Pedrosa Breaks Records en Route to Catalunya MotoGP Pole

Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Qualifying Results

When the free practice sessions got underway Friday for Catalunya MotoGP, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa couldn’t quite hang with the leader Valentino Rossi.

But during Saturday’s practices, the Spaniard found a better setup for his RC213V, able to eventually dominate the fourth and final free practice. Pedrosa continued this momentum into qualifying, breaking a few records along the way to earning the pole position for Sunday’s MotoGP. This was Pedrosa’s second consecutive pole in 2013 MotoGP, the other arriving at Mugello two weeks ago.

Pedrosa set a new fastest lap at Catalunya of 1:40.893, destroying Casey Stoner’s record set in 2008 aboard the Ducati. Pedrosa also set a new fastest speed at the circuit – 212.75 mph.

Joining Pedrosa on the front row for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Catalunya will be Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning MotoGP Champion.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I am very happy, because we put in a great lap and took a great qualifying time. It was a fantastic pole position for me.

“We also broke the circuit record and were able to do so in front of the home fans. I am also happy about improving our race pace, as this is the most important thing. We hope to put on a good show tomorrow and take full advantage of the front row start.”

Pedrosa’s performance also puts him in the most optimal position when starting his 200th Grand Prix Sunday. And it’s going to be tough for those behind to catch him, considering Pedrosa led Crutchlow by 0.608 of a second and Lorenzo by 0.673 of a second.

Lorenzo had some clutch issues early in the session, but swapped out his bike to make it to the front row in the final moments of Qualifying 2.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m very disappointed because today we had a problem with the clutch in a crucial moment and this lap time was the best I could do. I also had not so much confidence on the front to make a perfect lap.

“We hope for race distance we can remain constant and fight for the win. We will need to be strong and concentrate for the whole race; we don’t know what can happen in the 20th lap.”

Heading up the second row is GO & FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was involved in the controversial, first-lap crash at Mugello that caused a DNF for him and Rossi.

Bautista finished ahead of Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and the rider who led Free Practice 3 Saturday morning, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. The Rookie Marquez was the final rider to finish within a second of Pedrosa at Catalunya MotoGP qualifying; Marquez finished 0.949 of a second back.

Nine-time World Champion Rossi will start from the top of the third row. He struggled finding grip, and was 1.066 off Pedrosa’s time.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We worked hard today; it’s not so bad but unfortunately we are not able to start from a better position on the grid.

“We tried everything but I still don’t have the maximum feeling to improve a bit more. The race tomorrow is going to be very interesting because of the tire choice and the rhythm. There are four or five riders who are very fast and very constant so we hope to do a good start and good first laps to stay with the top guys and check our performance.”

Rossi will be joined on the third row by Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Ducati Team’s Alvaro Bautista.

The top CRT bike will be the Power Electronic’s Aspar piloted by Aleix Espargaro, who has been the top CRT finisher in the five opening rounds of 2013 MotoGP.

Just as Friday and Saturday, the temperatures are expected to be extremely hot once again Sunday. This means tire choice will be everything at round six of 18, and harder tires will likely be the chose by all riders.

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Qualifying Results:

126Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda339.31’40.893
235Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha336.31’41.5010.608 / 0.608
399Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha336.41’41.5660.673 / 0.065
419Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda339.51’41.7140.821 / 0.148
569Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati341.51’41.8000.907 / 0.086
693Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda342.41’41.8420.949 / 0.042
746Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha336.11’41.9591.066 / 0.117
829Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati338.71’41.9631.070 / 0.004
94Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati337.61’42.0531.160 / 0.090
106Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda339.91’42.0901.197 / 0.037
1138Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha330.21’42.5481.655 / 0.458
1241Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART324.41’42.8781.985 / 0.330

314Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART319.21’43.1860.579 / 0.526
451Michele PIRROITAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati331.81’43.3300.723 / 0.144
58Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR318.51’43.6591.052 / 0.329
65Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki318.91’43.9831.376 / 0.324
717Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART320.91’44.3621.755 / 0.379
89Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter317.31’44.3691.762 / 0.007
971Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki319.31’44.6031.996 / 0.234
1070Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM322.01’44.6302.023 / 0.027
1168Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART318.91’44.9132.306 / 0.283
1267Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda317.21’45.4412.834 / 0.528
1352Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter313.21’46.3023.695 / 0.861
1477Javier DEL AMORSPAAvintia BlusensFTR309.41’48.9526.345 / 2.650