2011 Estoril MotoGP: Qualifying Results

Portugal MotoGP

I’ve become a sucker for MotoGP live timing. I actually set my clock to wake up, get a cup of coffee, and settle in at the computer to watch time charts.

It seems to be the modern day equivalent to radio. It’s actually quite entertaining merely watching the charts, with updated information coming in every few laps, with position changes, progress, best laps, etc.

All in absolute silence. It’s easy to conjure the action in the imagination and it provides an entertaining way to spectate without waking up your significant other.

Saturday, April 30, Estoril, Portugal. It’s 7 a.m. Pacific time and qualifying just finished. Italy’s wild-haired Marco Simoncelli got things moving early in the session aboard his San Carlo/Gresini Honda, immediately getting up to speed with a lap that had him atop the charts for the better part of the session.

Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning World Champion stayed close, and in the closing laps, as the softer rubber came out, put his Factory Yamaha on pole with a 1:37.161 lap.

American Ben Spies consistently pulled himself into third spot on several occasions, steadily improving his laps and looking to secure a front row start for tomorrow’s race. But in the final laps the popular Texan was overtaken first by Dani Pedrosa of Spain-aboard the Repsol Honda (third)-and then Australia’s Casey Stoner (fourth), also on a Repsol Honda, bumping Spies back to fifth. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy), the third rider on the powerful Repsol Honda team put himself into sixth to round out the second row on the grid.

The Texas Tornado, Colin Edwards, was strong throughout the session, slotting his Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha into seventh spot on the grid.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, and most impressive ride-given he’d only put his tires to the Estoril pavement for the first time yesterday in qualifying-was put in by rookie Cal Crutchlow, the British rider culled from World Superbike, riding the second Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha. This speaks volumes about the man’s ability to learn tracks quickly.

Fan favorite, and Ducati superstar, Valentino Rossi rounds out the third row, qualifying ninth. The Italian has surfaced with a more positive attitude about his nagging shoulder injury, intimating that perhaps he’s feeling less of a hindrance from the old motocross training injury.

Row four will be headed up by Spain’s Hector Barbera, aboard the Mapfre Aspar Ducati, alongside Japan’s Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo/Gresini Honda), and the Czech Republic’s Karel Abraham on the AB Motoracing Ducati.

Nicky Hayden will start from row five tomorrow, which he shares with Italian veteran Loris Capirossi on the Pramac Ducati, and Spain’s Alvaro Bautista on the lone Rizla Suzuki.

The last two spots on the grid will host France’s Randy de Puniet, on the second Pramac Ducati, and next to him is Spain’s Toni Elias, on the LCR Honda.

Just for the record, Dani Pedrosa holds the lap record for the Esotril Circuit, a time of 1’36.937, which he set in 2009.

2011 MotoGP: Estoril, Portugal Qualifying Results:

Row 1
Pole: Jorge Lorenzo 1’37.161
Marco Simoncelli 1’37.294
Dani Pedrosa 1’37.324

Row 2
Casey Stoner 1’37’384
Ben Spies 1’37.866
Andrea Divisioso 1’38.073

Row 3
Colin Edwards 1’38.080
Cal Crutchlow 1’38.189
Valentino Rossi 1’38.271

Row 4
Hector Barbera 1’38.363
Hiroshi Aoyama 1’38.497
Karel Abraham 1’38.786

Row 5
Nicky Hayden 1’38.922
Loris Capirossi 1’38.934
Alvaro Bautista 1’39.172

Row 6
Randy de Puniet 1’39.378
Toni Elias 1’39.894