Qualifying Results – MotoGP 2011 – Round 12 – Indianapolis
Stoner seizes Brickyard pole with new lap record
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) has yet to finish on the podium in two career starts at the Indianapolis circuit but his new pole position record of 1’38.850 indicates that may soon be changing. The Australian will start from pole position for the seventh time in the 2011 season in Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) who started from pole least year, qualified second behind Stoner with a 1’39.373, while Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) bettered his morning pace with a new bike set up by nearly one second with a best lap of 1’39.629, giving him the final spot on the front row.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa held off Andrea Dovizioso to take the first spot on row two with a time of 1’39.947, the Spaniard’s time was 0.077s faster than that of his Italian team mate though a tenth slower than his earlier practice time. American Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completes the second row after posting a time of 1’40.098.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) leads the third row, his time of 1’40.204 placed him just ahead of local favourite Nicky Hayden of the Ducati Team. The final spot on row three went to Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), who trailed Hayden’s time by just 0.040s.
Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) was the final rider in the top ten, while Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) went down at the start of the session, rejoining the field aboard his second bike although the set up was clearly not ideal, as the nine-time World Champion finished the qualifying in fourteenth.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) both had run offs into the gravel, the two will start from eleventh and twelfth respectively on the grid.
With 38 riders in the Moto2 field, a clear spot for a fast lap was difficult to come by and a frenetic dash in the final minutes of the qualifying session saw the top ten riders swapping leading positions until Marc Márquez took the top spot aboard his Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol machine.
The Spaniard just held off Italian rider Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) by 0.001s, setting a record breaking time of 1’44.038 to grab his fifth pole of 2011. Although he missed out on pole, it was still Corsi’s best qualifying position of his Moto2 career. Joining the front row starters for the first time this season is Andrea Iannone, whose lap of 1’44.158 aboard his Speed Master machine qualified him third.
Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) heads up the second row, after posting a time of 1’44.344 on lap 18, two-tenths quicker than Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) in fifth and three-tenths ahead of Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project) who takes the final spot on row two.
Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) stepped up his times by over a second to qualify seventh, he was followed by Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) to complete the third row, while Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) was the final rider in the top ten times and will start from the head of row four.
Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) qualified down in 22nd position after a morning practice session crash appeared to affect his momentum. Kenny Noyes was the leading American in the field, placing 29th, with fellow compatriots Jake Gagne (GPTech) and JD Beach (Aeroport de Castello) in 32nd and 35th respectively.
The 125cc field hit the track under perfect weather conditions, and World Championship points leader Nico Terol (Bankia Aspar) proceeded his charge to pole with a lap 1’48.199, seventh-tenths faster than second placed starter Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany). The 22 year-old Spaniard is the only two-time winner of this event, having celebrated victories in 2008 and 2010 in the 125 class.
Brno race winner Cortese nipped the second spot from Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) by two-hundredths of a second with a lap of 1’48.919, putting the French rider third on the starting grid for his sixth front row start of the season.
The third row is headed up by Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider Efrén Vázquez who followed Faubel by 0.166s. Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) made a strong return to action following his missed race in Brno due to illness to land the middle spot with Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) completing row three.
Row four is comprised of Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology Forward Team), Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil (Ongetta-Centro Seta). Podium finished from Brno, Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), did not participate in the qualifying practice after being declared unfit to race due to collarbone fracture sustained in the morning practice session.
1 Casey Stoner 1’38.850 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Ben Spies 1’39.373 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Jorge Lorenzo 1’39.629 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
4 Dani Pedrosa 1’39.947 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Andrea Dovizioso 1’40.024 ITA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Colin Edwards 1’40.098 USA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Marco Simoncelli 1’40.204 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
8 Nicky Hayden 1’40.244 USA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
9 Alvaro Bautista 1’40.333 SPA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10 Hector Barbera 1’40.360 SPA DUCATI Paginas Amarillas Aspar
11 Cal Crutchlow 1’40.620 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Randy De Puniet 1’40.815 FRA DUCATI Pramac Racing
13 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’40.925 JPN HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
14 Valentino Rossi 1’40.975 ITA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
15 Toni Elias 1’41.030 SPA HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
16 Karel Abraham 1’41.085 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
17 Loris Capirossi 1’41.092 ITA DUCATI Pramac Racing
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo scored the first double Yamaha front row of the year today in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Local hero Spies continued to impress with the strong form in evidence from the beginning of the weekend. The qualifying session saw him quickly up to impressive speed. Despite repeatedly breaking under the pole time for the first two splits Spies was unable to topple Casey Stoner from the top spot so will start from second place for the race.
Reigning World Champion Lorenzo finally made a breakthrough mid-qualifying after struggling for the first three sessions to find a competitive set up on the newly surfaced Indianapolis track. A big set up change to his YZR-M1 with less than half the session to go changed his fortunes, allowing him to climb quickly up to third behind his team mate with two quick laps in succession. Lorenzo will now use the valuable warm up time tomorrow morning to test the consistency of the set up before the race.
Ben Spies / Position 2nd – Time 1.39.373 – Laps 25
“It was good today, we didn’t have a fast lap in the end but we got on the front row. We did over 30 laps on a set of tyres and went quite quick at the end, still able to do 39s which is good. The last couple of laps we tried our hardest to catch Casey but with five minutes to go I think I ripped my tank spacer off that holds me back on the bike which didn’t help. I wasn’t disappointed as I knew we had a gap to fourth so we’d be on the front row. It wasn’t the perfect session and Casey was just too fast. I think the race will be different; the tyres will be pretty greasy after ten laps but my bike’s working really well on used tyres so we’ll see what happens.”
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 3rd – Time 1.39.629 – Laps 26
“Qualifying was much better than the other three practices so far this weekend. I improved a lot and had a lot more confidence with the front, we changed one bike completely which worked. We are much more confident for tomorrow now. I would like to be closer to Casey, but seven tenths is better than one second and a half. It’s going to be a very tough race for everybody. The front tyre, especially on the left side is graining from the fourth lap so it’s going to be a complicated ride. Let’s see what happens.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Well I can say one thing, we finally found the right direction to go in which is where we struggled until half way through qualifying. With the bike adjustment we improved a lot, we fitted a qualifying tyre and Jorge pushed for two laps. The bike was stable and we were quite pleased with the result. Ben has been spot on the whole weekend and I think he will be a big contender for the victory for tomorrow. We need to find consistency now and see if we can improve a little bit more for the race.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“The overall result is pretty good today, both riders are on the front row and there is no better way to start the race. Ben’s rhythm is very good so I am positive; we have done a really good job so far. Jorge improved every session and is now up there so I am expecting a really good battle tomorrow.”
Colin Edwards will start his bid for a top six finish in front of his home fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tomorrow from the second row of the grid after he equalled his best qualifying performance of 2011 this afternoon.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider was able to transfer his stunning practice form into the 60-minute qualifying session and he will start tomorrow’s 28-lap race from sixth position on the grid.
Throughout the three practice sessions, Edwards was consistently running inside the top six and a fastest lap of 1.40.098 in a sun-drenched qualifying session saw him finish just over 0.1s away from claiming fourth spot on the grid.
With the new infield tarmac offering vastly improved levels of grip with more rubber laid down on the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, Edwards was able to lap 1.2s faster than his best time in qualifying for last year’s race.
The 37-year-old Texan is now optimistic that he can battle for a third top six result of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship to strengthen his bid to finish the campaign as the leading non-factory rider.
British rider Cal Crutchlow had a frustrating end to an otherwise encouraging qualifying session and he will start the 12th round of this year’s World Championship from 11th position on the grid.
The 25-year-old has dedicated the majority of his time this weekend working hard with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team crew to make progress in finding a comfortable front-end setting with his YZR-M1 machine.
His commitment and determination looked like being rewarded with a top 10 place on the grid, but as he pushed to improve his best lap time of 1.40.620, Crutchlow came across Loris Capirossi riding slowly on the racing line at Turn 13 in the final two minutes.
Crutchlow had to quickly take evasive action to avoid a collision with the Ducati rider and he ran into the gravel trap, preventing him from making any further improvement to his lap time.
Despite missing out on his ninth top 10 grid position of the season, Crutchlow is confident he can battle with factory riders Nicky Hayden and Alvaro Bautista in tomorrow’s race.
Colin Edwards / Position 6th – Time 1.40.098 – Laps 26
“The weekend has been great so far and now I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow. I haven’t been out of the top six in every session and everything has been working fantastic. I feel great on the bike, my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team have been working tirelessly again to give me a competitive package, and I’m sure a realistic goal is to finish in the top six. That would be a great result and I’m hoping to put on a good show for the Indy crowd tomorrow. The new pavement was a million times better today. Yesterday it was greasy and I was sliding around all over the place, but to finish third in that first practice session gave me a lot of confidence immediately and we have just built on that. Right at the end on one of the soft tyres I knew I had to take a risk on the first lap. Normally I’m not the guy that pushes on the first lap, but I knew here that the soft tyre needed to be hammered right out of the pitlane when it had a lot better grip than the second lap. The bike has felt the best it has for a few races and now I’m excited for the race. I need a good start but I’ll be looking to have a good fight with Dovizioso and Simoncelli. In this heat it is going to be a long and tough race, but I’ll be giving it my all for the American fans.”
Cal Crutchlow / Position 11th – Time 1.40.620 – Laps 24
“I’m pretty disappointed with Loris today. He is the most experienced rider on track and he should no better than anybody that riding slowly at the end of a qualifying session when everybody is going to be pushing hard for a decent grid position isn’t the right thing to do. The worst thing was he looked behind twice and saw me coming but he stayed on the racing line when he knew I was on a fast lap. I had to swerve really quick to avoid hitting him and that is disappointing. I’m not saying I was going to jump into the top five, but I’m sure without that I might have qualified inside the top 10. That would have been a good result because I’m struggling with the front-end again. I keep losing the front and it is proving quite difficult at the moment to find an improvement. I’m working really hard, and so are my guys, to find a solution. But we haven’t quite made me as comfortable on the bike as I’d like. My pace is still not that bad and I’m sure I can be fighting in a group with Nicky and Alvaro tomorrow. If I can get a good start, I’m hopeful I can stay with them and have a good scrap.”
– HRC Report
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) set the absolute fastest lap by a motorcycle in a very warm qualifying session for Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yamaha riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo filled out the front row with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) fourth in front of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Qualifying was held in a brilliant, warm sunshine, with Stoner setting the early pace on a track that continued to improve after a recent paving. The riders had been highly critical of the infield, which was repaved, but as more rubber was laid down the track got progressively faster until it yielded a record time. In the morning practice session, the championship leader had raced to the fastest ever time by a motorcycle at “The Brickyard,” eclipsing the qualifying mark set by Pedrosa in 2009, and he continued his form in qualifying.
Stoner was fastest in every sector and nearly unassailable. Every time Spies would slightly close the gap, Stoner upped the pace. By the end of the hour he had compiled the six fastest laps. His best of 1m, 38.850s came late in the session and cemented his seventh pole position of the season. In the first 12 races, Stoner has only been off the front row once, in Estoril.
Not only was the Australian fastest over one lap, but his Repsol Honda RC212V reached the fastest trap speed of all, 323.5Km/h, over 201mph.
Pedrosa had been on the front row until very late in the hour when Lorenzo edged him out. The difference between the two Spaniards was .318s. Pedrosa isn’t at 100% fitness following an injury-interrupted season, but his physical conditioning shouldn’t play a part in Sunday’s 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship. Pedrosa failed to finish the previous Czech Grand Prix in Brno, but before that he’d been quite strong, winning in Germany and finishing third in the USGP.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) is in the middle of the second row after qualifying only .077s behind Pedrosa. Dovizioso, like many riders, was concerned about tyre wear. The added traction of the new surface caused problems with the front tyre, which many riders were trying to solve through set-up. Dovizioso didn’t believe he was on Stoner’s pace, but was certain he could fight to join him on the podium.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was seventh fastest and on the row three pole. The Italian, who’d earned his first MotoGP podium in the Czech Grand Prix, was fourth fastest in the morning’s free practice. “Super Sic” was hopeful of improving his pace on race tyres, but discovered a problem with the front tyre when he fitted a new rear. The problem is that the rear grips so well that it pushes the front across the new pavement, causing it to quickly erode. The team will spend the night and the morning warm-up looking for a solution to the front tyre issue.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was 13th fastest on the hot afternoon. Aoyama felt better than he had on Friday, but not sufficiently better to move farther up the grid. The race could be a surprise, however, as Aoyama’s pace was consistent, which should allow him to move further up the order.
Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) finished 15th fastest in the middle of a pack of four riders covered by only .167s. Elias spent the session trying to decide between two very different setups going into Sunday’s race. His hopes of starting closer to the front were thwarted when he ran into a problem with the front end pushing, which made controlling the motorcycle difficult.
The Moto2 qualifying session was filled with high drama, as Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) continued his impressive run while title leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer ott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter) was in front. Then Corsi took over with just under seven minutes remaining. The lead changed hands twice more, with Simone on top after time expired. But Marquez was still on the course and he crossed the line he’d stolen the pole by the narrowest of margins, .001s. It was the fourth pole in a row and fifth of the season for Marquez. Tomorrow he will aim to score his fourth race win after finishing second in the previous Czech Grand Prix.
Bradl has a much harder road to victory. The German could only muster a season worst 22nd starting spot-previously he’d never been worse than seventh-and will start from the eighth row of the grid. What will make his task even more difficult is that the infield of the Speedway has a narrow racing line after a recent repaving, and anyone who ventures off line does so at their own peril. The race for Bradl will be one of damage control, to try to limit his points loss to Marquez, who he leads by 43 points.
Corsi was happy to qualify a career best second, but disappointed not to get the pole position. Indianapolis is a track that he likes, which he proved last year. Corsi was forced to start from the pit lane in 2010, but he engaged the others from the start and worked his way to an impressive fifth place finish.
Fresh off his first win of the season in the Czech Republic, Andrea Iannone (Speed Master-Suter) earned his first front row starting position by qualifying third. Iannone sits fourth in the championship, but will be looking to gain ground on Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2, Motobi), who qualified only tenth best.
Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing-Tech 3) leads off row two from Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Suter) and Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project-FTR). Smith is looking to recapture the form that pushed him to third in the championship earlier in the season.
MotoGP rider quotes
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: Pole position – 1m 38.850s “I’m very happy with pole here in Indy, the team have been doing a great job under difficult conditions this weekend, but the race is tomorrow and we will keep working right up until the last moment to try and get the set up right. Obviously without the bumps from previous years the track is performing a lot better, but the lack of consistency in the grip levels are causing issues, everyone is loosing the front and it doesn’t give you a lot of confidence, when you hit these patches the bike just seems to drop away from you. We haven’t changed too much since FP1, just a few small steps and trying to get the front tyre to work more as with such little grip, we are destroying it. For race distance we’re looking pretty good, we did more than race distance on soft front and soft rear and had good stability, we’ll wait and see what the conditions are like for tomorrow and decide from there.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th – 1m 39.947s “We had some issues in the session with the front tyre, I didn’t feel very comfortable with it and we couldn’t get the most from it. I was not going super-fast and I lost the first row, but I’m not worried about the position. We would like to be closer to Casey and Ben – they have been very fast and consistent – so I hope to find something more tomorrow morning in the warm-up to help us fight for the podium. The race will be hard because it’s very hot out there, and it will also be a big challenge for the tyres, but I hope we perform better in the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 40.024s “Starting from the second row tomorrow is not too bad. It will be important to have a good start and ride consistently, trying to manage the tyres for the twenty-eight lap race. The rear grip is too strong compared with the front, which causes the front tyre to overheat, this remains the main issue so we need to continue working with the set up to rectify this. During qualifying the ground temperature reached fifty-one degrees, these conditions are really demanding for the tyres.
Concerning the pace, I have good rhythm and even though the gap to Casey remains too big for my liking, I think we can fight with Dani and Lorenzo for a podium position, this is our target and we will continue working to improve the machine for the race.”
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 7th – 1m 40.204s “Obviously, I was hoping to do better than this because things weren’t going too badly or us in the first half of qualifying. I was optimistic because my pace on race tyres was good, but when we put a new rear in to chase a faster lap time the front was completely destroyed within a couple of laps and I couldn’t push the bike as I wanted to. Now we will have a look at the data and do some work for the race to and find a solution that will save on front tyre wear. As I said I am still optimistic about my race pace and even though a podium will be difficult and even more so the win, we have a good chance of improving on our starting position.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 13th – 1m 40.925s “My feeling was a little better today but not enough to make up positions. We start from near the back again and that presents its own problems, but my race pace is not too bad, so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 15th – 1m 41.030s “Already from yesterday’s afternoon session and this morning we knew which are going to be our front and rear tyres for the race. It seems we had less issues with front tyre compared with the other riders especially about the wear. In this afternoon session we have tested two different bike setups; one was better in turning and the other one had a better stability, so we have been trying to understand which was the best one for tomorrow. In my last run I had a big issues with the new rear tyre that was pushing too much in the front and I struggled to control the bike. We will work on that in the warm up tomorrow to get a better feeling. At the end I had not taken a painkiller injection as my right feet is improving day by day.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter: Pole position – 1m 44.038s “It was a very close session and we are happy with the way it went. We did our best in a circuit that has kept changing its conditions during the whole weekend, as having a new tarmac, it improves its grip with every lap. This forces us to change the setup, but we are doing a good job with the team and, despite that I could ride very comfortably. Anyway, as I always say, the race is tomorrow and it is when it is important to do a good performance. It will be difficult, because Corsi and Iannone are very combative riders and will not make things easy for us tomorrow.”
Simone Corsi, Ioda Racing Project-FTR: 2nd – 1m 44.039s “I’m so disappointed to miss out on pole position by just .001s, but nonetheless the important thing is to start on the front row for tomorrow’s race. I really want to thank the team, because right from the start we were feeling really fast in really hot conditions. After last year when I started on the back of the grid and finished fifth, I’m really looking forward to the race. especially because the track seems to have cleaned up somewhat over the last couple of days.”
Andrea Iannone, Speed Master-Suter: 3rd – 1m 44.158s “I’m delighted to be on the front row because it’s the first time I’ve managed it this year. Simone and Marc were both really, really fast straight from the start and that made it a very hard practice session. But I’m very delighted to be on the front row, because it promises to be a difficult race and very hard, as always, in Moto2.”
– Ducati Report
After taking a nice step forward in the third free-practice session this morning, a fall during the fourth lap of qualifying affected Valentino Rossi’s performance in Indianapolis. Although the Italian immediately returned to the garage, he could no longer use his first bike or its set of fresh tyres. He’ll have to start from the fifth row of the grid tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden was able to improve his situation by over a second and a half compared to Friday, posting the eighth-best time. He’ll start his home Grand Prix from the third row.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th (1:40.244)
“Compared to yesterday, we had wanted to take a step forward in qualifying, but I got a bit confused this morning, and my feedback to the team wasn’t as good as it should have been. This bike is new for us, and we still need more experience with it. Anyway, we still salvaged the third row in the end, which is better than I was. Tyre wear is going to be a big question mark for me. I’m sorry for my fans and the Ducati supporters who want to see us qualifying up front, but we’ll give it our best tomorrow. They say there may be cooler weather, which normally helps us a little bit, so maybe we’ll catch a break.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 14th (1:40.975)
“We took a nice step forward this morning that we hoped to confirm in qualifying, and instead I fell right away. We really could have done without that crash, but the front closed right when I touched the brake. From there, the whole session was difficult because the second bike had a slightly different setup. I lost one pair of new tyres and I had to start with a set of used ones. I wasn’t able to get back the feeling from this morning, when the bike felt better and I could push harder. It’s really a shame because we wanted to try to start from the second row again, like at Brno, and instead we’ll have to work hard tomorrow. Anyway, we’ll give our best effort in the race because we weren’t so far off this morning.”
– Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista made a determined effort in this afternoon’s qualifying session at Indianapolis to ensure he has a grid position that gives him a chance of a good result for tomorrow’s race.
Bautista will start from the third row after qualifying in ninth place with a best lap–time of 1’40.333 from his 28-laps. He thoroughly tested the Bridgestone race tyres that he had available, to get the best option for Sunday. Bautista is still looking for a bit more durability from his preferred front tyre selection, but believes the team will be able to make a few changes to the set-up of the GSV-R to assist with tyre life in readiness for the race.
Today’s qualifying at the 4,216m Indianapolis Motor Speedway was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures getting up to 51ºC. Current championship leader Casey Stoner took pole position, with American Ben Spies in second and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo making up the front row.
Tomorrow’s 28-lap race is round 12 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and the lights will go out to signal the start of the event at 14.00hrs local time (18.00hrs GMT).
Álvaro Bautista: “The qualifying today was not too bad compared with the last few races, so this is a lot better for us. We tried a long run at the start of the session and the grip from the rear was no problem, but the front did not have enough life in it to make a full race length. This will make things difficult for tomorrow, because we have to try and preserve the front tyre and make sure we have enough durability for 28-laps. We are starting from the third row so the main thing will be to get a good start and stay with the front guys. We will look at today’s data to see if we can use a setting that will give us more life in the tyre and stop it dropping off and sliding around. I am looking forward to tomorrow because we have a better grid position and I will give it full gas and 100% to get a good result.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “I don’t think Álvaro or anyone else on the team is particularly excited with ninth on the grid, but the third row gives us a decent chance to go with the fast guys on the early laps and challenge for a good result tomorrow. We’ve done a number of long runs and as much as 35-laps on a race rear tyre – and the rhythm was still pretty good. We now need Álvaro to race aggressively tomorrow like he has done recently and I think we can hope to have an exciting afternoon.”
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Hard, Extra Hard
Casey Stoner continued his strong form in qualifying today to seal his seventh pole position of the season. As the level of grip from the 1.5miles (2.4km) of new tarmac at the 2.62mile (4.216km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway continued to improve today, his best lap was also an impressive 0.9seconds faster than the previous pole position record, set by Dani Pedrosa in 2009.
Lining up second on the grid for tomorrow’s race is last year’s pole-man Ben Spies and completing the front row is reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, both of whom were also faster than the previous pole record.
After yesterday’s running and this morning’s free practice, the track condition was much improved this afternoon although it hasn’t reached its full potential yet and is continuing to change with each session run. Tyre graining was a much smaller issue today as the tarmac is much cleaner and with all the rubber laid down the grip is better, but tyre choice and setup balance are both tricky given the constantly changing conditions.
The surface has undoubtedly improved since yesterday and from previous years, hence the marked improvement in laptimes, but this has had an effect on tyre wear. Just as significant is the way in which the character and grip of the tarmac is changing from session to session. This morning the grip balance was quite good between front and rear, but this afternoon, with yet more rubber down, rear tyre grip increased which led to many riders experiencing the front tyre pushing more and increased wear.
The favoured combination for front-runners during the qualifying session was the harder front for its greater stability and wear resistance and the softer rear for its extra traction. Several riders tested race distance durability of the softer rear slick, including Stoner and Spies, and in current conditions consistency is good.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“As we expected, the track condition changed again today as it keeps on improving almost with every lap that’s run around it. The laptimes were very fast, and Casey beat the pole position record by almost one second, so this is a good indication that the new surface is already much better than it was at the start of the weekend.
“Performance of the softer spec rear was good today and we were able to confirm race-distance durability so this is likely to be the favoured choice for the race alongside the harder front. Conditions today were especially tough on the front tyres though. As the circuit grip character changes, so does the grip balance and this afternoon a lot of riders experienced the front end pushing, accelerating front tyre wear. We can expect the tarmac to change again tomorrow, so trying to predicting the changes and get the right grip balance with setup will be very important. Good tyre management and making the best use of the tyres in the overall bike, rider and tyre package will be even more important here than usual and tyre wear is likely to play a significant role in the outcome of tomorrow’s race.”