2011 MotoGP News
Marco Simoncelli surprised everyone, including himself, when he set pole during Saturday’s qualifying session in Catalunya, Round 5 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship. It was the Italian’s first-career pole in MotoGP.
Expected pole sitter, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, was disappointed in securing second position on the grid stating grip issues with the soft tire. From Simoncelli’s comments below he may have difficulty maintaining his qualifying prowess during the MotoGP race.
After Marco Simoncelli was given a ride through penalty for taking out Repsol Honda’s Dani Padrosa at Le mans, he’s been taking a lot of heat from his competitors for his perilous racing craft.
Will this Pole help Marco’s image as a wild rider? Not likely, he’ll need to win a few clean races to start gaining respect across the paddock.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda, Pole time 1′ 42.413) says: "It went well and I am much happier now than I have been for the past two weeks leading up to the Grand Prix. I was strong even though we had a few problems at the start of the session when I couldn’t push as hard as I would have liked. By the end we had solved the problems and I was able to ride really fast, although I never thought I would be able to set pole because Casey had been so fast in every session.
"I took a bit of a risk on the last lap trying to go faster and managed to save it, so finally my long legs have been good for something! Tomorrow won’t be easy because both Casey and Jorge have a fast race pace but I will try to stay with them. My first target is to finish the race, the second is to finish on the podium… you can guess the third!"
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda: 2nd position- 1m, 42.429) says: "I’m disappointed with qualifying, we had good pace and should have been able to go a lot faster on new tyres. In my first run of the session the bike wasn’t working so well, the tyres weren’t warming up as expected with that set-up and I had a lot less grip on the soft tyre, which we couldn’t understand why. We tried changing tyre pressure but it made it worse and we weren’t able to do anything with the last tyre which I’m very frustrated with because I almost did the same lap time with the soft and the hard tyre.
"Front row is obviously where we want to be but I’m annoyed as we spent the whole session working on the tyres and not improving the bike set-up. For tomorrow we’re confident with our race pace on hard tyres if the weather stays dry, it’s just upsetting to have a qualifying session like this."