The 21-rider grid returned to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain Saturday for qualifying ahead of the Aragon Grand Prix, round 14 of 18 in the 2012 MotoGP Championship.
And unlike Friday’s practice sessions that were plagued by heavy rainstorms, Saturday’s qualifying was held under dry conditions.
And for the fifth time this season, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo will start from the pole position. The 2010 MotoGP Champion posted a 1:49.404 to take the lead spot, finishing 0.088 of a second ahead of fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), and 0.172 ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.
Lorenzo began slowly during the hour-long qualifying session, but posted his best laps in the final minutes. Lorenzo’s qualifying lap was slower than the circuit record held at Aragon since joining the MotoGP schedule in 2009; the time 1:49.006 was set by Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner last season en-route to victory.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I feel happy, I really thought Cal would take pole position because his lap time was really quick but finally we managed to improve our lap time with the last qualifying tire. It’s important to be on the front row in pole position but tomorrow is what counts, we have to do a lot of laps and it’s going to be a long race. Let’s see how the weather is, we all hope it’s not going to rain, it’s much better if it’s dry.”
The two men joining Lorenzo on the front row – Pedrosa and Crutchlow – both suffered crashes during qualifying, but were able to remount and put in some impressive lap times.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies heads the second row in fourth, after the American put in another strong performance, which he will undoubtedly look to carry over into tomorrow’s race. Alongside him in fifth is LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who was fastest out of the blocks in qualifying, yet could not maintain the pace of the factory machines and Crutchlow’s satellite Yamaha. Sixth place is occupied by Tech 3′s Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian almost seven-tenths off his British teammate.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner stand-in Jonathan Rea continued his improvement in form as he leads the third row in seventh place, seeming more and more comfortable on the factory Honda. To his right, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi starts in eighth, with the Italian not finding the pace he displayed two weeks ago in Misano, and suffering a front-end fold half way through the session.
His teammate Nicky Hayden qualified in ninth, after having also crashed in the final minutes, in front of Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá. Top CRT performer was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who got within 1.7s of the top time and beat San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who was clearly struggling with his satellite RC213V. Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez fell at turn 14, the same place as Pedrosa, but like the other crashers was able to walk away.
2012 Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Results:
|1.||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||334.4||1’49.404|
|2.||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||338.4||1’49.492||0.088 / 0.088|
|3.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||333.4||1’49.576||0.172 / 0.084|
|4.||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||332.1||1’49.748||0.344 / 0.172|
|5.||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||336.2||1’50.034||0.630 / 0.286|
|6.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||333.7||1’50.241||0.837 / 0.207|
|7.||56||Jonathan REA||GBR||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||333.8||1’50.410||1.006 / 0.169|
|8.||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||336.1||1’50.949||1.545 / 0.539|
|9.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||331.9||1’51.013||1.609 / 0.064|
|10.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||335.7||1’51.072||1.668 / 0.059|
|11.||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||315.3||1’51.082||1.678 / 0.010|
|12.||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||332.2||1’51.155||1.751 / 0.073|
|13.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||317.3||1’51.459||2.055 / 0.304|
|14.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||332.2||1’51.521||2.117 / 0.062|
|15.||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||317.8||1’52.606||3.202 / 1.085|
|16.||54||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||314.0||1’52.638||3.234 / 0.032|
|17.||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||314.2||1’52.853||3.449 / 0.215|
|18.||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||314.5||1’53.140||3.736 / 0.287|
|19.||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||309.9||1’53.233||3.829 / 0.093|
|20.||77||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||314.9||1’53.719||4.315 / 0.486|
|21.||44||David SALOM||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||308.5||1’55.290||5.886 / 1.571|