Dani Pedrosa went fastest in a thrilling qualifying session at the Jerez circuit to take pole position for the Moto Gran Premio bwin de Espana. The 24 year-old’s time of 1’39.202 led a competitive MotoGP field in which the top ten riders were separated by less than 0.9s.
It was the Repsol Honda rider’s 23rd of 25 laps on board his factory RC212V that placed him at the head of the grid and sent the Spanish crowd into enthusiastic raptures, with the front row completed by fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) and Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner on the GP10.
Lorenzo had actually set a quicker time during the morning’s free practice but was unable to replicate with his best qualifying time eventually 0.285s off the pace of Pedrosa, with Stoner a further two-hundredths down the timesheet as he secured third spot.
Motorcycle racing 9-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) rode through the pain in his injured right shoulder to lead the second row, while Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) bravely bounced back from a big crash in free practice to qualify in fifth position, just two-thousandths behind Rossi. LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet completed the second row, as the top six all finished within 0.4s of one another.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies set the seventh and eighth quickest times respectively, with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) also inside the tightly packed top ten.
While the gaps at the front were small, competition in the midfield was also close with just 0.6 seconds separating Colin Edwards in seventh from Marco Simoncelli in sixteenth.
Bridgestone slick compounds were available as follows: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium
Dani Pedrosa was utilizing the hard compound front and soft compound rear slicks. Every other Moto GP rider, with the exception of Hector Barbera, set their fastest lap using the hard front and soft rear slicks. Barbera recorded his best on a harder rear.
The track temperature was markedly hotter during the qualifying session than it was for the morning’s free practice, which really tested the temperature operating range of the Bridgestone slick tires.
Tohru Ubukata (Bridgestone Motorcycle Racing) says: "Today we have seen a good example of the wide range of conditions in which our tyres perform. In the morning’s free practice the track temperature was 32 degrees Celsius and both the harder and softer option rears performed well. Every rider used the hard compound front tires. In qualifying, the track temperature had risen to 49 degrees Celsius, and still the soft rear tire proved to be the fastest option so I am happy with the performance of our improved rear slick tire compounds."
"The fastest time from qualifying was just over a tenth slower than the best from free practice this morning, but looking at the times we can see that every rider except Jorge and Andrea went faster in qualifying despite the extra heat. We can also see that the gaps separating the field are smaller than they were from qualifying last year and I am also pleased to see this."
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team – 1’39.202
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team – 1’39.487
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team – 1’39.511
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’39.558
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’39.560
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP – 1’39.591
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’39.970
8. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1’39.989
9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team – 1’40.021
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini – 1’40.027
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP – 1’40.206
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP – 1’40.322
13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP – 1’40.416
14. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team – 1’40.482
15. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team – 1’40.555
16. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini – 1’40.586
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team – 1’40.803
Weather: Dry. Ambient 25°C; Track 47-49°C (Bridgestone measurement)
As well, the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix has announced new changes to the 2010 regulations. The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Messrs Vito Ippolito (FIM President), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Sports Director), and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on May 01 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), decided to introduce the following amendment to the Road Racing World Championship Grand
Moto GP Motorcycle Racing Regulations (Immediate Application): The penalty for infringement to the engine durability rules in MotoGP (6 engines per season) before the race has been amended as follows: The rider will start the race from the pit lane 10 seconds (instead of 20 seconds) after the start of the race.
The Jerez MotoGP race takes place at 2pm local time on Sunday.