race we’ll see what pace we’re actually able to do.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:51.013)
“It wasn’t a great day. It was hard to check much in the wet this morning, and I wanted to save some rain tyres for the afternoon just in case, so we didn’t do a lot of work. In qualifying, at times we weren’t too far off, but then when we put in my last tyre at the end, I lost the front in the middle of the last corner. I picked it up, but I was headed right for the wall. I just touched the brakes, and with slicks on wet grass, that was it. We certainly could have done without that, but luckily it wasn’t a big one. This was the first time I was able to really ride the new chassis in the dry, but I need more setup time with it. We’ll regroup and see what we come up with for tomorrow.”
— HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix from second on the grid after a brilliant comeback from a tumble during this afternoon’s qualifying session.
MotoGP rookies Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) and Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V) also performed superbly, going fifth and seventh fastest.
Conditions at Aragon have been very similar to what they were Misano a fortnight ago: a wet track for the first three practice sessions, then a dry track for qualifying. Set-up time has therefore been extremely limited, with Pedrosa, Bradl and Rea all falling back on the data they gathered here during a test session at Aragon earlier in the month.
Pedrosa – who celebrates his 27th birthday today – was second fastest after the first three practice sessions and went into this afternoon’s hour-long outing aiming to score his second consecutive pole position. But his hopes were dented when he took a heavy tumble after just five minutes, losing the front as he braked for turn 14. It was an unexpected crash because Pedrosa was not pushing hard. Only minutes later another rider crashed at exactly the same spot, suggesting that cold track temperatures and a slippery ‘green’ track surface were the culprits.
With both his bike and his leathers damaged, Pedrosa returned to the pits to change leathers and climb aboard his second machine. At first he focused on getting his confidence back and securing a reasonably fast lap time to put him well up on the grid. Once he had done that then he began to push to the limit in search of pole.
With three minutes to go he did go fastest, but with just seconds to go Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) sneaked ahead to take pole with a slender 0.088s advantage.
Bradl was once again up with the leaders throughout, finally taking fifth spot, which means he will start the race in the middle of the second row between Yamaha Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso. Like most riders Bradl rode with soft front and rear slicks this afternoon, due to the low temperatures, even though he usually prefers the extra support of Bridgestone’s harder compound front tyre.
Rea also had good reason to be happy with his day’s work, especially considering the changeable conditions. The Ten Kate Honda World Superbike rider made his MotoGP debut at the rain-hit Misano GP – substituting for injured World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) – which means he has had very little dry track time on a MotoGP machine. Luckily he had joined Pedrosa and Bradl for testing here in preparation for Misano.
Rea is in his fourth weekend of five consecutive race weekends, alternating between his Honda CBR1000RR superbike and Stoner’s RC213V MotoGP machine. Last weekend he rode his CBR to second place in the second race at the Portimao World Superbike round.
Stoner’s much-anticipated return is scheduled to take place at the next MotoGP round in Japan on October 14, six weeks after he underwent surgery on his right ankle, injured during a nasty qualifying crash at the Indianapolis GP.
Bautista was the only RC213V rider not to take part in the Aragon tests, and that lack of dry track time today cost the Spaniard who ended up 12th fastest. Like many riders he struggled to find grip on the slippery surface and he wasn’t prepared to push over the limit and risk a crash.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was happy enough with his progress to 15th position, which puts him third quickest in the CRT machine rankings.
Both Moto2 and Moto3 experienced similarly changeable conditions, with a complicated contrast between wet practice and dry qualifying. The ever-changing weather produced a surprise pole sitter in the Honda-powered Moto2 series – with Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) taking his first pole in the class. The Italian bettered Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) in his final lap by less than two tenths of a second.
Delighted by his first Moto2 pole, the former 125 GP winner is determined to turn around his 2012 season tomorrow. So far this year his best results have been three fifth-place finishes at Catalunya, Silverstone and Brno
Espargaro’s ride to second place today may turn out to be crucial in his efforts to close the gap on Moto2 title leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter). Espargaro will be aiming to get away with the leaders tomorrow while Marquez has to fight his way through the pack after qualifying seventh, his worst grid position of the year.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) took the last place on the front row after outpacing Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex) and others by a fraction of a second. As usual, the Moto2 grid is tightly packed with 1.2s covering the fastest 19 riders.
Marquez threw everything at getting closer to the front, his machine going wildly sideways as he exited the final turn at the very end of the session. The series leader will start the race from the third row, but he has proved on many occasions that he is more than capable of getting to the front, regardless of his position in the early laps.
Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) was Honda’s top qualifier in the Moto3 category, the Italian teenager clocking the fourth fastest time to put him at the head of the second row.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) will start the race from the other end of row two in sixth spot. The Spanish teenager currently lies second in the World Championship standings and needs a good result tomorrow if he is to keep series leader Sandro Cortese (KTM) in sight. Cortese qualified third fastest today, behind KTM riders Jonas Folger and Luis Salom.
Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) was seventh quickest this afternoon and will start the race from the middle of the third row, alongside Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda).
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 1m 48.492s “It’s a very good result for us after all the issues we had! I’m really happy to be on the front row and so close to the pole position.
After the crash I had at the beginning of the session – I guess due to cold tyres because I was not pushing at all – we only had one bike left with 50 minutes remaining. I lost some time there and when I went out with the second bike I realised that I had to remain calm because it was the only bike I had for the rest of qualifying and also the only front tyre. At the beginning, I was cautious trying to set a decent lap time and towards the end I just forgot about everything and pushed harder for the front row. We have a good position for the start, I just hope everything goes smoothly and we can have a great race tomorrow in front of the home Spanish crowd.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th – 1m 50.034s “I am pretty satisfied about my qualifying because we lapped with a good pace from the beginning of the session. Unfortunately in one middle-session run I suffered a bit because of the front tyre: we were using the soft rubber the whole session but normally I prefer the hard one but in these cold conditions we thought the soft tyres were the best choice. At the end I was trying to put things together but it was not easy because the rear tyre dropped very fast so I was expecting to get one more position on the grid but P5 is good anyway.”
Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda: 7th – 1m 50.410s “It was the first dry session of the weekend. I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve this weather! Towards the end of the session we started to get going and find our rhythm, the lap time was okay and I see a few areas where I can improve, but we are closing the gap; now just a second from the pole time which I’m pleased with. In general I’m really happy with the bike and with the set-up so hopefully tomorrow I can be closer to the front guys than I was in Misano. It looks like my last ride so I want to go out tomorrow and make every single lap count.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th – 1m 51.155s “This afternoon was our only dry session so far and I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike. I wasn’t confident with the front and the rear was sliding around too much. We couldn’t find a solution for qualifying and it was my worst qualifying of the season so far. Hopefully tomorrow with dry track and higher temperatures we can find the confidence to put in a good performance.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th – 1m 52.606s “Finally we had a dry session this afternoon and even though the conditions weren’t perfect I was able to get back the feeling for the bike that I had lost in the wet. Our pace is good and if we can close the gap a little more to the top two CRTs we can have a good race tomorrow. We need a little more traction from the rear because at the moment I am struggling to put the power to the ground but I think we can make improvements and be more competitive tomorrow.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 – Wet. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 15-16°C (Bridgestone measurement)
QP – Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 16-17°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo rode his Yamaha Factory Racing M1 to pole position today at Aragon, the Spaniard’s time of 1’49.404 placing him in an ideal position to fight for a seventh win of the season.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa recovered well after a crash early in the session to set a best lap just 0.088 seconds behind Lorenzo to qualify in second place, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow completes the front row after stopping the clocks just 0.084 seconds behind Pedrosa. Aleix Espargaro was another rider to excel on home soil, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider set a time of 1’51.082 to qualify in P11.
In qualifying all riders used the combination of soft option slicks front and rear to give themselves maximum warm-up performance and traction on a surface that still provided less than ideal grip. Tyre choice for the race is likely to see widespread use of the softer slicks on both ends of the bike, though some riders may opt for the harder front slick if temperatures are warmer tomorrow.
The riders will have a final chance to fine tune their bikes during tomorrow morning’s warm up session at 0940 local time (GMT +2) before the twenty-three lap race commences at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“After another wet session this morning the riders were finally able to take to the Aragon circuit in the dry for qualifying, although conditions were still less than favourable as track temperatures were quite cool – some twenty five degrees cooler than last year’s qualifying session. The low temperatures meant all riders preferred the softer front and rear slicks and with similar temperatures expected tomorrow, this will likely be the popular combination for the race. Some riders may assess the harder front slick in warm-up tomorrow to see if this option could provide any advantage for their particular riding style, but with the cool weather set to continue it is difficult to predict if any riders will select this option for the race.”
— Red Bull Rookies – Trautmann wins Aragon 1 as Alt takes 3rd and the Cup
Florian Alt won the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2012 with a perfect 3rd place behind victor Lukas Trautmann and Marcos Ramirez. While both his Cup rivals, Scott Deroue and Philipp Oettl slid off, 16 year old German Alt judged everything perfectly to cross the line just over a 10th of a second behind Trautmann, the 16 year old Austrian and alongside 14 year old Spaniard Ramirez.
Unluckiest man in the race was 15 year old Belgian Livio Loi who had worked his way through the pack. He overcame a clash with 16 year old Japanese Yui Watanabe that dropped him to 15th, fought his way to the lead and went onto the last lap with over 2 seconds on Trautmann only to have his bike roll to a halt at the first corner with an electrical failure.
That left Trautmann with just a 1.1 second lead over Alt and the rest, not enough of a comfort zone at all. “I had been looking at the big screens through the race and I knew that there was a big pack there. Bad luck to Livio, I don’t know what happened to his bike but I could see the others were right with me going onto the last lap.”
“The rear suspension was not right because we had no dry practice time so my back tyre was destroyed by the end of the race. My mechanic had also been showing me with the pit board that I had to keep pushing so that is what I did, I just gave it everything on the last lap and hung on. It was a very tough race, windy and we had no idea about the track, but so great to win.” he concluded with a huge grin.
Ramirez, one of the few to have ridden at Aragon before, had set off from the middle of the front row into an early lead while the others struggled to get used to a track that they had only experienced in the wet. Trautmann was soon after him though, towing the field behind him and Ramirez was swallowed up in the typical Rookies Cup charge of about 15 bikes all chasing the win.
That was broken up a little when outgoing Cup champions Lorenzo Baldassarri was flicked off on lap 6 of 15. Luckless Oettl could not avoid the sliding machine and was also brought down. Fortunately both the 15 year old Italian and the 16 year old German were unhurt.
The chase quickly reformed and the remaining Cup challenger, 16 year old Dutchman Deroue, can never be counted out in such circumstances. He had only qualified 18th, had not been in the top 10 all race. Yet as the laps counted down he was suddenly there in 5th position and with just Ramirez separating himself from Alt in 3rd and the hope of keeping his Cup hopes alive.
Deroue pushed and pushed too hard, he slid off unhurt on the last lap. The Cup was Alt’s even before he crossed the line, both he and Ramirez closing on Trautmann all through the final lap but juts coming up short. “It was a tough race,” said Ramirez. “I really had to fight hard all the way. On the last lap I really thought I had a chance to get the win but just couldn’t make it. The bike was great though, I am not going to change anything for tomorrow, just push harder for the win.”
So Alt claimed the Cup with a race in hand. A season of 4 race wins, a total of 7 rostrum finishes and always crossing the line in the top 5 but for a technical failure in Race 2 in Jerez and a fall in Race 2 in Estoril.
“It wasn’t an easy race, I knew that I had to keep a look out for Scotty and when he didn’t come past I knew I had won the Cup. It is a fantastic feeling, it has been a wonderful year. I want to go better in the 2nd race so for sure we are going to change the suspension a bit, I couldn’t hold the line today so if we get it right tomorrow’s race will be even more fun and I don’t have to worry about points or anything else.”