MotoGP 2012 – Round 12 – Brno
— Lorenzo on record pace and pole position in Brno
Qualifying for the MotoGP™ classes took place under frequently ominous skies at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno today with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo on record-breaking pace in the premier-class taking pole position for tomorrow’s race ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo’s time in the high 1.55s only narrowly beat Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow into second on the grid, despite the Brit crashing half way through the session. For Crutchlow, who re-signed with the squad for another year today, this is his best MotoGP qualifying result to date. Completing the front row is Repsol Honda Team’s pace man from yesterday, Dani Pedrosa, whose session got off to a bad start after dropping his bike in the early stages. He then went out on his second bike, yet stated that this had far more chatter issues than the one he crashed.
Row two is headed by Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies in fourth, after the Texan looked to be riding near his best form once again. In fifth, Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso was not able to beat his teammate’s time, and also had to park his bike up on the side of the track at the end with a technical issue. Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi lines up in sixth place, recording his best qualifying result since joining the Italian outfit last year.
Row three sees LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl in seventh place on the grid, with the German no doubt looking to improve in tomorrow’s race. Eighth place went to San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who will be disappointed at being beaten by the rookie on the other satellite Honda. Completing the third row in ninth is Cardion AB Racing’s local rider Karel Abraham, who will have delighted his home fans, despite dropping his bike in the gravel at the end.
In tenth, Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who also crashed in the session, managed to finish as top CRT. The only other rider to suffer an accident was San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, who like the others, walked away unscathed.
1 Jorge Lorenzo 1’55.799 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Cal Crutchlow 1’55.995 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
3 Dani Pedrosa 1’56.327 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Ben Spies 1’56.331 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
5 Andrea Dovizioso 1’56.559 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Valentino Rossi 1’56.735 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Stefan Bradl 1’56.827 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Alvaro Bautista 1’57.068 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
9 Karel Abraham 1’57.773 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
10 Randy De Puniet 1’57.844 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
11 Aleix Espargaro 1’58.153 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
12 Yonny Hernandez 1’59.087 COL BQR-FTR BQR
13 Toni Elías 1’59.120 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
14 Michele Pirro 1’59.387 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
15 Colin Edwards 1’59.863 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Mattia Pasini 1’59.865 ITA ART Speed Master
17 James Ellison 2’00.316 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
18 Ivan Silva 2’00.329 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
19 Danilo Petrucci 2’00.854 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
In an eventful Moto2™ qualifying session for the bwin Grand Prix České republiky it was Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró who stormed to pole position in front of Tom Lüthi and Scott Redding.
In a session that was frantic from the off it was Espargaró who recorded his fourth pole position this season with a record time of 2.01’953 ahead of Interwetten-Paddock’s Lüthi, who had looked stronger at the start. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding was only fractionally slower than the Swiss rider, yet still managed to secure a front row start. Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez will be disappointed with his qualifying session, having missed out on the front row for only the second time this season. The championship leader did well to stay on his bike, as he had a moment towards the end as he pushed for a better lap.
Lining up next to him in fifth is Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, marginally ousting his compatriot Andrea Iannone on the Speed Master bike. Iannone recovered from a heavy crash early in the session, which saw the red flags come out briefly to clean the track of oil patches. He was able to re-join the latter stages of qualifying. Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami put in a good showing in seventh to head the third row, pushing Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol into eighth. Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco complete the top ten.
As well as Iannone’s heavy crash, QMMF Racing Team’s Elena Rosell suffered her second fall of the day, while Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea also had a spill into the gravel. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis had an enormous “tank-slapper”, which violently threw him off the bike in the latter stages of qualifying. He also walked away unscathed. Arguiñano Racing Team’s Ricky Cardús and Kiefer Racing’s Max Neukirchner did not take part in qualifying as they are ruled out of the weekend due to injuries sustained in previous sessions. Cardús has a dislocation of the right acromioclavicular joint (shoulder) and Neukirchner a fractured third metacarpus in his right hand.
In a Moto3™ qualifying session for the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno that was threatened by rain throughout it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who went fastest to take pole position ahead of Sandro Cortese and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.
Viñales’ lap of 2.08’075 was just enough to secure the Spanish youngster his fifth pole position of the season. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Cortese had looked like he was on pole-pace in his final hot lap, yet dropped off in the last sector of the track to miss out by just over three hundredths. AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Khairuddin will be incredibly pleased with his performance, with the Malaysian starting from the front row for only the second time in his career.
San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli was another rider that had a good session, as he heads up the second row in fourth, ahead of Indianapolis race winner, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom. Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Héctor Faubel put his bike in sixth, after finding some extra pace in the afternoon. Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil was pushing hard in front of his local support, and was rewarded with first slot on the third row.
Lining up next to him is Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins and Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent. Faubel’s teammate Jonas Folger completes the top ten. As the Moto3™ grid tried to get some hot laps in early on with dark clouds threatening from the start, there was a big crash early on between Ambrogio Next Racing’s Giulian Pedone and Salom’s teammate Brad Binder. Both fortunately walked away, albeit rather gingerly. Pedone’s teammate Alex Márquez crashed twice during the session, the second time with Andalucia JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Alberto Moncayo. Both riders were unhurt.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) bounced back from a tumble at Brno this afternoon to qualify on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Czech Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had led all three free practice sessions, only to interrupt his impressive rhythm when he slid off at turn nine ten minutes into qualifying. With only his second bike available for the remainder of the session, Pedrosa struggled with chatter issues, so it was not until the last moment that he could find the pace to make the front row. He went third fastest on his final lap, and it was a close run thing – his best lap time just 0.004s faster than the best time set by Ben Spies (Yamaha). Pole position went to Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Pedrosa is on something of a charge at the moment. After receiving an upgraded RC213V at last month’s United States GP he won his second victory of the year at Indianapolis last Sunday to close to within 18 points of current leader Lorenzo. So far this year he has scored ten podium finishes from 11 races.
Pedrosa is flying the Repsol Honda flag all alone this weekend after team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) withdrew from the event following the advice of his Australian surgeon. Stoner injured his right ankle when he crashed during qualifying for last weekend’s Indianapolis GP. He bravely decided to race with the injury and finished a heroic fourth, but subsequent examination of x-rays and MRI scans showed that the injury was worse than first thought.
On Thursday the reigning World Champion was told that he risked causing permanent damage if he continued racing with the injury. Therefore he flew home to Australia on the same day and is expected to undergo surgery on the right ankle – which suffered complicated ligament, cartilage and bone damage – within the next few days, once the swelling has subsided.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) was seventh quickest today, missing a second-row start by just 0.092s. The German youngster has been struggling with front-end feel, a major issue at Brno which features so many downhill corner entries.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was fast and consistent in practice but was not quite able to raise his game in qualifying. He ended the session eighth fastest to put himself in the middle of the third row between Bradl and local Karel Abraham (Ducati).
The Spaniard’s team-mate Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had a fraught session, during which he had to abandon his number one bike out on the track after its engine burst into flames. The Italian ended up 14th quickest.
In Moto2, Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) scored his third consecutive pole, putting himself in the best position possible to take some points away from series leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who could only manage fourth quickest.
Espargaro lies 39 points behind Marquez with seven races remaining, so his title hopes are a long shot at best, but anyway he will be keen to add to his victory tally. Tomorrow Espargaro will be joined on the front row by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
Marquez has scored front-row starts at all but two of this year’s GPs. He will start tomorrow’s race from second row alongside Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) who slid off in the early stages of the session, bringing out the red flags.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored his fifth pole position of the year in the Moto3 class, outpacing title rival Sandro Cortese (KTM). During his final lap Cortese came very close to dislodging Vinales from pole but failed by just 0.033s. Vinales currently trails Cortese by 29 points after sliding off on the final lap of last weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix. Vinales says his only tactic for the remaining races is to go for the win every time in an effort to close the points gap.
Teenage rookie Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) was the next best Honda rider in fourth place, the 16-year-old missing the front row by less than two tenths of a second.
Local star Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) was seventh quickest, putting himself at the top of the third row. The 19-year-old Czech bettered eighth-placed Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) by two tenths.
MotoGP rider quotes
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 55.799s “I had a small crash at the beginning of the session and unfortunately we were unable to use that bike anymore and had to switch to the second bike. Normally the bikes are very similar, and I don’t know why, but this time the second bike was much more rigid and I had more chatter, especially in the front. We tried to fix it but we weren’t able to so in the end I tried to get my best out of it and finally on the last lap I was able to take a front row spot, which is always important. Anyway the bike is working well, I just hope tomorrow we can use our preferred bike, as this morning it felt very good, and have a good race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 7th – 1m 56.827s “Well… It was a difficult qualifying because we made a lot of changes from the morning session to the afternoon and we were expecting more improvements, but unfortunately the adjustments did not work properly. We are still struggling with front-end feeling in corner entry. We tried to fix the chattering problems during qualifying and at the end I could find a better feeling but we are still missing something. The bike potential is better than this and I need to be sharper in corner entry because there are many downhill braking areas.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 8th – 1m 57.068s “We have definitely improved the feeling with the front end of the bike and we set a good pace in race trim at the start of the session. We made a little change to the rear, but we switched back to the original configuration because I didn’t like it. Unfortunately I couldn’t improve on the pace I set over the opening laps and I’m not happy about that but I am confident for the race because my feeling with the bike isn’t bad and if I can make a good start we can have a good race like Indianapolis.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th – 1m 59.387s “That was just what I didn’t need! I suddenly felt a burning sensation on my leg and tried to get off the bike as quickly as possible. It is incredible really and a big shame because I am sure I could have improved my lap time and grid position. I hope this latest setback is the last bit of bad luck we have this season.”
Republic with a stunning pace at the Brno circuit. The Championship leader had struggled to find form in the free practice sessions before reverting to the first ever set up used in the first 1000cc M1 test last year. The change bought immediate results, Lorenzo smashing the Brno lap record with a stunning 1’55.799 time.
Team mate Ben Spies was also on top form for the qualifying session. The Texan was often the fastest man through the first two splits and looked a definite to complete a Yamaha front row for tomorrow’s grid until a last lap effort by Dani Pedrosa moved him to fourth on the second row of the grid. Spies wrapped up qualifying just 0.004 seconds from a front row start.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 1st – Time: 1’55.799 – Laps 20
“We were struggling so much to find the way to set up the bike this morning, we were very lost. Then we went back to the setting we used the first time we tried the 1000 here in Brno last year and it was great. I really enjoyed riding the bike, sliding more as well with less electronics. I just wanted to stay out on the track and just keep riding and riding to improve the lap time.”
Ben Spies / Position 4th – Time: 1’56.331 – Laps 23
“Overall that was a pretty good qualifying session, I made a couple of small mistakes on a couple of hot laps which I think could have put us on the front row. The bike and team are working really well and we’ve got a good pace for the race so I’m hoping for a trouble free day tomorrow to see what we can do.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A fantastic qualifying, the lap record and pole position is great. We solved some problems for qualifying and gained some grip in the rear which is the main difference from the other three sessions. Hopefully tomorrow it’s going to be a dry race.”
“A fabulous pole position from Jorge, he had a really impressive second part of qualifying. Unfortunately we missed the front row with Ben thanks to a last lap from Dani Pedrosa. Despite this Ben is very consistent and his pace is good. The set up is pretty much done so we are optimistic that tomorrow we will see a good race.”
Crutchlow storms to career best qualifying in Brno
The 26-year-old agreed a one-year extension to his contract this morning and he instantly repaid the faith shown in him by Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster to finish second quickest behind World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Crutchlow was able to set a fast and consistent pace right from the start of a session that took place in much cooler conditions compared to the hot and humid weather of yesterday’s practice.
The British rider had already moved into second place with a lap of 1.56.413 when he made a small mistake and crashed his YZR-M1 machine while trying to cut Lorenzo’s advantage of 0.269s.
The spill didn’t knock Crutchlow out of his impressively fast rhythm and he quickly adjusted to a different set-up on his spare YZR-M1 machine to improve his pace by almost 0.5s. His best lap of 1.55.995 was only 0.196s behind Lorenzo and he finished 0.332s ahead of Dani Pedrosa to claim his first front row start since the Catalunya round in early June.
Today’s result continued the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team’s outstanding qualifying record in 2012, with either Crutchlow or starting from the front row in half of the races in 2012.
Dovizioso’s challenge for a sixth podium in eight races will commence from fifth position on the grid. Dovizioso too was in contention for a front row start throughout the session and he finished with a best time of 1.56.559.
That was less than 0.3s away from securing a third front row start of the season for the Italian, who is currently fourth in the World Championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s 22-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 2nd – Time: 1’55.995 – Laps 19
“I am really happy to have scored my best ever qualifying result in MotoGP and the timing couldn’t be better after I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 earlier today. This was the perfect way to immediately repay the faith shown in me by Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster. Once again today we demonstrated what a competitive package we have and that is one of the big reasons why I committed my future to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Yesterday in practice we did a good job to be in contention for the top three and I was confident that we could be very fast and competitive this afternoon. Unfortunately I made a silly mistake about halfway through the session and crashed. I think I hit the only bump on the whole track but it meant I had to finish the session on my spare bike. The crashed bike had my preferred set-up but I quickly adapted and went back out and improved my times by a good margin. I am second on the grid and close to Jorge so I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. It is going to be tough but I am confident we can have a strong result and be fighting for a top five.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 5th – Time: 1’56.559 – Laps 22
“The times we made are really good and I’m really happy with my pace for the race. The difficult point is the same as yesterday, even though the conditions are a lot different. I am close to the limit on the front, especially over the race distance, but I think it will be tricky for everybody. I’d like to improve in this area for the race but I also made a little mistake in calculating when to use the soft tyres. I went out quite early with my last soft tyre so I didn’t have the chance to improve my time right at the end like I normally always do. I had hoped to be closer to Lorenzo but I think we can still be in the fight for the podium again tomorrow. This track is very strong for Yamaha with all four of us in the top five but the key will be the weather. The forecasts are predicting rain so everything could change.”
— Ducati Report
Under a grey sky, with a constant threat of rain that never materialized during the sessions, Valentino Rossi made the second row, enjoying his best qualifying performance of the season so far.
In addition to posting the sixth-best time overall, the Italian has steadily improved his own performance over the course of the weekend, riding consistently and at a good pace in every session.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:56.735)
“Since Friday morning, things have gone better here at Brno. We’ve managed to be faster and more competitive than normal and, most importantly, to work on the bike well, improving session by session. This afternoon we managed to do a good ‘time attack,’ so we’re generally pretty pleased. It’s important that we’ll be able to start from the second row in the race because it makes things a little easier. The times in our group are very close, but we’ll have to see what conditions we’ll have tomorrow and what our race pace will be. Anyway, I like the track a lot, and if we can manage to perfect a couple more details with the setup, we can try and have some fun.”
— 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 – Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 23-24°C (Bridgestone measurement)
QP – Dry. Ambient 23-23°C; Track 27-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo will start in first place on the grid at Brno tomorrow after setting a time of 1’55.799 to smash the existing pole position lap record as he chases a second MotoGP™ victory at the Czech Republic circuit.
Lorenzo surpassed the existing lap record of 1’56.145 earlier in qualifying before going even faster in the final ten minutes of the session to qualify 0.196 seconds ahead of Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow who will start on the front row for the second time this season, while Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third quickest in qualifying with a best lap time of 1’56.327. Randy de Puniet set a best lap time of 1’57.844 on the Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to be the top CRT entry in qualifying in tenth position on the grid.
Brno experienced heavy rain overnight washing away most of the rubber laid down on the circuit yesterday, leaving track conditions only slightly better than yesterday. Cloud cover persisted for FP3 and Qualifying keeping track temperatures approximately 15°C cooler than the corresponding sessions yesterday and with less rear grip on offer than expected today, most riders on the grid selected the softer rear slicks in combination with the harder front. With cool temperatures also expected for tomorrow’s race, race simulations were undertaken on the softer rear / harder front slick and this is expected to be the most popular tyre combination should tomorrow’s race be run in dry conditions.
The MotoGP™ riders will have one final chance to hone their race set-up in tomorrow morning’s Warm Up session at 0940 local time (GMT +2) with the race getting underway at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The overnight rain and cool temperatures meant track conditions were only marginally better than yesterday, though both sessions were dry allowing teams to find a good set-up for the time attack towards the end of qualifying. The cooler temperatures resulted in riders sticking to the softer rear slick as this option provides better warm-up performance and also more edge grip which is important as the grip level of the circuit is still not at its optimum. Even cooler temperatures are forecast for tomorrow and many teams performed race simulations on the combination of the softer rear and harder front slicks in anticipation of tomorrow’s weather, so I expect most riders to select this combination for the race. ”
— Red Bull Rookies
Karel Hanika chased down Livio Loi to take the lead on the last of the 14 laps of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1 action at Brno. The 16 year old Czech and Loi, the 15 year old Belgian wrestled back and fourth through the final corners with Loi leading into the final section only to have local hero Hanika win the change of direction into the last right hander and across the line.
Loi had been fast from the start of the weekend, was quickest in the free practice and lined up 6th on the grid. He was even quicker when the lights went out and cut his way forward to take over the lead from Cup leader Florian Alt on lap 3. The 16 year old German gave chase but had no answer as Loi reeled off perfect lap after lap.
Loi and Alt pulled clear of the chasing pack even though Hanika was soon 3rd and had his head down in pursuit. “I didn’t make such a great start,” said pole man Hanika. “Livio and Flo got away and I couldn’t catch them. I really thought that winning was impossible then. I just did what I could to chase Florian, I wouldn’t give up.”
“I just kept pushing all the way and just at the end I caught them. My bike was working great, I didn’t have any big problem with the tyres but of course by the end the rear was past its best and I had a slide coming through the last corner before starting the last lap. That cost me with the gap to Livio and I had to catch him again. It was a great battle with him through the last few corners and just so fantastic to win.”
Loi was still grinning even though he was robbed at the end. “It was a great race and at the end I thought I had a bit more of a lead than I did and I was surprised when Karel came past. In the last 2 laps there were rain drops on the visor and of course we didn’t know how hard it was raining on which part of the track.”
“I fought back and I thought I had the speed to win through the last corners but Karel just took it. Still it was a great race and I want to do the same or better tomorrow,” he concluded with that wonderful grin that he has carried most of the year even though this is his first top 6 result. Even when things have been difficult he has kept trying and has made the hard work pay off.
Alt had no reason to be too disappointed with 3rd, his nearest challengers for the Cup, Scot Deroue and Philippe Oettl, were at the head of the intense pack fighting for 4th but both had a disastrous last lap and finished 9th and 10th. Alt thus extended his points advantage, “I enjoyed the race, I got the lead early but when Livio came past he was going very quick. I chased after him, got close but I couldn’t try to pass him without taking big risks.”
“At the end it started to rain and I certainly didn’t want to do anything silly. When Karel came past I tried to fight back but I also knew that Scott and Philipp were behind so there was no need to be crazy,” concluded Alt who goes into the final 4 races with 173 point leaving Deroue on 155 and Oettl 140.
Oettl and Deroue went onto the last lap 5th and 8th, Deroue making his usual end of race charge but it was an intense, 8 man battle for those places and those 2 did not fair well. It was 14 year old Spaniard Marcos Ramirez who flashed across the line 4th, rubbing elbows with 16 year old Austrian Lukas Trautmann and Jorge Martin the other 14 year old Spaniard.
15 year old Frenchman Simon Danilo crashed on the last lap of the race. As a precaution he has been taken to the hospital in Brno for further checks.
Rookies Cup Race 2 at Brno can be seen live on TV stations around the world and on www.redbull.tv starting at 15.30 CET on Sunday with the show beginning 10 minutes before race time.