MotoGP 2012 – Round 13 – Misano
— Spectacular last-gasp San Marino pole for Pedrosa
In much improved conditions for all three MotoGP™ qualifying sessions at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who stormed to a thrilling pole position for tomorrow’s premier-class race ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow.
In the first dry session so far, Pedrosa’s lap in the high 1.33s saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo dramatically pushed into second by less than two hundredths. Lorenzo was however happy with his lap and expects a close battle in tomorrow’s race. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow was equally on the pace, with the Brit on provisional pole in the final minutes, before being overtaken by the Spanish duo. This is the fifth time the he will start from the front row, and he will no doubt be looking for his second GP podium tomorrow.
Fourth place went to LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who looks ever more like the complete package on his satellite machine with yet another terrific performance. Lining up next to him in fifth is San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, putting on a good show for the team at its home race. Rounding out the second row is Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, having had one of his best qualifying sessions of the year, fishing just over seven tenths off the top.
Row three is headed by Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who will be disappointed he could not match his teammate in front of his home crowd. This pushed Yamaha’s Ben Spies into seventh, with the American doing well to recover from a crash half way through the session. He headed back out on his second bike, yet was not comfortable with the different set-up of the machine. In ninth, Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea looked unfazed by his lack of track time, as he went consistently quicker on his factory machine on his MotoGP QP debut. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden completed the top ten, putting in the laps despite still suffering from a right hand injury. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished as top CRT, having qualified in 12th. Apart from Spies, the only other crasher was Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, who walked away from the incident unscathed.
1 Dani Pedrosa 1’33.857 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1’33.875 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Cal Crutchlow 1’34.001 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Stefan Bradl 1’34.221 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
5 Alvaro Bautista 1’34.299 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
6 Valentino Rossi 1’34.619 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Andrea Dovizioso 1’34.916 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Ben Spies 1’34.988 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
9 Jonathan Rea 1’35.358 GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
10 Nicky Hayden 1’35.401 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Karel Abraham 1’35.648 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
12 Randy De Puniet 1’35.756 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Hector Barbera 1’36.048 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
14 Aleix Espargaro 1’36.284 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
15 Michele Pirro 1’36.340 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 James Ellison 1’37.124 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
17 Mattia Pasini 1’37.162 ITA ART Speed Master
18 Yonny Hernandez 1’37.316 COL BQR-FTR BQR
19 Danilo Petrucci 1’37.751 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
20 Colin Edwards 1’38.068 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 David Salom 1’40.075 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
It was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who threw down the gauntlet for tomorrow’s race at Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano by taking Moto2™ pole position in front of Pol Espargaró and Scott Redding.
Championship leader Márquez recorded his seventh pole of the season with a 1.38’242, beating Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s compatriot Pol Espargaró into second by less than a tenth. Espargaró had looked to be re-mounting a new challenge in the final minutes, yet crashed out in turn 15 as he lost the front of his machine. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding, who was consistently fast all session could not quite beat the Spaniard, yet was still less than a tenth off the top.
Surprise inclusion in fourth is Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami, who put the hammer down in the latter stages to displace local favourite Andrea Iannone on board his Speed Master machine. Iannone encountered some traffic on his final laps, and finished the afternoon over two-tenths off Márquez. Completing the second row in sixth is Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who re-found some pace as the sun came out to provide the best conditions all weekend.
Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat put his Kalex in seventh, after shadowing Márquez for much of the session. Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot made a surprise visit into the top ten, seemingly getting to grips well with his Suter around the Misano circuit in eight. Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio and Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith complete the top ten.
With riders pushing hard all session there were numerous crashes apart from Espargaró, including this morning’s pace-setter, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrötter, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea and JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, with none of the riders injuring themselves seriously.
The sun came out in time for the Moto3™ qualifying practice at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano where Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese took pole position in front of Romano Fenati and Niccolò Antonelli.
Cortese stormed to pole with a time of 1.44’201, the best lap all weekend, thanks to the much-improved weather and track conditions. Lining up next to him in second is Team Italia FMI’s local favourite Romano Fenati, who used the home crowd and track knowledge to his advantage. Completing the front of the grid is another Italian in the form of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Antonelli, getting his second front row start of the season.
Heading up row two in fourth is Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, doing very well to recover from a crash earlier in the session when he hit a bump with his front wheel. In fifth, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom put in a good showing to oust Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jonas Folger into sixth. Folger had looked like one of the men to take pole after his great form in practice, yet could not carry this pace over into the fully dry conditions.
The third row on the grid sees current Italian champion, Team Italia FMI’s Alessandro Tonucci in front in seventh, with yesterday morning’s pace-setter, AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, next to him in eighth after putting in a solid ride. Ninth spot went to Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira with Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis completing the top ten. Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales had a session to forget, as he had to pull in early with a leaking gasket. He went back out on track with 20 min left, yet did not look his usual self as he finished in 11th. Apart from Kent, the only other faller was TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, who managed to re-mount.
— HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to a brilliant pole position at sunny Misano this afternoon, winning a thrilling duel with World Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Pedrosa’s pole was backed up by strong performances from HRC’s two satellite riders, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) and Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) who will both start tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix from the second row of the grid.
Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V) – making his MotoGP debut as substitute for injured World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) – made excellent progress to qualify on the third row.
Pedrosa has made impressive inroads into Lorenzo’s points lead in recent weeks, winning three of the last four races to sit just 13 points behind his fellow Spaniard with six races remaining. His fourth pole of the year could not have come at a better moment.
The former 125 and 250 World Champion left his crucial move until the very end of qualifying, with pole swapping hands four times in the last few minutes. Pedrosa went fastest just 20 seconds before the chequered flag came out, dislodging Lorenzo who had knocked Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) off the top only seconds before. Crutchlow had been fastest after taking over from ever-impressive rookie Bradl.
Pedrosa’s advantage over Lorenzo isn’t huge – only 0.018s – but being on pole is always a good psychological boost, especially after two difficult days of practice during which rain dramatically limited track time. Track conditions were so poor yesterday that most top riders did not even venture out. When the circuit was as good as dry, track temperatures were too low to bring slick tyres up to operating temperature, and when it was wet it was not wet enough to allow riders to run rain tyres without tearing them up in just a few laps. So Pedrosa spent both Friday sessions in the pits, as did Rea. Bautista did venture out yesterday afternoon, but only for eight laps. This morning conditions still were not perfect but the track was once again busy, with Bautista fastest.
That left everyone with just the one-hour qualifying session in which to work on set-up, choose race tyres and do their ‘time attack’ to achieve the best possible grid position. Not only that, riders had to wait a while before grip reached a level that allowed them to push to their limits. Pedrosa’s remarkable performance proved once again that he has a brilliant crew behind him, able to give him the best-possible machine even when time is extremely limited.
Bradl’s performance once again proved how much the young German has learned in the first two thirds of his rookie MotoGP season. As fast and smooth as ever, the reigning Moto2 champ led the session for a while, improving his pace as his crew improved his RCV’s front-end set up. He finished the hour fourth quickest, just 0.220s down on Crutchlow. The result equalled his best MotoGP grid slot, achieved at June’s Dutch TT.
Bautista was also involved in the battle for pole, the Spaniard moving up to second behind Lorenzo with ten minutes remaining before slipping to fifth, a slender 0.078s behind Bradl.
Fifth on the grid is Bautista’s best qualifying result since he took pole at June’s British GP. It signals a return to form from the former 125 World Champion who has regained some of his earlier confidence, thanks in part to some Showa suspension upgrades received here.
Yesterday’s miserable weather conditions hurt Rea more than most. The Briton’s full-time job is contesting the World Superbike championship aboard a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR, so he is only starting to climb the MotoGP learning curve. Rea, who recently won the hugely important Suzuka Eight Hour race in Japan on a CBR1000RR, had two tests on Stoner’s RC213V before coming here, but still needs every lap he can get. MotoGP machines are significantly more demanding to ride than superbikes, with limits that are more difficult to reach and more challenging to find. Rea is also set to race Stoner’s RCV at the Aragon GP in two weeks time.
Stoner – who is recovering from surgery on the right ankle he injured at August’s Indianapolis GP – aims returns to action shortly before his home race at Phillip Island.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had a promising day’s work for his team’s home GP, ending qualifying 15th and a close third in the CRT class. The Italian believes he can find some more speed from his CBR1000RR-powered FTR machine, so he can battle to be top CRT rider in the race.
The brilliant Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) took his seventh pole position of the Moto2 season, bettering title rival Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) by just 0.044s. Espargaro had been trying to make further inroads into his compatriot’s advantage when he slid off without injury with five minutes to go. The Spanish pair finished first and second at the front of a grid which is as tightly packed as usual in this Honda CBR600-powered series. Just 1.178s covers the fastest 20 riders.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) was third quickest, a further 0.053s down for his second consecutive front-row start. Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex) leads the second row following his best qualifying since the Spanish GP back in May. The Japanese will start the race alongside fifth fastest Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter). Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) was seventh fastest and first man on the third row of the grid.
Two Honda –riding teenagers will start tomorrow’s
Moto3 race from the front row after impressive performances in the first qualifying session of the day. Italians Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda) ended the 45-minute outing second quickest, 0.370s behind World Championship leader Sandro Cortese (KTM) and just 0.019s ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda).
Fenati’s team-mate and fellow teenager Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda) also rode well today, scoring his best GP grid position. He was seventh fastest to lead the third row, just 0.708s off pole. Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) will start from the other side of row three after qualifying ninth fastest.
The session did not go so well for World Championship hopeful Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda). The young Spaniard – who led the title chase earlier this season – could only manage 11th, which puts him on the fourth row of the grid with a challenging first few laps ahead of him.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 33.857s “It was a pretty tight session and no time to rest as we had to test the tyres, suspension and find some settings, as well as finding some feeling for myself! At the end we managed a good lap to take pole, which is very important as the first part of the circuit is very tight, so a good start is necessary. The setting on the bike is good so I hope to have a good race tomorrow. Thanks to all my team, we did a very good job in a very short time after a strange weekend due to the weather conditions, but we remained focused to have a good qualifying session and be ready for tomorrow’s race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 4th – 1m 34.221s “I am quite happy about this qualifying, but I think it was hard for everybody because we had no data and no track time in the dry due to the bad weather of the last two days. The grip condition was not perfect but since the beginning we made a combination of the two bikes using data and adjustments of the test sessions at Brno and Aragon and at the end I decided to stay on one bike which was better for today’s surface situation. We lost a bit of front-end feeling and we had to adjust it twice because I was losing too much in the entry of the corners. At the end I could make a good lap time thanks to those adjustments, but we still have to fix it properly. In my last run I found some traffic and I probably waited too long for the tyre to warm up before my flying lap. Anyway I enjoyed the session and I think we are in a good shape for tomorrow.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th – 1m 34.299s “Today we were finally able to get a dry session in and make some changes to the bike that addressed the problems we’ve been having in recent races. I feel like I have more confidence with the bike now and even though it is still moving around under braking it is not as bad as before and my feeling is better. We were able to maintain a strong pace throughout the session and set the lap time without taking big risks. The second row is positive and now I am feeling confident with the bike. It will be important to start well and stay in touch with the lead group and get back to the level we were at a few races ago. I want to thank all the guys because they have done a great job and I hope I can give them a great result at their home track.”
Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda: 9th – 1m 35.358s “I woke up this morning pretty stressed after yesterday’s missed sessions and then FP3 was also pretty useless so I’ve got to be happy with a third row start, as my goal was top ten. I’m learning something on every single run and the team did a great job on translating my feedback to give me good settings on the bike. I’m taking things step by step and the limit is still quite a way off, but I don’t really want to find that limit just yet. I’m taking my time. I want to thank Repsol Honda for this opportunity, I’m really enjoying the experience and don’t want it to end! I know tomorrow’s race is going to be tough. I just want go out, give my best and have a clean race. I’m pretty nervous, but when the lights go out I’ll be in race mode and we’ll see what happens”.
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th – 1m 36.340s “I am happy. Unfortunately we had a problem with the clutch, but the guys did a great job to change it and get me back out on track. I am a few thousandths of a second off the second fastest CRT and the gap to the top guy is not that big so if we can keep this up tomorrow there is no reason why I can’t at least fight to be the top CRT. That would be a great result for us.”
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo continued his Spanish duel with rival Dani Pedrosa today. The two protagonists kept the pressure on to the last minute, Lorenzo eventually taking second on the grid, just 0.018 seconds from pole for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of San Marino. The afternoon’s on track action was the first dry session of the weekend, leaving the riders little time to find an optimum set up.
Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies started qualifying well, consistently running in the top five as his crew worked on their dry set up. An unfortunate crash in turn one after hitting a bump off the racing line then relegated the Texan to his second bike which had a different set up. As a result Spies was unable to improve his time in the remainder of the session so he will start from eighth on the grid.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time: 1’33.875 – Laps 24
“The session was really hard as it was our first dry one. I struggled at the beginning to get the pace as we only had that hour of dry conditions. At the end I was able to get much better every lap and improved the bike a little bit. In the end we missed pole by such a little time. We are very close to Dani so I think everybody is waiting for a big battle tomorrow.”
Ben Spies / Position 8th – Time: 1’34.988 – Laps 26
“It was unfortunate this afternoon, we just got off the line a little and hit a bump in turn one. That was the bike with the set up we were comfortable with. I had to go out on the other bike and there was no time to change the set up. We still need to make some changes to the other set up for tomorrow as we know we had some things to work on before the crash. I’m actually confident we can go pretty quick but with the way the weekend has been we haven’t had enough dry time yet to finalise a perfect set up.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very hot qualifying session, again Jorge and Dani were very close. It was pretty interesting as the first dry practice, the two of them ending up so close should make it exciting for the race. The bike feels ok, but it’s not perfect yet which is expected with so little dry time. We’ll work on it and try to have something even better for tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Unfortunately we lost three sessions due to the weather so today we couldn’t have two bikes with the same set up for qualifying. Ben’s crash damaged the bike with the better set up, then he jumped on the other one but the set up didn’t allow him to be faster. Tomorrow we’ll try to improve it in warm up and I am confident we can be with the front guys in the race. Jorge did a good job, they worked hard to find a good set up and I think they will find another step tomorrow for him.”
Confident Crutchlow aims for more podium success
Cal Crutchlow will start tomorrow’s GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini confident he can challenge for another rostrum finish after qualifying his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine on the front row of the grid for the fifth time in 2012.
The British rider’s best lap of 1.34.001 around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli looked on course to secure him a maiden MotoGP pole position when he headed the timesheets with less than two minutes remaining.
Spanish duo Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo though were able to improve their pace right at the end of an exciting session, but Crutchlow was still able to secure a seventh front row start for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team this season.
Crutchlow’s performance was particularly impressive considering he had only completed 10 laps prior to this afternoon’s qualifying session. The session took place in conditions normally witnessed at the Misano MotoGP, with bright sunshine a welcome respite from the grey and gloomy skies that had dominated and disrupted yesterday’s and this morning’s practice.
Crutchlow’s pace was only 0.144s behind Pedrosa’s pole time and the 26-year-old will start the race brimming with confidence that he can follow up a stunning career first podium in Brno last month with another top three in the 28-lap encounter.
The tricky track conditions in practice prevented Andrea Dovizioso from completing any meaningful preparations until this afternoon and the Italian was able to qualify his YZR-M1 in an encouraging seventh position.
The Italian worked tirelessly with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to make up for the lost track time and he ended with a best lap of 1.34.916. That left him less than 0.3s off the top six and Dovizioso remains positive that he will be a serious contender for a podium in front of his home crowd tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 3rd – Time 1.34.001 – Laps 27
“I am really happy to be on the front row again and I am particularly pleased for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did a fantastic job in giving me a great bike, despite the lack of time on track. To be honest I felt a bit rusty because after missing the whole of yesterday’s practice with the weather, Brno felt like a long time ago. The start of the session was quite difficult and I was struggling for rear grip. I spoke to Jorge and he said he was also having an issue getting temperature into the tyre but every minute the track was getting better and the grip was improving. I’m happy to be on the front row and I am fast in all parts of the track. If my four best sector times were put together I’d have been in pole position. It is going to be a hard race because nobody has had the chance to properly work on their dry set-up, but I am really looking forward to it. I am feeling really confident after scoring my first podium in Brno and the good thing is we have carried that momentum to here. Hopefully we can put on a good show for all the fans that turned up yesterday and this morning when not a lot was happening on track.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 7th – Time: 1’34.916 – Laps 28
“I can’t be satisfied with the work we did when I am only seventh on the grid. We should have done a better job but I am still on the third row and I am convinced I can fight for the podium tomorrow. It is going to be a very difficult race because we are going into the unknown a little bit with so much track time lost because of the weather. It will be a bit of a gamble on the set-up but we did manage to gather a lot of good data this afternoon and I know we will be competitive. Hopefully tomorrow the weather is good and I can avoid any problems at the first two turns, where it is very tight. I need to make a good start and I am looking forward to battling for another podium in front of my home crowd again.”
— Ducati Report
Following three weather-affected free practice sessions for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, qualifying took place on a dry track. Valentino Rossi, who found a good setup for his Desmosedici, equipped with a new frame and swingarm, rode to the sixth-best time and will start tomorrow’s race from the second row.
After having ridden well in the wet morning session, when the requisite slower pace put less stress on his hand, Nicky Hayden had difficulty improving. The right hand, which is still healing following his crash in Indianapolis, still lacks the strength to push to the limit, and the pain becomes quite severe after a while.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:34.619)
“Today went pretty well. The work we did in the test was definitely positive, but we also tried a setup today that I really liked, and which allowed me to be faster. That’s why we did the entire session riding at a pace that was closer to the others, improving exit after exit. I thought I could have done even better and gone into the low 1:34s, but it’s okay anyway. We’re on the second row, and we’re not far off on pace either. We’ll try to refine a couple of things tomorrow in the warm-up because I think that the others will improve.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:35.401)
“This morning in the wet was great. Even without working on the setup, the bike was good right away. Then the track dried out, but I didn’t go out with slicks because I didn’t want to take any risks. The qualifying session went by really quickly. We made a couple of little adjustments and got going better, but although I hate to use excuses, my hand was quite weak and painful. When I went out for the last exit, there was a bunch of CRT traffic. I thought I had time for one more flying lap to try and get on the third row, but the chequered flag was out when I came by. We’ll see how things feel in the morning.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 – Wet. Ambient 20-19°C; Track 17-18°C (Bridgestone measurement)
QP – Dry. Ambient 23-23°C; Track 31-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa will start on pole position for tomorrow’s San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix after the Repsol Honda rider set a time of 1’33.857 to qualify 0.018 seconds ahead of his main title rival Jorge Lorenzo.
Pedrosa set his benchmark time on his penultimate lap using the harder front and softer rear slicks; the most popular tyre combination during the session. Starting alongside Pedrosa and Lorenzo on the front row will be Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow who was third quickest in qualifying, while the top CRT qualifier was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who posted the twelfth best time.
The poor weather that plagued the first three sessions of the weekend lifted in time for qualifying, with the track temperature reaching a peak of 31°C during the afternoon. Track conditions improved throughout the one hour qualifying session, but the lack of dry setup time and rubber on the tarmac meant lap times were slower than expected.
Tomorrow’s Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT +2) will give the teams and riders a final opportunity to work on a setup for the race which commences at 1400.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Yesterday’s weather forecast proved to be accurate, with the morning drizzle clearing allowing the qualifying session to be run in dry conditions. The dry track for qualifying meant teams had their first chance this weekend to work on a dry setup for the race, though track conditions were still not at their best due to the earlier rain. With limited time to find a dry setup, most riders selected the same tyre combination for qualifying that was widely used at last year’s race; the softer rear slick combined with the harder front slick. This combination gives the best edge of rear edge grip for better drive out of corners combined with better cornering and braking stability at the front.”
— Red Bull Rookies
A stunning penultimate corner move from Czech 16 year old Karel Hanika stole victory from Belgian 15 year old Livio Loi at the San Marino Grand Prix in race 13 of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. It was a repeat of the final lap of Race 1 at the Czech Grand Prix 3 weeks ago except this time 16 year old Austrian Lukas Trautmann was there to take advantage and ease Loi into 3rd.
“That was a fantastic race,” said Hanika, who had qualified 10th in the tricky wet and variable conditions that plagued Friday. “I didn’t make a great start and had to work very hard to get to the front. I followed Livio for a long time and so I was able to find out his lines and see where I might do something at the end. I didn’t mean to leave to the last corners, I had planned something earlier but made a mistake so I was only left with that last chance. I went inside and I have to apologise to Livio because I may have touched him.”
Trautmann was naturally thrilled to be on the podium again, putting in a great 2nd half of the season. “What a great race, I could pass them on the brakes at the end of the back straight but not on the last lap. I really was looking for a way past and when Karel went inside and Livio went wide I followed through. Roll on Aragon, I can’t wait.”
Loi seems to manage a broad grin whatever happens, he has struggled at times this year and still maintained great cheer, typically he reacted still with a smile after taking 3rd. “It was a great race, a hard race, I did most of the leading and I thought I had the line to win but then Karel came inside, he touched me, I went wide and then Lukas got by as well. It’s a hard way to lose a race but there is next time.”
Tough luck for the Belgian who had been in front most of the way and defended that position, under assault all the way from Trautmann, Hanika and Cup leader Florian Alt. The 16 year old German had charged off the 3rd row of the grid and briefly taken the lead mid way through the 17 laps. Alt’s Cup rival Scott Deroue, the 16 year old Dutchman, was there as well, he had fought through from the 5th row and also threatened to lead, finally crossing the line 4th, just ahead of Alt to keep his Cup hopes alive.
Alt still has a handsome 29 point advantage over Deroue heading for the last 2 races in Aragon but there are 50 points on offer there. Philipp Oettl will need all of those as he stands 49 behind Alt in 3rd place. The fact that he heads to Spain with a mathematical chance of taking the Cup is thanks to a brilliant ride from the 7th row of the grid. Setting fastest lap after fastest lap, the 16 year old German clawed his way forward, for much of the race on his own without any slipstream and finally passed pole man Bradley Ray on the final lap for 8th place and vital points.
While Oettl was doing his work alone, the battle up front was the usual hectic affair. Though there were as many as 9 riders in the lead group there were few incidents, Stefano Manzi, the 13 year old Italian, was an early leader but slid off on lap 9. The remaining 8 raced on including last year’s Cup winner, the 15 year old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri, finally being beaten out of 6th place by Diego Perez, the 15 year old Spaniard, having his best race since claiming 2 3rds at the opening weekend in Jerez.