Due to consistent wet conditions in Friday’s free practices, the CRT bikes held nine of the top 11 fastest overall positions. The only fast MotoGP prototypes during Friday’s practices were three Ducatis – Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, and Cardion AB Racing Ducati’s Karel Abraham.
But much changed Saturday during the final free practice and qualifying, the prototypes and regular MotoGP “aliens” returning to top form.
Leading the way during Saturday’s Qualifying was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who posted a new track record. Joining him on the front row will be Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and the Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner.
The RC213V pilot Pedrosa, who will finish second overall in 2012 MotoGP behind Lorenzo, posted a best lap of 1:30.844 during the hour-long qualifying session. This time became a new best lap at Valencia, and was 1.7 seconds quicker than the circuit record set by Casey Stoner in 2008 (Ducati).
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It was almost a perfect lap and I gave 100% because I knew I wouldn’t be able to improve any more as the tires were very good for the first lap and then the drop in grip was quite severe. I’m very happy with the pole position and the new record because Valentino’s old record was done with qualifying tires. We had only one dry session to test the new asphalt and we saw that the grip level is a little better but the tires dropped down very quick.
“We still have to decide on the tyres for tomorrow because we have used only the soft compound, but it depends on the weather -if it rains we will need to take what we learned yesterday. I really would like to win here and finish the season with a good race.”
Lorenzo put in a last-lap effort to qualify second, 0.351 of a second behind Pedrosa.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It seems like it’s going to be very close tomorrow. Dani is very strong here, not only in the dry but also in the wet and it seems it could be wet for the race. I tried my best for pole position with the last rear tire but I didn’t expect the lap time from Dani. Anyway, second place is good and the important thing is the race. Maybe the story will be different tomorrow.”
The retiring Stoner was strong throughout qualifying, but could not match Pedrosa’s time towards the end. Stoner, who says he didn’t like the new tarmac at Valencia, finished 0.584 of a second behind Pedrosa.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Qualifying didn’t really go to plan, it was a pretty frustrating session. Due to the miserable weather this weekend, we had a lot of work to do in a very short space of time, we did make some good progress but unfortunately we couldn’t find enough before the end of the session.
“There is a new surface here and we expected everything to be really good and smooth but in fact we’ve found there are a lot of bumps on the circuit. Now I’m thinking how we can improve the bike and get everything working a little easier. We need to adapt the electronics to allow me to be less restricted on this track so I can ride how I want to. Hopefully the weather is dry tomorrow and we can take that extra step in warm up.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow heads up the second row, the Brit qualifying 0.668 of a second behind Pedrosa. Joining him on the second row will be LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian Dovi was the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa.
Nicky Hayden took the top Ducati time, qualifying seventh on the grid. Hayden will be joined on the third row by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera.
Qualifying 10th was Power Electronics Aspar CRT’s Aleix Espargaro, who was quicker than the man in 11th – Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi. Rossi had a tough qualifying session for his final round with Ducati before moving to factory Yamaha next season.
The 22-rider grid will be back at Valencia Sunday for the 2012 MotoGP season finale. SPEED TV will cover the race at 8 a.m. EST. For a preview of Valencia MotoGP, click here.
2012 Valencia MotoGP Qualifying Results:
|1.||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||326.4||1’30.844|
|2.||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||321.4||1’31.195||0.351 / 0.351|
|3.||1||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||322.9||1’31.428||0.584 / 0.233|
|4.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||321.4||1’31.512||0.668 / 0.084|
|5.||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||324.8||1’31.757||0.913 / 0.245|
|6.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||321.6||1’31.795||0.951 / 0.038|
|7.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||320.7||1’32.503||1.659 / 0.708|
|8.||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||323.5||1’32.585||1.741 / 0.082|
|9.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||327.0||1’32.605||1.761 / 0.020|
|10.||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||305.7||1’32.834||1.990 / 0.229|
|11.||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||319.6||1’32.877||2.033 / 0.043|
|12.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||306.4||1’33.346||2.502 / 0.469|
|13.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||320.3||1’33.442||2.598 / 0.096|
|14.||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||309.3||1’33.453||2.609 / 0.011|
|15.||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||303.8||1’33.971||3.127 / 0.518|
|16.||21||Katsuyuki NAKASUGA||JPN||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||315.9||1’33.979||3.135 / 0.008|
|17.||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||300.0||1’33.980||3.136 / 0.001|
|18.||22||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||300.9||1’34.407||3.563 / 0.427|
|19.||84||Roberto ROLFO||ITA||Speed Master||ART||303.9||1’34.866||4.022 / 0.459|
|20.||77||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||304.6||1’34.918||4.074 / 0.052|
|21.||73||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Avintia Blusens||BQR||309.1||1’35.363||4.519 / 0.445|
|22.||71||Claudio CORTI||ITA||Avintia Blusens||Inmotec||300.0||1’36.531||5.687 / 1.168|