Qualifying Results – MotoGP 2011 – Round 11 – Brno
— Pedrosa takes first pole of 2011 at Brno
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took the front position on the grid with a time of 1’56.591 in qualifying on Saturday, a time fast enough to put him on pole but still not a fast as the crushing lap he dealt Friday by a margin of 0.268s.
The premier class took to a dry track after the morning wet practice session, with reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) taking an early provisional pole and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) leading in second half of qualifying. But Pedrosa retaliated, grabbing back the top spot and keeping it until the end of the outing.
Lorenzo pushed hard, bettering his previous best time by four tenths with a time of 1’56.704, giving him a front row start in the second spot, followed by Stoner with lap of 1’56.860 to put him in the final front row spot.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) who started from the front row least year in his MotoGP rookie season, qualified four with a 1’57.178. The Texan is joined on the second row by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), whose time of 1’57.351 placed him in fifth to start. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) joins the second row after posting a time of 1’57.367, giving him his best qualifying of the season so far.
Andrea Dovizioso will start from the third row, his time of 1’57.442 placing him seventh fastest. American duo Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) take the final two spots on the third row, while Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini), riding for the first time in the MotoGP class at Brno after missing last year’s race through injury, completed the top ten.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) crashed out of eighth position with 12 minutes remaining, running back to the pits to mount his second bike, finally concluding the qualifying in eleventh. The British rider’s crash was followed by Cardion ab Motoracing’s Karel Abraham crashing out of qualifying, the 21 year old from Brno will start his home race from last on the grid.
John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki) did not participate in the qualifying session due to injuries sustained in his FP3 crash pronouncing him unfit for racing.
1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’56.591
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’56.704
3 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’56.860
4 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’57.178
5 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’57.351
6 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’57.367
7 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’57.442
8 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’57.676
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’57.721
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’57.784
11 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’57.797
12 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1’58.245
13 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’58.273
14 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’58.274
15 Randy De Puniet Ducati FRA 1’58.889
The Moto2 rookie will start from the head of the front row after setting a new class record for the Brno circuit with a time of 2’02.493 aboard his Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol machine. Márquez nabbed the top spot after a scrap for the lead with Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing). The German rider, whose best time was 2 tenths behind Márquez, has seen the young Spaniard chip away at his Championship lead and will start second behind him for the third successive race.
Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) joins the Championship leaders for his second start of the season on the first row thanks to his best lap of 2’02.725.
Making his first appearance in the top ten this weekend is Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), who will start the race from the head of row two. The Swiss rider starts ahead of Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) who made his best qualifying position of the season so far with a 2’02.943 to place him fifth on the grid. The last spot on row two will be occupied by Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) who posted a time of 2’03.461 despite still struggling with a fractured a vertebra sustained in the previous Sachsenring round.
Row three is an all Italian composition made up of Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project), Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) and Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing), giving the latter two their best qualifying positions of the season. Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing), who crashed out of the session, completes the top ten starters.
After crashing on the first lap, Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) was taken to the Medical Centre and did not return to qualifying, his fitness is yet to be determined for the race. Other riders not completing the session due to falls include Tito Rabat (Blusens-STX), and Santiago Hernández (SAG Team).
With weather conditions completely changed from the morning practice, the 125cc qualifying took place on a dry track with Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) leading the category, progressively bettering his lap times until Nico Terol stepped up to his accustomed position as leader of the pack to post a final lap of 2’08.118, the fastest of the weekend so far.
Zarco’s time of 2’08.503 was 0.385s behind the Championship leader’s pole setting lap and half a second ahead of third place qualifier Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany). Frenchman Zarco, who will start from front row for the fifth time this season, is edging closer to his first win after being denied the victory by a photo finish in Germany.
Sachsenring race winner Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) heads up an all Spanish row two after posting a time of 2’08.689. Faubel is joined by Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) who had an early run off during the session, and Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) who was ranked ninth fastest in the dry on Friday.
Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) leads row three, which is the British rider’s best qualifying of the season. Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), who bounced back from a crash in morning practice, sits next on the grid with Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), whose fall in the last five minutes dashed the rookie’s hopes for another front row start after his pole in Germany, starts from the final spot on the third row.
Italian Simone Grotzkyj (Phonica Racing), Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) and French rider Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology Forward Team) comprise row four.
– HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) ruled qualifying at Brno today, the Spaniard out-pacing his rivals to take pole position for tomorrow’s Czech Grand Prix, the first event following MotoGP’s brief midseason break. Pedrosa narrowly defeated reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), with current championship leader Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) a close third fastest.
Overnight rain and a further downpour this morning changed the track’s grip characteristics, with the result that the front-running pace was a few tenths slower than it was yesterday. More rain followed qualifying and forecasts suggest that rain could affect at least some of tomorrow’s races.
Pedrosa – who used the post-US GP break to rest, reenergise and further recover from the collarbone injury he sustained at May’s French GP – led both yesterday’s sessions, his RC212V immediately working well around this fast, challenging racetrack. Following this morning’s rain-hit session he was once again in sparkling form for this afternoon’s qualifier, run in fully dry conditions.
His main rivals for pole were Stoner and Lorenzo, who both took their turns out front, but finally Pedrosa prevailed, bettering his compatriot with eight minutes to go. He ended the one-hour outing 0.133s in front of Lorenzo. This was his first pole of 2012 and his 18th in MotoGP. Pedrosa currently lies fourth on points after winning the Portuguese and German GPs, but no-scoring at three other races, due to his shoulder injury.
Stoner wasn’t completely happy after recording third-fastest time, 0.269s down on his Repsol Honda team-mate. The Australian, whose confidence may have been slightly dented by a high-speed tumble in the morning rain, had some grip worries yesterday, then ran into some chatter issues in the dry today. He knows he has work to do to improve his RC212V for tomorrow morning’s warm-up session.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was fifth fastest, just behind Ben Spies (Yamaha) and just ahead of Valentino Rossi (Ducati), who scored his best qualifying result of the year. During yesterday’s free practice sessions Simoncelli was a close third fastest behind Pedrosa and Stoner, so it’s likely his team will take a step backwards with their machine settings for the race.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) will lead the third row tomorrow after qualifying in seventh position, less than one tenth of a second off the second row. Yesterday the Italian struggled on corner entry, due to set-up issues with his RCV’s engine-braking system, so today he returned to settings used earlier in the season.
However, he still needs to improve entry performance for the race.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) achieved his best grid slot since May’s Spanish GP by taking tenth fastest time, just over a second off pole.
There was good news also for Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) who had his best qualifying outing of the year. The reigning Moto2 World Champion was 12th quickest and enjoying his RC212V at a circuit that gives riders the room to fully exploit their motorcycles’ performance.
Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) continued his amazing progress in Moto2, the Spanish teenage rookie recording his third successive pole position. Tomorrow he will aim to score a fourth consecutive race win as he works at catching runaway championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex) who leads the series by 47 points. Bradl dominated the early stages of the championship with four wins from the first six races. Now, however, Marquez appears to be on dominant form.
Bradl led most of the session until he was overhauled by Marquez in the final five minutes. The German fought back to better his rival by 0.036s seconds, but a brilliant last lap put Marquez back on top by 0.211s.
Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2-Motobi) grabbed third place with an impressive late charge that won him the last spot on the front row, at the cost of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Suter) who will now lead row two. Andrea Iannone (Speed Master-Suter) returned to form with a great ride to fifth fastest, easily his best qualifying performance of the season. Iannone will be going for his first podium finish since he won the Spanish GP at Jerez. Last man on the second row is Aleix Espargaro (Pons HP40-Pons Kalex). Row three is led by Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project-FTR).
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC212V: Pole position – 1m 56.591s “It’s my first pole of the year and also after a long time, so I’m very happy for that. The weekend has been pretty good for us so far, the bike is working well and I’m feeling good physically as well. We made only a few small changes on the bike and this allowed me to concentrate more on my riding, so let’s hope we are able to keep the pace tomorrow and fight for a good result. This is the most important thing and we need to keep our feet on the ground because the rivals are close. I think we can still improve the bike a little, especially on the chassis side to have better grip, even though I guess that the rain this morning affected the conditions on track which made it more slippery.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 56.860s “We hoped after yesterday that we could improve the feeling in the bike this morning, but unfortunately it was a wet session, so we couldn’t use it as we would have liked to. Also, the session didn’t start too well with a fast crash in turn three, which lost us some time and obviously dented my confidence a little. Then this afternoon we started to get a little more feedback from the bike, but all in all we didn’t really make a big step forward or improve it significantly from yesterday’s first session. We seem to be getting more and more chatter as the weekend progresses and the more I push the more it increases and the slower I get, so it’s a little frustrating. I felt qualifying could have been better, we almost lapped with the same time on old and new tyres, but in general we have a lot of work to do. We’re obviously happy with front row, but we’re not really where we want to be with the bike and there is still a lot of work to do. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and I’m sure we can find some improvements in time for the race.”
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th – 1m 57.351s “I am a little disappointed because we have gone slower than yesterday and not made the improvements we hoped for. Obviously the conditions didn’t help because with the rain this morning the track surface was not in the best shape. Other riders have clearly struggled with it too but it seemed to particularly affect us. Now we need to look at why that was and try to put things right for tomorrow.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 7th – 1m 57.442s “After having struggled yesterday with the engine-brake set-up, today we went back to the old specification that we used up until the Italian Grand Prix. The rainfall from last night and this morning affected the track surface and this afternoon there was less grip and the references changed compared to yesterday. We will continue working, in particular on the front, because under braking we are on the limit. I also need to ride with more fluidity. We will keep on working also in the warm-up to improve for the race. The pace is not so bad and it’s not impossible to fight for the podium. The race will be hard, with many battles so it will be important to make a good start.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th – 1m 57.784s “After the rain this morning we worked well this afternoon to find a decent set-up. I am satisfied because tenth place is a good position for us at the moment, especially because the gap to the riders at the front is smaller. We will try and make a few small changes in the morning that give us a little more pace in some sections. Overall I am happy and hopeful of a good race for me and the team, who have worked so hard.”
Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 12th – 1m 58.245s “Obviously I am satisfied because this is my best position on the grid so far this year and with the small improvements we have obtained yesterday I could ride the bike with more confidence especially on the front. I had some more things to try this morning but the bad weather interrupted my plan. Anyway, we have already taken our decision about the front and rear tyres for tomorrow’s race and we just need to fine-tune the bike to confirm our overall package. These small adjustments make me confident for Monday’s test session as well.”
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo put maximum effort into this afternoon’s qualifying session, delivering second place and a front row start ahead of Championship rival Casey Stoner for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Czech Republic. The reigning World Champion was one of the fastest riders for the duration of the session, benefiting from improvements to his set up with a more stable YZR-M1 allowing him to pressure the competition at the top. Lorenzo led the session for a brief time and at the end of the session had missed pole by just 0.113 seconds.
Ben Spies put in a superhuman effort to secure fourth and a second row start for tomorrow’s race despite suffering a numb arm from a trapped nerve which hampered his ability to brake and turn the bike. The Texan had been running as high as second, just 0.061 from first in the last 15 minutes but was unable to hold on to his front row start at the end. He will continue to work with Clinica Mobile this evening for more physio in advance of tomorrow’s race.
Whilst qualifying was dry, the riders endured a wet final free practice in the morning, giving them an opportunity to find a good wet set up should tomorrow’s race bring rain. Lorenzo dominated the session with his revised set up, finishing in second just 0.005 seconds from the front. Spies took it easy for the morning, saving his strength for the qualifying practice and finishing the final free session in tenth, 0.768 from first.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time 1.56.704 – Laps 25
“Yesterday things weren’t like we expected but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable. The lap time improved from that and we got a lot closer to Dani today and finished in front of Casey. The pace in the last laps was quite good so we’re happy. Big thanks to my team who worked hard to improve the bike. Tomorrow we aim for the podium or if it is possible to win the race.”
Ben Spies / Position 4th – Time 1.57.178 – Laps 23
“Today honestly went a lot better than expected, we’re at least in a good starting position for tomorrow. I’m not 100% confident about the race and what we can do but we’ve shown we’ve got the speed and the bike is good enough for top five. We’ll do the best we can, I’m not going to make any promises but I know I’ve got at least half a good race in me. If we get some good rest tonight then hopefully we’ll get lucky and catch a break and be good for it. We’re optimistic, the bike is working well and the speed is there, I just hope I can be there too. I need to say a big thank you to all the guys at Clinica Mobile who are working hard this weekend to keep me in the game.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very good qualifying, we’re happy with second place and we’re close to Pedrosa. The final result of the setting changes we made is also good which is what counts for the race. Of course we would have liked pole but there’s less pressure when you don’t have it! Jorge was very consistent in the 1’56s so a big improvement from yesterday and tyres are no problem for us. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I think Ben did a good job today considering his condition this morning. Starting the race form second row is very helpful, now we have to see how his endurance is. We are working with Clinica Mobile to make it possible to ride; he has to do the rest by himself. He is happy with the bike set up and tyre choice so let’s see. Jorge did a great practice as usual, very impressive. His pace is very good so for sure tomorrow he will be there to fight for the win.”
Edwards and Crutchlow set sights on double top 10 in Brno
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow are optimistic they can both fight for top 10 result in the 22-lap Czech Republic MotoGP race after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo impressed during this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Brno circuit.
Edwards will start from the middle of the third row in eighth position, the American brilliantly capitalising on a range of set-up modifications to his YZR-M1 machine to post a best time of 1.57.676.
The popular 37-year-old was able to run consistently inside the top 10 for the entire session, the set-up changes drastically improving front and rear grip to allow Edwards to qualify leading non-factory rider once again in 2011.
His best time was just over 0.3s away from the second row and the Texan is now confident he can challenge for his first ever top six finish at the Brno circuit in tomorrow’s race, which is the 11th round of this year’s MotoGP World Championship.
Crutchlow too demonstrated his encouraging speed in the early part of the session, the British rider reaping the benefits of major front-end set-up changes to give him more turning performance. Crutchlow, who was an impressive seventh quickest in a rain-affected final practice session this morning, was able to run inside the top three at one stage, as he worked on fine-tuning the race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.
The 25-year-old seemed certain to challenge for a spot on the third row of the grid when a small mistake at Turn 10 resulted in an unfortunate crash with 12 minutes remaining.
Crutchlow sprinted back to the p its to jump on his second YZR-M1 bike, but he was unable to improve on his time of 1.57.797 and will start the race from 11th. The major front-end modifications though have boosted Crutchlow’s confidence in full race trim and he is aiming to battle for a top seven finish tomorrow.
* After carefully considering the findings of a detailed independent report commissioned by Dorna into the possible risk of radiation contamination in the area surrounding the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team can confirm that unless there is a change in circumstances, they will compete in the Japanese MotoGP race on October 2.
Colin Edwards / Position 8th – Time 1.57.676 – Laps 24
“I’m much happier today with the performance of the bike and I need to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew again for their incredible work. Yesterday I just wasn’t comfortable at all and had no feeling with the front or rear of the bike. I told my crew what I was feeling on the track and it is up to them to interpret that and try and improve the bike. And today they did an absolutely awesome job and I had a much better package. I went from feeling like I was riding on marbles yesterday to having a lot of traction today and I felt much more comfortable. We actually just threw in last year’s race set-up and even though I’m using a completely different chassis, it worked brilliantly, although I’m still 0.4s slower than last year. I’m not sure why that is. I’m not sure if the track lost some grip after the rain this morning because this afternoon in the dry my bike was so much better than yesterday, so I can’t really compare. Looking at the calibre of the guys in front of me and what they are riding, I think to be completely realistic, I wouldn’t be upset to finis h where I qualified.”
Cal Crutchlow / Position 11th – Time 1.57.797- Laps 21
“I’m happy on one hand because we made a big change to the bike to help it turn better and it was a really good step. But I’m a little disappointed on the other hand because I made a silly little mistake that probably cost me the chance to get on the third row. We were making some good progress with the new front set-up and I was faster in the first two splits than my previous best lap when I just ran in too hot at Turn 10. I should have just ran into the gravel but I tried to make the corner, squeezed the brake a bit harder and down I went. It’s one of those things when you’re pushing hard against this level of competition but I’ve felt much better on the bike here this weekend. My times have been consistently on the edge of the top six and I felt I could have probably qualified sixth or seventh. My race pac e has been strong so I’m just looking forward to having a good race tomorrow and picking up valuable points.”
– Ducati Report
Valentino Rossi took sixth place in qualifying today at Brno, and his second-row starting spot for tomorrow’s race is his best of the season. The Italian, who was also quite fast in the morning’s wet free practice session, finishing third, worked with his team over the course of the four practice sessions to steadily improve the setting of the GP11.1, and he hopes to further perfect a few details during the twenty-minute morning warm-up session.
Nicky Hayden also took a nice step forward and, by lowering his best time from Friday by over eight tenths, earned a spot on the third row.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:57.367)
“We took a step forward today by changing the front setting again and also modifying the riding position on the bike. We were also good in the wet this morning; actually, it was a really fun session, being there near the front the whole time. It’s been a good weekend so far, although of course nothing earth-shattering, as I’m only sixth. Anyway, it’s my best qualifying position of the season with the Ducati, which I’m also able to ride better this way, especially under braking and on corner entry. During tomorrow’s warm-up, we’ll try to further improve the rear grip in the first two sectors, where I’m losing the most time. In the second half of the track, I’m only losing about a tenth. We’re pleased because we’ve learned a few things and, after an initial period of adaptation, we’re able to work on the GP11.1 in a more productive way.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:57.721)
“In the end, we salvaged ninth, but it wasn’t easy getting there. All weekend, it’s just been really hard in the dry, because the bike was spinning and wouldn’t hold the line. This morning in the wet was great right from the exit. With our standard rain setup, I was never outside the top five, from the start to the finish, but this afternoon in the dry was hard work. We came back in a lot and changed things, but without finding a right direction. Finally, with about 20 minutes to go, we hit on something with the ride height where I was able to keep the line and could begin to push, and in the end, I was able to get into the 57s. To get on the third row is obviously nothing spectacular, but it’s much better than how things were looking. Hopefully, following that direction tomorrow will keep helping us.”
– Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki had its promising start to the weekend shattered at Brno today as firstly John Hopkins had to withdraw from the event and then Álvaro Bautista had a difficult qualifying session to leave him with a mountain to climb in tomorrow’s race.
Bautista will start from the fifth row of the grid after he failed to make a competitive lap-time and will need one of his great starts to be able to challenge with the front-runners in tomorrow’s race. He has a consistent race pace and was able to stay with other riders in the earlier part of the qualifying session, but was unable to put together a fast lap to move him up the grid as the session came to its climax.
Hopkins was forced to withdraw from the weekend’s event following a crash in this morning’s wet practice session. It has now been confirmed that he has broken three fingers on his right hand, but he will remain at Brno to support the team, before returning to America on Monday to have surgery to repair the damage.
Today’s qualifying was held in dry, but overcast conditions with track temperatures reaching 30ºC. Dani Pedrosa took pole position on his Honda, with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo second and current championship leader Casey Stoner third.
Tomorrow’s race is round 11 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and the excitement gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“I am not happy with the qualifying because we just didn’t get our best level today and we will have to start tomorrow near the back of the grid. My rhythm was not too bad when I followed other riders and I could stay with them, but to be able to do that in the race I have to make a good start again tomorrow and fight my way through. I can’t say much more because I am just not happy with how things went today.
“It was not a good day for the whole team with John crashing this morning and breaking his fingers. I feel very sorry for him because he did well yesterday and it looked like he’d have a good race. MotoGP racing is not always what you want it to be and these things happen, but I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he’s back soon.”
“I guess disappointed is the only word that can sum up how I feel! I must apologise to the whole team for making such a stupid mistake out there this morning. It was the smallest crash under braking in the wet conditions and as I slid along I kept my hand on the ground to try and slow me down, but as soon as I hit the gravel it went in and mangled my hand right up. I’ve fractured three fingers on my right hand. The index and middle finger are just normal fractures that probably wouldn’t have kept me off the bike, but the third finger has separated and split down the middle from the knuckle. It’s not a case of pain, strength or anything like that, it’s simply that I can’t bend the finger or both bones could come through the skin, so it would have been impossible to hold on to the bike.
“I think things went very well yesterday and I had every intention of being able to make another step forward today. I believe that the GSV-R is every bit capable of a consistent top-six finish and I think it’s a great machine. With the lack of seat time I’ve had, I don’t think that I could have matched the potential of what the bike is capable of doing. I know I didn’t yesterday and I think it still has another second a lap in it. I wish I could have gone out and achieved a good result for all involved and mainly to show Suzuki that they have a really good machine which has great potential.
“This is just another small setback in my journey to get back to full time MotoGP. I’ll stay here the rest of the weekend and give my full support to the team and do whatever I can to express my gratitude to them for giving me this opportunity. This is not the last time you’ll see me at a Grand Prix, I’m still destined to be back here, whether it’s this year or next I don’t know, but I will be back here!”
Paul Denning – Team Manger:
“Grand Prix racing isn’t easy and today showed that! Yesterday we were looking very strong with lap-times in the 57s and both riders in the top-10. Today John is in a cast and Álvaro’s qualified 14th and almost half-of-a-second slower than yesterday afternoon. We did have an issue with a vibration at the end of the qualifying, but frankly speaking, we expected a much better time than that earlier in the session when he had a brand new set of tyres. We all know how well he can race, but if we don’t qualify better we won’t be able to improve the race result.”
– Bridgestone Report
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa stormed to his first pole position of the season in Brno today with a final lap of the hour-long session that saw him dip under the existing lap record.
Using the extra hard compound front and the softer rear Bridgestone slicks, Pedrosa finished 0.11seconds ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo with Casey Stoner in third, another 0.15seconds adrift. Tomorrow’s second row comprises Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi who leapt up the timesheets towards the end of the session.
Heavy rain earlier today soaked the circuit and meant that the morning’s free practice was run on Bridgestone’s wet tyres, but as the sun emerged the tarmac soon dried and conditions for qualifying were fine if not a little greasy at the start. This meant that some riders started the session using the hard compound front slicks, but it was the extra hard option that was favoured for its increased stability under braking and the heavy loads exerted by the undulating Brno circuit.
Under the new tyre regulations, riders were able to choose their split of rear tyre compounds after yesterday’s two free practice sessions, instead of being given five of each compound as per the previous regulations. Every rider selected six of the softer option and four of the harder, giving each one more soft rear tyre than was available before the regulation change. Most riders used the softer rear for the duration of the session, some checking race-distance durability as they did so.
Tomorrow’s race gets underway at 1400hrs local time, although there will only be 17 riders on the grid as John Hopkins has been ruled out of competition after a crash in FP3 in which he injured his right hand, breaking a finger and fracturing another. The forecast tomorrow suggests it will be fine and dry all day with no rain.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning’s conditions were tricky with a lot of rain falling that led to a great deal of standing water on the circuit. Riders spent the duration of the session on our wet tyres, but at least from this they were able to gain a lot of data about their wet setups. We could also see that even on a drying track our soft wet tyres had sufficient durability for the whole session and wear appearance was good. Unfortunately though in these conditions John Hopkins crashed and injured his hand, meaning he cannot race tomorrow which is a great shame. Conditions for this afternoon were fine and dry again, although the rain left the circuit a little more slippery than yesterday which is why the times are slightly slower than during FP1 and FP2. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm the race-distance durability of our softer option rear tyres during the session, and they are a viable option for tomorrow’s 22 lap race in similar conditions.”
– Red Bull Rookies
A rain split Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race at Brno was won by American 14 year old American Joe Roberts. The Cardion ab Czech Grand Prix event started in the dry but rain forced it to be stopped after 6 laps. It was then restarted for a 5 lap dash that Roberts won from 16 year old Australian Arthur Sissis with 18 year old Czech Tomas Vavrous 3rd.
The drama of Roberts’ victory could not be bettered, he took the lead on the soaking wet track on lap 3 and charged away. It was only Sissis that could go with him and at the final left right section before the finish Sissis passed for the lead only to go wide allowing Roberts to tuck inside and win.
With 2nd, Sissis takes the Cup lead from Baldassarri by 4 points as the Italian 15 year old struggled at the back of the lead group and could only claim 6th at the flag. It might have been worse but Lukas Trautmann, the 15 year old Austrian and 15 year old Briton James Flitcroft who had both led the race early on crashed together with just a few corners to go.
It was not only Roberts’ first podium in Rookies Cup but it turned the weekend around for him completely. “I was enjoying the track but qualifying didn’t go that well and I was only 17th on the grid. The first race, I don’t even want to think about it, I got passed and couldn’t get into a rhythm, I was last. That put me at the back of the grid for the restart. I wasn’t happy that it rained but then on the sighting lap I realised that there was quite a lot of grip. I just had to go for it, I didn’t want to be last any more.”
“I was at the back of the grid but I just went past everyone at the first corner, I think I was about 6th coming out. Then I just kept passing guys until I was 2nd and behind James. Then he ran wide and that was it I just kept going. Arthur passed me at the last corner but as I saw him go wide I had the chance to cut it tight and go for the line.”
“We’ve got another race tomorrow, we’ve had so many wet races this year and all the time I’ve been wanting it to be dry all year, now I guess I am hoping for another wet race,” Roberts concluded with his classic broad grin.
Sissis was not thrilled to be 2nd but much happier when he heard that he had the Cup lead back. “I couldn’t believe the way that Joe went, he was so fast. I didn’t think that I could go with him but I tried. I managed just to catch him at the last corner but then went wide, good on him, it was a great ride.”
Vavrous had been feeling the pressure of racing at home and was thrilled to get on the podium. “It was a big battle both in the dry race and in the rain. Right up to the last lap in the rain we were fighting for 3rd and I just managed to get it, we had a lot of fun, just like always in Rookies Cup.”
Baldassarri was naturally disappointed with the day. “In the first race the bike seemed OK, the suspension was working well but I just couldn’t pass anyone out of the slipstream, they seemed to be able to get by me. In the wet race it was the same, I just struggled to overtake. Then on the last lap James and Lukas crashed in front of me, I had to brake and that was it.”
It is now only Sissis and Baldassarri that can win the Cup, there are two races remaining, the first being on Sunday at 15.30 CET.
1.Joe Roberts (USA) 12 minutes 41.800 seconds
2.Arthur Sissis (AUS) +0.030
3.Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +1.508
4.Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +1.560
5.Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +3.292
6.Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +4.662
7.Hafiq Azmi (MAS) +7.265
8.Javier Orellana (GBR) +9.453
9.Philipp Oettl (GER) +13.197
10. Kevin Argino (ITA) +13.327