Stoner on pole at Catalunya
Under glorious sunshine in scorching hot temperatures the MotoGP™ contingent took to the track to battle it out for grid spots for tomorrow’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya. In the premier class, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner who secured pole position in dominant fashion ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow.
With a fast lap in the low 1.41s, set with a soft rear tyre, Stoner relegated Yamaha Racing Team’s local rider Lorenzo into second on the grid, who was just over a tenth down on the current world champion. Stoner stated after the session that he will most likely be racing with the hard rear tyre, after sighting that the soft compound’s wear rate seems too high for the race.
Rounding out the front row is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who equalled his best ever start, yet will be looking to convert it into a podium for the first time in his MotoGP career. Contrary to Stoner, Crutchlow confirmed that he would be starting the race with the soft compound, as he believes the hard tyre does not give a significant advantage.
Just fractionally slower, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies will start from fourth, putting himself in contention for a much needed positive race result tomorrow. Next to him in fifth is Stoner’s teammate and local favourite Dani Pedrosa, who ran off track in turn 10 on his hot-lap after out-braking himself, and was unable to improve on his time. Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso completes row two in sixth place, after having led the qualifying session in the early stages.
Seventh on the grid is Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who looked strong all day after posting the fifth fastest time in the morning practice. He ousted LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl into eighth, who recovered from a small crash yesterday to finish as top Honda satellite rider.
Ninth spot is occupied by Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who, following a difficult day yesterday, managed to rediscover some place after reverting back to a carbon fibre swingarm and old settings. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista completes the top ten, failing to emulate his second place in yesterday’s practice.
Highest CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet in 13th, who managed to beat his local teammate Aleix Espargaró for the first time this weekend. Apart from Pedrosa’s excursion off track, the only other rider to take a detour through the gravel was Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham at the end.
1 Casey Stoner 1’41.295 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1’41.441 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Cal Crutchlow 1’41.548 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Ben Spies 1’41.552 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
5 Dani Pedrosa 1’41.656 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Andrea Dovizioso 1’41.687 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Nicky Hayden 1’42.029 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Stefan Bradl 1’42.065 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Valentino Rossi 1’42.175 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Alvaro Bautista 1’42.356 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
11 Hector Barbera 1’42.375 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Karel Abraham 1’43.266 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
13 Randy De Puniet 1’43.500 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Colin Edwards 1’44.024 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15 Aleix Espargaro 1’44.041 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
16 Michelle Pirro 1’44.356 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
17 James Ellison 1’44.763 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
18 Mattia Pasini 1’44.764 ITA ART Speed Master
19 Yonny Hernandez 1’44.833 COL BQR-FTR BQR
20 Danilo Petrucci 1’45.730 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
21 Ivan Silva 1’45.962 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
— Moto 2
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez will start tomorrow’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from pole position after setting the fastest lap in Moto2™ qualifying practice ahead of Pol Espargaró and Tom Lüthi.
Following some very subdued practice sessions, local hero Márquez silenced any doubters with a hot lap of 1.46’187 to claim the 25th pole position of his career. Just under two tenths behind was Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró, making it a Spanish one-two on the front row. Rounding out the front of the grid is Interwetten-Paddock’s pace-setter of yesterday, Tom Lüthi, who looked to be struggling just slightly in the very hot conditions.
Starting from fourth is Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, in front of compatriot Simone Corsi. Corsi, who is one of the few FTR riders with his Came IodaRacing Project team, was a surprise inclusion at the front, after there had been doubts about the bike’s competitiveness. Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter consolidated a solid weekend with sixth.
Heading the third row is Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding, who will be disappointed with his time after being the pace-man this morning. Redding was too late to put in a final run, as he took the chequered flag just as he was to embark on his final lap. He sits in front of Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías, who showed a marked improvement over previous sessions. The third row is completed by Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat.
The top ten is completed by NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, while Tech 3 Racing’s stand-in rider Jordi Torres recorded a terrific 11th place on his first outing for the team.
It was a miserable session for Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón who crashed for the second time today, yet walked away unhurt. Another incident saw Arguiñano Racing Team’s Ricky Cardús crash out after Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami pulled in front of the Spanish rider. Cardús was unhurt in the crash, while Nakagami only suffered some bike damage.
— Moto 3
At the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in the Moto3™ class it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who set the fastest lap to grab pole position ahead of AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Louis Rossi.
A lap of 1.52’160, the fastest lap of the class all weekend, was enough to displace a surging Khairuddin, who has had a tremendous weekend so far. Completing the front row is last race winner, Racing Team Germany’s Rossi, still brimming with confidence after his victory in Le Mans.
However, the story of the day was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese, who starts from fourth, after suffering a heavy crash in this morning’s practice session. He suffered heavy bruising to his right hand, and had to have blood drained during the session. Fifth place went to Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira, who was at the centre of drama late on in the session, as a swift move across the track took out Technomag-CIP-TSR’s Alan Techer and RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder. None of the riders were hurt in the incident.
The second row is rounded out by Binder’s teammate Luis Salom, who will aim to mix it up at the front to please the home crowd. Leading row three is Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou in seventh, ahead of JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez in eighth. Bankia Aspar’s Héctor Faubel and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli complete the top ten.
Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, who had been expected to be further up the field, could only manage 13th. Apart from the last minute crash involving Oliveira, TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo crashed out after seven minutes, yet managed to re join the session later on.
— HRC Report
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) produced a brilliant performance at scorching hot Catalunya this afternoon to put himself in pole position for tomorrow’s Catalan Grand Prix. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), who started the last race at Le Mans from pole, ended the day a close fifth fastest, just 0.361s off pole.
Conditions could be very different for the race, however. While track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon, latest weather forecasts suggest that tomorrow will bring significantly cooler temperatures and possibly rain as well.
Stoner was a close second to pace-setter Pedrosa in this morning’s final free practice session, then found some more speed for qualifying. The reigning World Champion spent much of the hour experimenting with the two rear tyre choices and despite having to contend with some chatter issues he was able to better title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by 0.146s, good enough to give him his second pole position of 2012. After the session Stoner announced that he isn’t especially confident of victory tomorrow, but added that he is “definitely in it to win it”.
Two weeks ago Stoner finished third in the rain-soaked French GP, which lost him the World Championship lead to race winner Lorenzo. Stoner had won the previous two races at Jerez and Estoril and is aiming to score his third win of
2012 here at Catalunya where he dominated last year’s race.
Pedrosa missed out on a front-row start when he had a moment at the entry to turn ten during his final run. The Spaniard got his RCV crossed up on the brakes and had to run wide, which spoiled what should have been his fastest lap and consigned him to the second row. Nevertheless the former 125 and 250 World Champion is happy with the progress he has made over the past two days and believes he can be a contender tomorrow if his crew can make a few final tweaks to his RC213V.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) continued his impressive progress in his rookie MotoGP campaign, achieving his best grid position so far, in eighth position. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had even higher aims – a first-ever second-row start – but in the end he had to be happy with eighth, less than eight tenths off pole. Most importantly he is confident of running a good race pace at this challenging, high-speed track.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had a difficult day, losing some of the grip and confidence he had had in yesterday’s slightly cooler conditions. The Spaniard qualified tenth and so he will keep working with his crew in a bid to improve the situation for the race. His team-mate Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) also had a tough time, ending up 16th quickest on his CRT machine.
Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) scored his fourth consecutive pole position in the Honda-powered Moto2 series today. The Spanish teenager came back from a difficult time in free practice – which he ended in ninth place, 0.817s off the front-running pace – to win an entertaining contest for pole with Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex). Marquez – who is carrying a small injury to his right hand from his Le Mans race crash – led the way for most of the session, until Espargaro sneaked ahead with eight minutes to go. Marquez was quick to reply, bettering his compatriot two minutes later to come out on top by just 0.195s.
Last man on the front row of the grid is Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter), who won his first race of the year at a soaking wet Le Mans a fortnight ago.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) leads the second row of the grid, just 0.290s down on Marquez and several tenths ahead of fellow row-two starters Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter). First man on the third row is Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored his second consecutive pole position in the Moto3 class, outpacing Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) by 0.268s. Surprise Le Mans winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) secured the last spot on the front row to suggest that he is ready to be a consistent front-runner in the new category.
There were an impressive nine Honda-powered machines in the top 13 of qualifying, with Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in fifth place despite a tumble at the first corner towards the end of the session. Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) will head the third row in tomorrow’s race after qualifying seventh, 0.790s off pole.
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 41.295s “We used the qualifying as an extended practice session as we don’t always have enough time to do everything during the 45 minute sessions. This morning we did a lot of work with the hard tyre, so in the afternoon in these hot conditions we worked more with the softer one to get a clearer understanding if we can run with it for race distance. We were in and out a lot during the session trying a few different things, hoping to reduce the chatter which is still proving to be a problem. As soon as I touch the throttle the bike starts to chatter in the rear and it’s making things very difficult. Towards the end of the session we managed to improve it slightly, but I think we need to make another step before the race. Tomorrow, for sure tyre degradation is going to play a role so we’re going to have to wait and see, but I’m happy to start from pole.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 41.656s “It was a difficult qualifying session because I spent a major part of the hour testing used soft tyres and I was down in the classification. But I was not worried because I knew that I had two new soft tyres for the end of the session. When we put the first one on, I immediately improved my lap times and I jumped to second place, then on my final flying lap I braked too late, I had a big shake on the bike and I ran wide. From this side it’s a pity because I missed my chance at pole position or, at least, the front row of the grid. Anyway, I’m happy with the work we did yesterday and today’s preparation for the race and for me this is always the most important thing. Let’s see if together with my team we can improve the bike slightly for tomorrow and be ready to give 100% in a hard race.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th – 1m 42.065s “This is not bad for us and we are in a good shape. Finishing in eighth position considering the hot track conditions is quite positive, but I was expecting something more: maybe sixth or seventh. During the qualifying session we could handle that position easily, but at the end everybody went out on soft tyres pushing at 100%. I am happy with the bike package and our race pace is good so I am really optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s race. We will try to follow the top guys for a while and we will see considering the tough conditions. Everything is possible!”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th – 1m 42.356s “Today didn’t go very well. The track conditions changed in the afternoon and I lost the grip at the back and some of the confidence in the front that I had yesterday. Now we will read the data and try to improve for tomorrow. I had a good feeling before today, so it was very hard and difficult out there, but I’m confident and I hope to do better in the race.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 16th – 1m 44.356s “Too bad, because I think I could do a better lap time than we did in qualifying. But we are convinced that in the race we can be closer to being the best CRT. We must try not to lose too much ground on new tyres and then try to make the difference later in the race. In any case, this is a confirmation of the improvements that we already made at Le Mans in the dry.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: pole position, 1m 46.187s “Yesterday we had a little bit of confusion with the setting of the bike, but today we started again. We reset our mentality and from that we made a big step. Before qualifying I didn’t expect to get pole, but in the end I have a very good base for the race and this is the most important thing. As always in free practice we concentrated on race performance and from there we did a very good job. We will have to see what the weather, does but I think we can have a good race tomorrow.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 2nd, 1m, 46.382s “It’s so nice to be on the front row for my home race after being nearer the back of the grid last year! We’re not as happy as we would be if we were on pole, but it could have been better if I hadn’t run into some traffic at the end of the session. That made it very difficult to improve my lap time. Anyway, second isn’t so bad and we have a very good chance of being there with Marquez and Luthi in the race.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: 3rd, 1m 46.430s “Today was just a little bit hotter than yesterday and I think I struggled a little with this. For sure after the first two sessions we were looking for pole position, but we made it onto the front row so we are happy. Now we will look at the bike and maybe make some changes for the race and I’m sure we can fight for the victory. Yesterday I had a small crash. I was trying to find the limit and just went a bit over, but it was a slow corner so the crash was no problem at all.”
Moto3 Rider Quotes
Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: pole position, 1m 52.160s “I am very happy to have taken pole at my home race, as it means a lot to be able to do this for the fans. I think that we had a really good session and got a very positive feeling from it, which is important as this isn’t entirely the best track for me. Le Mans was more suited to my riding style, whilst Montmeló is completely different and we have had to adapt in order to ride comfortably. We have everything ready for tomorrow, but we just have to wait and see what the weather will be like. If the temperatures drop, the tyres will degrade less and we will be able to maintain our pace better.”
Louis Rossi Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda: 3rd, 1m 52.603s “Everything is going well, really good. I feel really at home with my team and we are making some changes to the bike and I am making some changes to my riding, so we are getting better and better. We are starting to understand some things about the bike which will help us in the future, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. I have some new engine bits here – I cannot really feel the improvement but we can see it in the lap time.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter-Honda: 5th, 1m 52.757s “This has been a positive day. We can be satisfied with a second row, as the straight at Montmeló is very long and we have the time to gain places. We went out this morning looking to improve on yesterday’s performance, although we didn’t get the times that we were looking to achieve. Later on we got closer to the frontrunners, although I realise that I am finding it tough to get quick laps on my own.
Despite not having the pace that I want, I am calm about the race. I had a crash at the end, but I am unhurt.”
— Yamaha Report
It was tight at the top in Catalunya today as the MotoGP elite battled in sweltering temperatures to qualify for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo was on typically fast form, breaking into the low 1’41s to take second on the grid. The Championship leader’s qualifying time of 1’41.441 was just 0.146 seconds from pole man Casey Stoner.
Ben Spies was also on form for qualifying, narrowly missing the front row by just 0.004 and pole by just 0.257 seconds. The Texan starts from fourth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race having beaten local hero Dani Pedrosa by 0.104 seconds for the grid slot.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time 1.41.441 – Laps 24
“It was very important to finish on the front row today because I knew all the riders would be pushing to the limit in qualifying. The lap times were very close but I managed to make a good lap. I almost crashed in T3 on my first hot lap on the bumps so second place is good for tomorrow. We still need a little good feeling on the front; we are struggling on some corners so we need to improve the feeling or it’s going to be difficult in the race. We would have liked to be on pole, but we are happy with the position.”
Ben Spies / Position: 4th Time: 1.41.552 Laps: 24
“That was a pretty good qualifying session. I’m a little frustrated as I lost a couple of tenths on one of the splits which would have put me on the front row. I think I had almost too much grip through T1 and T2 with the soft tyre! The bike is working really well, the team’s worked hard to deliver a good set up so I’m confident we can run a competitive pace and stay with it tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough race and I’m hoping the rain stays off!”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very exciting qualifying, second position on the front row is great and lap times were really good. There’s still some space for improvement as we are not completely happy with the base set up. Jorge had to fight hard for the front row and it was a spectacular session, let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I’m satisfied with today’s results. For sure pole is the target but we have a good pace in general. Ben was reasonably happy with the set up yesterday but the team managed to improve it even more for today. We are pretty optimistic for tomorrow. The weather forecast means it might be a little different but we are ready in any case.”
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team’s impressive qualifying streak in 2012 continued in sweltering heat at the Catalunya track today, with Cal Crutchlow powering to a third front row start in the opening five races.
Air temperatures peaked at a punishing 31 degrees but Crutchlow set a blisteringly hot pace on his YZR-M1 machine to battle for a front row position in a typically exciting conclusion to qualifying.
The British rider briefly led the timesheets with just over 10 minutes left on the clock when he posted a time of 1.41.922. Lap times continued to plummet and Crutchlow was briefly bumped off the front row before he produced a stunning late attack with just over two minutes remaining to secure third spot on the grid for the third time this season.
Taking full advantage of the extra grip from a new soft Bridgestone rear tyre, Crutchlow improved his pace to a 1.41.548, which put him second behind reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. Only 0.107s stood between Crutchlow and a career best MotoGP grid position after Jorge Lorenzo snatched second in the final moments.
Andrea Dovizioso started qualifying in confident mood after he’d finished practice with the third fastest time of 1.41.966.
The Italian’s form continued this afternoon and he put up a strong fight for his second successive front row for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. When the time attack commenced in the final 20 minutes, Dovizioso wasted no time in demonstrating his potential by surgin g to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1.41.931.
He improved his pace to a 1.41.687 and will start from sixth, the former 125cc World Champion optimistic that he will be able to battle for the podium in the 25-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 3rd – Time 1.41.548 – Laps 24
“I am really happy to be back on the front row again and it feels great considering this is only the second time I have been to this track. I expected to be up there challenging but wasn’t sure where and my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew did another fantastic job with the bike today. It proves again that I’ve got the raw speed and consistency and now I am really looking forward to the race. It will be really tough if the conditions are the same with the temperature so hot but I am ready for it. This morning I only used an old soft rear tyre and I was still really fast, so I knew when I put in a new soft rear this afternoon that I could be much quicker. I got in a good lap even though I’m not completely comfortable with the set-up and I will definitely run the hard front and soft rear for the race. The hard doesn’t give a big advantage over race distance. Today is a great result and hopefully I can do the same job tomorrow when it really counts.”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 6th – Time 1.41.687 – Laps 24
“I am really satisfied with the work we have done this weekend but I can’t deny it would have been nice to be on the front row again. Being sixth on the grid is not bad and the most pleasing aspect for me is that my race pace is very fast and consistent. This morning I was able to be much faster than yesterday and hopefully all the work we have put in will pay off tomorrow. The second half of the race is going to be really important if the conditions are as hot as today and tyre c hoice is going to critical. It seems the Yamaha can’t use the hard rear tyre as well as the soft, but Lorenzo can’t use the soft, so this is a little bit confusing. I will sit down with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to carefully consider what the strategy will be with the tyres. I have always been strong at this track and after today’s performance I am expecting a good race.”
— Ducati Report
Both Ducati Team riders will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow in the Catalan Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden in the seventh spot and Valentino Rossi ninth.
The Italian said he was satisfied with the good setup work done on his GP12 for qualifying today, enabling him to lower his lap time by over a second compared to yesterday, and perhaps more importantly, to maintain a decent and consistent race pace.
Hayden found a good feeling in the third free practice session, and after making changes to adapt the bike to the higher temperature, he turned in a good performance in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:42.029)
“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s. We’ll start seventh tomorrow, which isn’t great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it’s been all year. We’ll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:42.175)
“I’m pretty pleased because we improved the bike’s setup and we made the third row, which was our goal for today, even if I really lose a lot in the last part of the track, especially on entry in the last two corners. Anyway, we can also be pretty satisfied with our race pace because I was able to ride well and consistently, even on a used tyre. The forecasts say it could rain tomorrow, and of course we know that we can do well in the wet, although it could also be good for us even if we just get a bit cooler temperatures.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 31-31°C; Track 55-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Casey Stoner will start on pole position at the Catalunya MotoGP™ after the Repsol Honda rider set a stunning time of 1:41.295 with nine minutes remaining in a highly entertaining qualifying session.
In what were scorching conditions, Stoner managed to snatch pole ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 of Jorge Lorenzo who ultimately had to settle for P2 with a time of 1:41.441. Just behind him in P3 and a further tenth of a second back was Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet was the standout CRT rider in qualifying and will start in P13 for tomorrow’s race.
Friday’s very warm conditions continued today with clear, sunny skies lifting track temperatures to a maximum of 55°C during qualifying. Some teams used the morning practice session to evaluate both rear tyre options for the race though when it came to setting a quick lap time in qualifying, almost all riders decided to use the softer rear slick tyre in conjunction with the hard front for the best balance of rear edge grip and braking stability. Despite the excellent weather conditions so far this weekend, forecasts indicate a high chance of rain tomorrow afternoon.
The MotoGP™ riders will be back on track for Sunday’s morning warm-up session at 0940 local time (GMT+2) before the race gets underway at 1400 local time.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Once again we had dry weather and very warm temperatures today which gave the teams the opportunity to try many tyre combinations and build on the data they acquired yesterday. The pace at the front of the field is very competitive with the pole position time more than a second quicker than last year and the top six riders in qualifying were separated by just four-tenths of a second so we could have a very close race tomorrow.
“In this morning’s free practice session some teams did long runs on the softer rear slick tyre to evaluate its performance for race distance and I believe this option will be widely used tomorrow, though there is a chance of rain tomorrow as well. I expect all riders to use the harder front slick for the race with the majority of the field opting for this compound in the new specification front slick tyre as this was a common choice in qualifying. I am pleased that the 2012 specification tyres are performing very well here at Catalunya which is a very challenging circuit for tyres and the feedback from riders this weekend has been positive.”