Qualifying Results – MotoGP 2011 – Round 13 – Misano
Stoner storms Misano qualifying
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner will start the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini from pole position on Sunday, after breaking his own lap record set at the Misano circuit three years ago.
The Australian set out into the afternoon qualifying session intent on taking pole position for the San Marino race on Sunday, and not only achieved his goal but broke his own lap record set in 2008 with a lap time of 1’33.138.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo made a late push for the pole after leading the majority of the session, but missed out on the top spot by 0.120s to take second beside Championship leader Stoner on the front row. Last year’s pole man and race winner Dani Pedrosa’s time of 1’33.318 gave him the final spot on the front row.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), who started from fifth last year and finished the race sixth, will start his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the head of the second row after posting a time of 1’33.947. The American is joined by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), whose time of 1’33.990 landed him fifth, while Andrea Dovizioso of Repsol Honda takes the sixth spot on the outside of row two.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) heads the third row, with Álvaro Bautista, whose eighth place start is his best yet of the season, joining the American. Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar), who finished ninth and was the first non-factory Ducati last year in the MotoGP race at Misano, qualified ninth to complete row three.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) completed the top ten riders, while Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) followed in 11th, 1.538s off the pole position time set by Stoner.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had a crash when pushing hard at the end of the qualifying session, ending up 13th on the grid just behind Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing), while Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) had a crash early in the qualifying practice. The French rider ended the session in 14th place, ahead of ahead of Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) in 15th.
1 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’33.138
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’33.258
3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.318
4 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’33.947
5 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’33.990
6 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’34.026
7 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’34.054
8 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’34.360
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’34.592
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’34.637
11 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’34.676
12 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’34.727
13 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’34.791
14 Randy De Puniet Ducati FRA 1’34.870
15 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’34.955
Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) took his seventh pole position of the season – and his first since the Assen GP – with a best effort of 1’37.828, leaving his closest rival Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) trailing by 0.256s. The German was the only rider in the Moto2 class to break the 1’38” barrier.
Márquez pushed a bit too hard at the start of the session and had a fall, but was able to rejoin the meet, posting a time of 1’38.084 on his final lap which put the Spaniard second on the grid. Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) followed Márquez with a time of 1’38.340 to take the third spot on the grid, making this the Japanese rider’s fourth front row grid position of the season.
Two Brits occupy the second row, with Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) leading after posting a time of 1’38.364, Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) completing the row with a 1’38.535 lap time and San Marino local Alex De Angelis (JiR Moto2) between the two with a posted time of 1’38.461.
Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone crashed out of the session in turn two, but rejoined the outing to post the seventh fastest time, putting the Italian at the head of row three for the race start. Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) and Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) join Iannone on the third row. Row four is led by Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), with Jules Cluzel (NGM Forward Racing) and Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) joining the Swiss rider.
Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider Johann Zarco put on a superb qualifying display to seal his second pole position of the season ahead of the Misano race, the Frenchman’s hot lap of 1’43.247 left him 0.193s clear at the top of the leader board, ahead of Bankia Aspar team-mates Héctor Faubel and Nicolas Terol.
Faubel followed Zarco onto the front row with a best effort of 1’43.440, while Terol was third on the timesheet at 0.164s off his team-mate and 0.357s off the number one spot with a time of 1’43.640.
Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), whose best race result at Misano is fifth, will start from the head of the second row after posting a time of 1’43.605, followed by Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), the last rider under a second off the pole position time. Wildcard rider Miroslav Popov (Ellegi Racing) had a superb qualifying result, posting a time of 1’44.255 to place him on the second row of the grid.
Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) and Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) make up the third row, while Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) heads row four of the grid. Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), who finished 3rd in the 125cc race last year, takes position 11 next to Viñales on the fourth row, followed by Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), who is riding through a shoulder injury sustained at the Indianapolis GP last weekend.
– Yamaha Report
Jorge Lorenzo delivered a scorching pace at the Misano circuit today to take second place on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of San Marino. The reigning World Champion had continued to benefit from the hard work of his crew in the final morning free practice, holding second for most of the session to finally finish third just 0.323 from first. Lorenzo dominated the afternoon’s qualifying session, starting as the fastest rider from the outset before dropping to second with a gap of 0.578 to pole with 11 minutes to go. An extra burst of speed saw him drop the gap to a mere 0.120 seconds behind Casey Stoner on pole.
Ben Spies had a more challenging qualifying than his team mate today, spending the final free practice and subsequent qualifying working to improve rear grip levels on his YZR-M1. A last minute effort saw him deliver a fourth place grid start just off the front row, 0.809 from pole. The team will now work overnight to find an improvement for warm up to provide the best possible set up for the race.
Jorge Lorenzo – Position 2nd – Time 1.33.258 – Laps 30
“Today has been a good day for us. We wanted pole position but the first row is a good start for tomorrow. We have tried some things today and in QP we could almost always be in front. The bike is very good after all the great work of my crew and we have a fast pace. I think we can be competitive tomorrow and try to finish in front of Casey so that’s our aim. The weather conditions are being very tough this weekend, it might even rain tomorrow. The race will be very difficult in all aspects.”
Ben Spies – Position 4th – Time 1.33.947 – Laps 30
“It was honestly a lot tougher than expected this afternoon. I wasn’t really happy with it We’re trying a lot of stuff with the bike and I don’t feel all that bad riding wise, we just don’t have the right setting yet and we’re not comfortable at a few spots on the track. Some are really good, some are really bad. We had to ride way over the limit to be where we were today. I’m glad we got it done and got on the second row but I’m not happy about how many risks I had to take to get there. The bike’s there, we can see it, Jorge’s going fast and I feel good, we just have to get my setting comfortable. We’ve got all night to work on it and see what we can do for tomorrow. “
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Second place is good, Jorge has a very good pace and he’s happy with the bike so we are ready to race. Our tyre choice has been sorted so we don’t have to gamble anything. Jorge is riding very consistently as the Jorge we know, he is very smooth and looking good so we are looking forward to the race to see what we can achieve.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“First row is a good starting point for tomorrow, Jorge has a really good pace which is important. We are working to find a better set up for Ben and are still looking for some more grip for the rear. We are going to prepare something to try for tomorrow morning’s warm up. The weather for tomorrow is also a big question mark!”
Edwards storms to superb seventh in Misano qualifying
Colin Edwards delivered another fantastic qualifying performance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Misano to boost his hopes of recording a top six finish in tomorrow’s 28-lap GP Aperol di San Marino E Riviera di Rimini.
The 37-year-old missed a second successive second row start by just 0.028s and Edwards will start round 13 of this year’s World Championship from seventh position having once again finished top non-factory rider.
Edwards was in stunning form earlier today when he ended practice in a confidence-inspiring fifth position, the Texan benefiting from geometry modifications to the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine to lap almost a second faster than he managed yesterday.
With a quarter of this afternoon’s qualifying session remaining, Edwards jumped into the top five with a lap of 1.34.356. He was able to shave a further 0.3s off that lap but it wasn’t quite quick enough to secure him a third top six start on the grid this season.
Edwards is now optimistic that he can battle for the top six in tomorrow’s race as he looks to cement his position as the leading non-factory rider in the overall rankings.
British rider Cal Crutchlow had an eventful qualifying session, which took place in slightly cooler conditions than yesterday. Temperatures still peaked at 29 degrees and like team-mate Edwards, Crutchlow was able to knock almost a second off his Friday pace to finish this morning’s third practice session in ninth position thanks to wheelbase alterations to his YZR-M1 machine.
Crutchlow was lapping inside the top 10 and looking to improve his pace of 1.34.791 when he suffered two late crashes. He tumbled out at Turn 3 on his first soft Bridgestone rear tyre and having returned to the pits to jump on his spare Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine, he crashed again in the closing moments of the session while looking to better his 13th position.
Both times he escaped injury and the spills haven’t dented Crutchlow’s confidence and the 25-year-old remains positive that he can compete for a top 10 result on the 2.626 miles circuit tomorrow.
Colin Edwards – Position 7th – Time 1.34.054 – Laps 29
“I’m really happy with today and it was a shame all our hard work didn’t quite get us on the second row. We knew what the problems were yesterday and we changed the geometry on the front-end to create some stability throu gh the high-speed sections. Once again I got to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they rolled out an awesome bike for me. They did their job and I had to do mine and thankfully I did. There’s not much between fourth and seventh and to be just over a tenth behind Ben (Spies) on the factory Yamaha proves what a good job we’ve done. I’m now looking forward to the race tomorrow. I’m going to run the soft rear tyre and I’m pretty sure it will be perfect, but I just can’t make the hard rear option work. It feels pretty rigid and I just tense up when I’m on it. I’ve got to be looking at the top six though it is not going to be easy at all when you look at the calibre of those guys in front of me and the bikes they are riding. I just need to make sure I get a good start and try and stay out of trouble in the first couple of corners because there’s been a few incidents there.”
Cal Crutchlow – Position 13th – Time 1.34.791- Laps 23
“The position on the timesheets looks like it was a bad session and it could definitely have ended a lot better without the two crashes. But this morning I was a second faster than yesterday and felt really comfortable on the bike after we made some overnight changes that improved the front. I think I was eighth on the timesheets when I had the first crash, so I know I could have been in the top 10 on the grid. The first crash was at Turn 3. I’d just gone out on my first soft rear and there wasn’t enough heat in it, so it high-sided me and then turned into a low-side. It wasn’t a big problem and we put a new soft rear tyre in the spare bike. But the only front I had left was 25-laps old. I was on for a really good lap and the front pushed because it had close to race distance on it and I crashed again. That’s pretty annoying but they were both my mistakes and I hold my hands up for that. I’m still positive that I could have been much higher up on the grid and I am confident I can be inside the top 10 tomorrow. I need to apologise to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for giving them a bit of work, but it makes me more determined to give them a decent result tomorrow.”
– HRC Report
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) continued his remarkable form at Misano today, claiming his eighth pole position of the season in gruelling Italian heat. Tomorrow the Australian’s aim is to score his fourth consecutive victory to further tighten his grip on the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.
Stoner will be joined on the front row of the grid by team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who qualified a close third fastest this afternoon. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) will start from the second row after recording the fifth and sixth fastest times.
Stoner – who has won seven of the 12 races so far this season – comes to Misano on the back of successive victories at Laguna Seca, Brno and last Sunday at Indianapolis. With six races to go he holds a 44 point advantage over reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who was second quickest this afternoon, just 0.120s shy of his rival. The pair traded blows during qualifying, both taking their turns at the top, just as they had done during the first three practice sessions – Stoner was fastest in FP1, then it was Lorenzo in FP2 before Stoner moved ahead once more in FP3 this morning.
Despite his domination of recent races and his speed at Misano, Stoner refuses to write off Lorenzo and expects the Spaniard to keep fighting to defend his crown until the very end. As always, race-long tyre performance will be the key here, with Stoner working hard with his crew to get the best out of the harder option Bridgestone rear tyre. He rode his best qualifying lap with his first softer rear, because when he went out with his second softer rear, he found the tyre was gripping so much that it made the front tyre push through the turns.
With just 0.180s separating the top three, Pedrosa expects a hard-fought battle for victory. Second at Indianapolis last weekend and winner here last year, the Spaniard is hopeful that he can challenge both his team-mate and Lorenzo tomorrow. Pedrosa finished this afternoon just six hundredths of a second behind his compatriot and believes he can put up a good fight tomorrow.
Simoncelli performed well this afternoon in preparation for his home race. The former 250 World Champion – who hails from Cattolica, just a few kilometres from the Misano racetrack – had been seventh this morning, but improved to fifth fastest to make sure of a row-two start. Simoncelli, who has been working to solve front grip and fuel consumption issues, sits between Ben Spies (Yamaha) and fellow Italian Dovizioso.
Dovizioso is another local (from Forli, a short drive up the autostrada) and will be doing everything in his powers to repeat the emotional podium result he scored at Mugello in July. The Italian knows that he is stronger on race pace than when he is hunting one-off fast laps during qualifying, so he is hopeful of being able to chase the top three and see how the later stages of the race work out.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was both satisfied and frustrated with tenth place today – happy because he is in better physical shape than he has been for some while and because he is feeling more and more confident on the bike, frustrated because he was determined to make the third row for his team’s home race. The former 250 World Champion missed out by just 0,045s.
Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) was also frustrated, at a track where he has podium form in the premier class and where he won the Moto2 race last year. Elias and his crew have been working to improve machine balance to better load the front tyre but so far the perfect set-up eludes them.
Today’s Moto2 qualifying session was another head-to-head for World Championship rivals Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex) and Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter). Although Marquez has out-qualified Bradl at the last four events and won four of the last five races, the Spanish teenager ended this afternoon 0.256s behind his German rival who still holds sway at the top of the points table. Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki) completed the front row, a further 0.256s off pole.
Bradl’s first pole position since June’s Dutch TT comes at a vital stage in his championship duel with Marquez. His once gaping title lead has diminished race by race, including a 15 point deficit at Indy last weekend where he crashed in qualifying and had to fight through from way back. Despite that result Bradl and his crew believe they found a significant settings improvement at Indy which they hope will stem Marquez’s advance. The difference between the pair stands at 28 points with six races remaining.
Perhaps Marquez’s attack today was somewhat blunted when he slid off during the early stages of qualifying. He quickly recovered to chase down Bradl’s time, reducing the gap from more than three tenths of a second. On his final lap he was fastest through the first sector, but couldn’t maintain that pace through the rest of the lap.
In the sweltering conditions Marquez wasn’t the only faller – Indy podium finisher Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX-FTR), Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing-Kalex) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master-Suter) also slid off, Iannone going down on his final run when he was fighting to join Bradl and Marquez on the front row.
Takahashi was delighted with third place on the grid, giving the former Moto2 winner his first front-row start since June’s Catalan GP at his team’s home race. Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter) was a close fourth fastest to lead row two, missing out on a front-row start by just 0.024s. Tomorrow Redding will be joined on the second row by local hero Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2-Motobi) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing-Tech 3). Brno Moto2 winner Iannone was seventh quickest to head row three.
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 33.138s “It’s been a pretty good weekend for us here, steadily improving the bike each session. We struggled a little with the hard tyre this afternoon, trying to find the correct balance, but then we made an improvement and got the bike feeling better. Then when we put the soft tyres on, we got a great lap in but the bike wasn’t working too well in the front, which is something we need to improve for tomorrow. It will be a tough race, Dani and Jorge are both running very well so I’ll try to get a good start, but there are a few more overtaking opportunities here at Misano, it’s not a track with only one line. The weekend on the whole is going well. Tomorrow we’ll have to decide on tyres depending on what the weather is doing, hopefully it will cool down a little which would be nice!”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC212V: 3rd – 1m 33.318s “I’m happy with the qualifying session. I spent most of the time working on the tyres, swapping from the soft to the medium compound, trying to find the right one for tomorrow; normally before the qualifying session you have almost decided, but here it’s been more difficult because of the weather and track conditions. We were working on that a lot this afternoon and in the last couple of laps I was pushing to be on the front row. We’ve made it, which is very important here because the first corners are very tight, and the times between the three of us are very close, so that’s positive. For race pace, Casey and Jorge are still slightly faster than me, but we will look for something more on the settings tonight and try to be with them tomorrow for whole race.”
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 5th – 1m 33.990s “I am quite strong here, but we need to be stronger because the front three are extremely fast. However, I am confident because I think I can fight with Spies and Dovizioso. We will make some more slight changes to the settings in the morning and try to improve the bike under braking. I am sure with a harder front compound I would have had less problems, but this is the situation and we have to adapt. As for fuel consumption, which was our biggest worry yesterday, we have improved today and should be able to finish the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 6th – 1m 34.026s “This morning we worked on the set-up, reducing the issue of the pitching we had yesterday. This afternoon we improved the rhythm with the hard tyre in preparation for the race. Our target was to start from the first two rows, so the final result is not too bad. Tomorrow it will be crucial to make a good start and try to stay with the front riders. Casey and Lorenzo are really strong and Dani is very fast off the start so it will be important to stay with them if we want to gain some points on Lorenzo and control Dani. We will continue working, but the good point is that we are more competitive on race pace than we are in using the soft compound tyre for qualifying. With these high temperatures and humidity the race will be really tough tomorrow. I hope that the Italian spectators will give me an extra boost.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th – 1m 34.637s “I am satisfied that we have made notable progress – my only disappointment that I couldn’t put the perfect lap together to break onto the third row. I have got my confidence back with the bike and my physical condition is much better.
Starting from tenth place makes me think I can have a good race because my pace is quite good.”
Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 17th – 1m 36.167s “I am very frustrated and I cannot believe I will start from the last spot on the grid on the circuit where I’ve achieved good results in the past four years. This morning we have found a little adjustment which helped me drive out of the corners and in this afternoon’s session we tried to improve our rear suspension and chassis set-up. Basically, we have been trying to improve the weight transfer to load the rear tyre and get the correct temperature, but we could not achieve what we were expecting and I am not comfortable with our overall package. Tomorrow I must make a good start and try to follow the group because I do not want to race alone. It’s going to be very tough.”
– Ducati Report
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished eleventh and fifteenth, respectively, in today’s qualifying session for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. The Italian managed to find a setup for the race that is better than what he used on Friday, but he experienced bad luck on his final lap when another rider blocked his way.
After a promising morning session, Nicky Hayden had a harder time than expected in qualifying, and tomorrow he’ll start from the fifth row of the grid and try to make up ground.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 11th (1:34.676)
“Today went a bit better. We changed the setup a little compared to yesterday, and then we stuck with that, making small steps. There were no longer parts of the track where I lost a lot of time compared to the others, as we reached a steady level around the entire lap, although of course we’re still not as fast as we’d like to be. I was a little unfortunate on what would have been my fast lap, because after three good sectors, I came upon De Puniet going slow in the final hairpin before the last two left-handers, and there alone I lost half a second. Otherwise I could have done a 1:34.0 and started from the third row, which is what we had set out to do. Anyway, I’m not too bad in terms of pace, so we’ll see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 15th (1:34.955)
“This morning wasn’t bad to start with. I had used tyres from yesterday and was able to find a rhythm and do some decent laps. As has been the case lately though, things got worse in the afternoon. I was pushing the front, and I had a lot of front chatter, even with the soft tyres. It’s tough for Ducati here at their home, with the team trying hard and all the fans wanting to see us do something. I’ve got to believe the bike is better than fifteenth, so I’ve got to do a better job myself. It’s not the day we hoped for, and we’ll try to do better in the race tomorrow.”
– Suzuki Report
Álvaro Bautista will start tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after qualifying in eighth place this afternoon at Misano. Rizla Suzuki’s Spanish racer equalled his best qualifying position in MotoGP so far, at the Misano World Circuit in Italy He went one better than his ninth at Indianapolis last week as he continues to show that the recent potential shown by the Suzuki GSV-R is starting to come to fruition. Bautista’s best time of 1’34.360 from his 29 laps could have been even better, but he got caught in traffic at the end of the session when he was on his final run and was left a bit frustrated that he was unable to climb further up the grid.
Beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine was the order of the day as air temperatures rose to 29ºC. Current championship leader Casey Stoner took pole position, his eighth of the season, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo second and Dani Pedrosa in third making up the front row.
Tomorrow’s 28-lap race will not only see Bautista aiming to get in amongst the front runners early on and make a serious attempt at a high-placed finish, but it will also be the first time that the one-off Rizla ‘Micron’ paint-scheme that will adorn the Suzuki GSV-R will be seen and raced. The new livery will be launched tomorrow morning before Bautista takes to the track at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) for the 13th round of the season.
Álvaro Bautista: “This morning we made some changes to the gearbox, but after the practice we switched back to the settings from yesterday. In the qualifying I started with the harder tyre in the hot conditions to see if it worked well. It was not too bad and I was riding at 35.0 on most laps, but the exit from the corner with hard gas caused me to slide and go wide. We changed to the softer rear we had been using in the morning and I had a good feeling with that compound, and could ride mid 34s all the time. At the end I couldn’t make a best lap because there was a bit of traffic and some slower riders that I couldn’t get past, so I lost the chance to make a good lap-time. I think we have a good set-up for tomorrow and the grid position is even better than last week, so if I get a good start I think I can push right up there. I want to stay with the front guys for the maximum amount of time as possible and make a race and get a result like Indy – or even better!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “It’s strange that Misano has seen our best qualifying result of the year so far, but in-fact we are a bit disappointed by the result. Álvaro made a steady rhythm at 35.0 with the hard rear tyre and then we compared it to the soft rear tyre from this morning, and he immediately made his qualifying time of 34.3, which at the time was good for fourth. Having put on fresh tyres we were all hoping – Álvaro included – that a 33 something was possible, but a combination of traffic and a couple of errors took the chance away. We still need to improve the qualifying performance, but it is getting better and as always the points are in the Grand Prix tomorrow. We’re looking forward to the race!”
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Casey Stoner secured his eighth pole position of the season in Misano today, and in doing so set a new circuit pole position record. The old record was set by the Australian in 2008 in the era of tyre competition on Bridgestone’s high-grip qualifying tyres, but now in the Official Tyre Supplier era there are no qualifying tyres meaning that Stoner’s new record was set on race rubber.
The primary aim of race tyres is to have sufficient durability to last race-distance in contrast to the outright of grip offered by qualifying tyres over only a handful of laps, so for Stoner to set a new pole record clearly indicates the ongoing development of Bridgestone’s MotoGP tyres during the three years of single tyre supply.
Furthermore Jorge Lorenzo, who will start tomorrow’s race from second on the grid, and Dani Pedrosa in third were also both faster than the existing pole record, highlighting what has so far been a very fast weekend. This is the first time that Bridgestone have selected asymmetric rear slicks for Misano and the laptimes attest to the performance advantage they offer. The top seven riders all lapped faster than the existing lap record too during qualifying.
The top three all set their fastest laps on the harder option front slick and the softer rear, which looks to be the primary combination for the race. The second row for tomorrow’s race comprises Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso. Again today conditions were fine and dry, and more of the same is expected tomorrow when the 28 lap MotoGP race will start at 1400hrs local time.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“We saw yesterday that the laptimes were fast but for the top three to beat the pole position record, which was set back in 2008 by Casey on our qualifying tyres, is very impressive particularly as qualifying tyres are no longer used in the single tyre era so these times were set on race tyres. This means that machine and tyre development are so important. Clearly tyre performance here this weekend is good, particularly of the harder front and both rear slick options. I am pleased that a new pole record has been set as it demonstrates that we are working hard to continue to improve tyre performance even in the current era of single tyre supply, and not resting on our laurels. We have said in the past that our competition is the stopwatch, and this today is a definite victory for us. It is only the fifth outright pole record that has fallen since the start of single tyre supply in 2009 without a modification to a circuit or its tarmac, so I am very satisfied after today, and of course must congratulate Casey, Jorge and Dani in particular for their performance. Casey achieved his theoretical fastest time as he was fastest in every sector of his best lap, but Jorge’s theoretical best puts him only 0.035second adrift. All three are very close in laptime so I anticipate a good and close-fought race tomorrow.”
– Red Bull Rookies Cup
Lorenzo Baldassarri, the 15 year old Italian, won the 2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup with a perfectly judged 3rd place in the final event of the season at Misano. Race victory at the San Marino Grand Prix went to Florian Alt who passed fellow 15 year old German Philipp Oettl on the line after an intense 17 lap battle.
Only Arthur Sissis could challenge Baldassarri for the Cup going into the final event and for most of the race the 16 year old Australian was in the midst of the 4 man battle for the lead. He might well have taken overall victory in the race and the Cup but for running off the track on lap 14 when battling shoulder to shoulder with Baldassarri for the lead through the flat out right kink down the back straight.
Off onto the wide tarmac apron Sissis regained the track back in 6th place behind Alan Techer and Tomas Vavrous. His task was almost hopeless then as he needed to catch back the 2.5 seconds to Baldassarri and get 2 places ahead of him with just 3 laps remaining. Sissis had no thoughts of giving up though and set his fastest lap of the race on his way to 4th, a great effort, just not enough for the Cup.
Over the last lap Baldassarri let the Germans fight it out for the win as he saw the advantage he had. “It was a great race,” said Baldassarri. “Such a tough fight with Arthur, Philipp and Flo’ we were braking so hard and so late and pushing hard, on the limit, through every corner, the hardest race of the year. Then on the last lap I looked back and I could see that Arthur wasn’t close, I knew I just had to finish 3rd to take the Cup.”
It was all on between Oettl and Alt with pole man Alt leading onto the final lap but that changed. “Philipp passed me out of the slipstream and there was nothing I could do about it,” explained Alt. “I did everything I could to get back in front but there was no chance. Coming out of the last corner, I was flat out, head down and the suddenly, I don’t know why, he slowed and I was past. I won and that makes me happy however it happened.”
“I’ve nothing to say, the race was fine until the last few metres….” said Oettl, refusing to say that it was a premature celebration that cost him the win, shaking his fist in triumph well before the finish line and easing off enough for Alt to get past.”
He wasn’t the only disappointed Rookie of course as Sissis had to accept that the Cup, the winner’s KTM Duke 125, was in the hands of the Italian. “The race was all going OK, we were having a great battle then I just made that one mistake. We were fighting for the lead and I tried to get back around him, he just moved over and I was off the track. I tried, I rode as hard as I could to get back but I just couldn’t make it. Still it’s been a great year, the best year of my life.”
Chasing Sissis across the line was Vavrous followed by Techer who already had 3rd in the Cup secure before the last race. Vavrous enjoyed his final Rookies Cup ride, “A Brilliant start, I never had a start like this. I was in the lead group, then on the 5th lap a high-side. I stayed on the bike but was passed by a lot of guys and then I had too much work to get back. It was a nice race and I had fun.”
In all 8 different riders won at least one of the 14 races with 16 of the 24 riders finishing on the podium during the season. Baldassarri won 2 races, was on the podium 6 times and scored in every race while Sissis had 4 wins and was 2nd 3 times but also fell twice and had one none scoring result due to a mechanical problem.
The Selection Event for the 2012 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is on October 10th, 11th and 12th where between 10 and 15 riders will be invited to join the 10 to 15 who remain in the Rookies Cup from this season. The 2012 Entry List will be announced in late October.
1. Florian Alt (GER) 30 minutes 47.995 seconds
2. Philipp Oettl (GER) +0.015
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.633
4. Arthur Sissis (AUS) +3.226
5. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +3.273
6. Alan Techer (FRA) +3.325
7. Kyle Ryle (GBR) +3.367
8. Ivo Lopes (POR) +4.063
9. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +4.540
10. Josep Garcia (ESP) +12.363