Stoner: 4th Pole at Sachsenring MotoGP

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2012 German Grand Prix Qualifying Results

For the fourth time this season, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner ousted the MotoGP grid to take the pole position, his latest arriving at Sachsenring circuit Saturday afternoon.

Although the forecast called for sunny condition, rain plagued the German track for most of the hour-long session. During the heavy downpours, home favorite Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) was the man to beat, though Stoner and teammate Dani Pedrosa followed him on the timsheets.

But during the final eight minutes of the session, the rain stopped, and many other riders would take the top times, including Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.

But it would be Stoner who would set the quickest time of 1:31.796 to take the pole position, though this time is far off the track record of 1:21.846 set by Pedrosa last season en route to the race win. Joining Stoner on the front row for Sunday’s German Grand Prix is Spies and Pedrosa.

This is Stoner’s fourth pole of the season, including his others at Estoril, Catalunya and last week’s round in Assen, which he won.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It was actually a very difficult session. We started off well and then we switched to our number one bike with a completely different set up and that felt a lot better. On the first lap, I matched my best time I did on my second bike, then unfortunately on the second lap the engine gave up. We’re not too sure what happened, if it was something electrical or if some water got in there, but we’ll find out later.

“This put us on the back foot a little because as soon as we came back and got the tyres ready on the second bike, it started to rain hard again so we knew we wouldn’t be able to get a better lap time in those conditions. We decided to wait for later in the session as we knew we wouldn’t have much hope unless the conditions improved a little, and luckily they did. It ended up being a really good day for us and we’ll see what we’re capable of tomorrow.”

Spies, who has struggled throughout this season, would qualify 0.193 of a second behind Stoner.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It’s been strange today, we’ve struggled in the rain a lot in the past, especially at this track in the last couple of years but I had a good feeling in the wet yesterday.

“I was honestly a bit lost in the last ten minutes of qualifying, my lap timer quit working so I didn’t know what times I was doing and what my splits were. I just rode off of what I thought was quick and saw P1 on my board a couple of times. In the end I just gave it some stick and hoped I would get on the front row! Great work by the guys to deliver a good bike for the conditions too.”

As for the man who has won at Sachsenring five times across all classes, Pedrosa finished 0.285 of a second behind Stoner.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I’m very happy with this qualifying session. It was difficult, especially at the beginning as it was raining very hard and we had so much water on the asphalt, it was difficult to stop the bike spinning and aquaplaning.

“It was crucial to be ready at the end when the rain stopped because everybody was improving their lap times and in one lap you could be first or sixth.
I’m very happy because in the past in these kind of sessions we didn’t get a good result. But this time, I was more confident every lap and we made it; I thought I got the pole in my last flying lap, but anyway to be at the front is key in Sachsenring.

“Yesterday we also had a good feeling in the dry, and it looks like we will have a dry race tomorrow, so it will be important to make the right choice on tires and try the hard compound in the warm up to compare with the soft we tried on Friday.”

Heading up the second row is Crutchlow, the Brit qualifying ahead of Lorenzo. The 2010 MotoGP Champion Lorenzo was one of a few riders to complete the most laps during qualifying, but admittedly made a mistake by using up too much of his Bridgestone tires before the final “hot” laps began. Taking the final spot on the second row in sixth is Bradl.

The top Ducati rider was Hayden, who will begin the Sachsenring MotoGP from seventh on top of the third row. Joining the American will be Crutchlow’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Ducati Team GP12 rider once again upset his fans, considering he usually has better setups than most in the wet conditions.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró completes the top ten after a great outing on his ART machine, qualifying as the top CRT bike. Because of the penalty obtained after his crash in the last race in Assen, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid.

Also missing from the 21-rider grid is Cardion AB Racing Ducati’s Karel Abraham, who was not fit to race due to finger injury sustained during Aragon MotoGP testing. The man who will substitute for Abraham at Sachsenring, Ducati Team test rider Franco Battaini, qualified last in 21st.

The tricky conditions caught out many of the riders, which saw San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá crash out. Most of them managed to re-join later in the session and sustained no serious injuries.

2012 Sachsenring MotoGP Qualifying Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 271.2 1’31.796
2. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 276.6 1’31.989 0.193 / 0.193
3. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 271.0 1’32.081 0.285 / 0.092
4. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 273.8 1’32.288 0.492 / 0.207
5. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 276.4 1’32.381 0.585 / 0.093
6. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 269.7 1’32.510 0.714 / 0.129
7. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 272.7 1’32.795 0.999 / 0.285
8. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 272.8 1’33.205 1.409 / 0.410
9. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 273.1 1’33.217 1.421 / 0.012
10. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 263.5 1’33.900 2.104 / 0.683
11. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 260.7 1’34.088 2.292 / 0.188
12. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 263.5 1’34.542 2.746 / 0.454
13. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 252.8 1’34.649 2.853 / 0.107
14. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 259.6 1’34.651 2.855 / 0.002
15. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 256.6 1’34.938 3.142 / 0.287
16. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 250.1 1’35.590 3.794 / 0.652
17. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 257.8 1’35.595 3.799 / 0.005
18. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 259.1 1’35.962 4.166 / 0.367
19. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 256.4 1’36.183 4.387 / 0.221
20. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 253.7 1’36.355 4.559 / 0.172
21. 2 Franco BATTAINI ITA Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 254.1 1’36.438 4.642 / 0.083