After a week of controversy, things went very positive Saturday for San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli at Catalunya, round 5 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.
The Italian, who was summoned Thursday by Race Direction for the Le Mans crash involving Dani Pedrosa, took a late charge during qualifying for Catalunya MotoGP, taking posting a 1:42.413 within the final 30 seconds of qualifying.
But the man who dominated all practice sessions wasn’t far behind – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. The Australian, who holds the best pole position from 2010 and the fastest lap at the Barcelona track, was only 0.016 of a second behind Simoncelli.
Completing the front row was the reigning MotoGP Champion and last year’s Catalunya winner, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who posted a 1:42.728.
Heading up the second row in MotoGP qualifying is the American Ben Spies on the other Yamaha Factory Racing M1. The Texan finished 0.014 of a second behind his teammate. Spies will be joined on the second row by Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and Monster Yamaha Tech 3′s Cal Crutchlow.
The third row starts with the Ducati Team MotoGP duo of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, respectively. The sole Suzuki rider on the grid, Alvaro Bautista, completes the third row, qualifying ninth.
Only 15 riders will start Sunday’s Catalunya MotoGP due to two riders out with injuries: Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who broke his right collarbone in the controversial Le Mans crash with pole-sitter Simoncelli, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3′s Colin Edwards, who broke his shoulder at free practice Friday.
2011 Catalunya MotoGP: Qualifying Results:
|1.||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||321.3||1’42.413|
|2.||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||327.4||1’42.429||0.016 / 0.016|
|3.||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||323.7||1’42.728||0.315 / 0.299|
|4.||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||321.7||1’42.742||0.329 / 0.014|
|5.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||327.5||1’42.749||0.336 / 0.007|
|6.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||322.5||1’43.202||0.789 / 0.453|
|7.||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||324.7||1’43.223||0.810 / 0.021|
|8.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||324.3||1’43.228||0.815 / 0.005|
|9.||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||322.4||1’43.447||1.034 / 0.219|
|10.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||327.6||1’43.656||1.243 / 0.209|
|11.||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||326.0||1’43.734||1.321 / 0.078|
|12.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||323.5||1’43.764||1.351 / 0.030|
|13.||65||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||322.0||1’44.068||1.655 / 0.304|
|14.||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||325.5||1’44.510||2.097 / 0.442|
|15.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||322.6||1’45.661||3.248 / 1.151|