2012 Aragon MotoGP Saturday Post-Qualifying Press Releases
Press releases after Saturday's qualifying session for the MotoGP class at Motorland Aragon:
Lorenzo Delivers with Pole in Aragon
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo emerged the victor in an intense qualifying battle today, securing the pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Aragon at the Motorland circuit. The Championship leader started the first dry session of the weekend quite slowly, gradually picking up the pace to join the battle between his team mate Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa for the top spot. It was with his last fresh tyre just three laps from the end of the session that Lorenzo delivered, putting down a 1’49.404 lap to secure pole 0.088 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. The pole is his fifth of the season.
Texan Spies threatened to make it an all Yamaha front row this afternoon, consistently battling with the top three and briefly taking the top spot on the timesheets. His fastest lap came just one lap before the end of the session, delivering a 1’49.748 lap and missing the front row by just 0.172 seconds.
Position : 1st Time: 1'49.404 Laps: 22
“I feel happy, I really thought Cal would take pole position because his lap time was really quick but finally we managed to improve our lap time with the last qualifying tyre. It’s important to be on the front row in pole position but tomorrow is what counts, we have to do a lot of laps and it’s going to be a long race. Let’s see how the weather is, we all hope it’s not going to rain, it’s much better if it’s dry.”
Position : 4th Time: 1'49.748 Laps: 24
“In the end we weren’t too far off the fastest guys. The session was quite tricky in the beginning, very slippery in parts and quite different to when we tested here. In the end we did an ok job, we didn’t make a perfect qualifying session but honestly speaking after seeing some of the crashes I was probably being a bit cautious. It was the first dry session of the weekend so it’s quite hard to go full speed that quickly. The bike is working well so a good warm up tomorrow morning and we’ll be ready for the race.”
“A very important pole position, circumstances were very difficult because it was slippery and cold so in the beginning we weren’t so fast. We knew what times we had achieved in the test but it was important not to lose concentration and make a mistake today.”
“We wrapped up today with pole which is always a great result. I think the test we had here was very helpful, this makes our work a lot easier this weekend. The only thing that could have been sweeter today would have been to have Ben on the front row too. Ben has a good set up so let’s hope tomorrow will be dry.”
Front row start for birthday boy Pedrosa and impressive 7th for Rea
The Repsol Honda Team will face the Aragón Grand Prix tomorrow with Dani Pedrosa in second position and Jonathan Rea starting from seventh.
The qualifying session, the first dry session of the weekend, was intense for the Honda factory Team and resulted in a very good performance from both riders. Dani Pedrosa (1'49.492) starts from the front row for the eleventh time this season and missed the top place by just by 0.088 seconds. The Spaniard managed his timing perfectly in qualifying, securing a fast lap time working with only one bike and one front tyre due to an unexpected crash on his first run, when he lost the front in Turn 12.
Jonathan Rea took full advantage of his experience at this track (where he had a two day test with the Repsol Honda Team three weeks ago) to consistently improve his lap times and finish seventh with a fast lap of 1'50.410, just 1 second off the pole man.
DANI PEDROSA 2nd 1'49.492
"It's a very good result for us after all the issues we had! I'm really happy to be on the front row and so close to the pole position. After the crash I had at the beginning of the session - I guess due to cold tyres because I was not pushing at all - we only had one bike left with 50 minutes remaining. I lost some time there and when I went out with the second bike I realised that I had to remain calm because it was the only bike I had for the rest of qualifying and also the only front tyre. At the beginning, I was cautious trying to set a decent lap time and towards the end I just forgot about everything and pushed harder for the front row. We have a good position for the start, I just hope everything goes smoothly and we can have a gr eat race tomorrow in front of the home Spanish crowd".
JONATHAN REA 7th 1'50.410
"It was the first dry session of the weekend, I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this weather! Towards the end of the session we started to get going and find our rhythm, the lap time was ok and I see a few areas where I can improve, but we are closing the gap, now just a second from the pole time which I'm pleased with. In general I'm really happy with the bike and with the set up so hopefully tomorrow I can be closer to the front guys than I was in Misano. It looks like my last ride so I want to go out tomorrow and make every single lap count".
Crutchlow clinches front row at Motorland Aragon
Cal Crutchlow delivered a fantastic qualifying performance in cool and cloudy conditions at the Motorland Argon circuit this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider heading the timesheets for over half the session before securing a place on the front row of the grid for the sixth time in 2012.
The session started on a dry track, which gave Crutchlow and teammate Andrea Dovizioso their first opportunity to assess grip levels on Bridgestone's slick tyres after a rain-hit weekend.
With dark clouds threatening in the skies above, Crutchlow wasted no time in establishing a fast rhythm and he took control of the session shortly before the halfway mark with a lap of 1.50.322.
Crutchlow brilliantly built up his speed and he was the first rider to lap in the 1.49 bracket when a lap of 1.49.718 moved him over 0.6s clear of the pack with 15 minutes left on the clock. He held top spot until just over three minutes remained when his pace was bettered by Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
The British rider lowered his lap time to a 1.49.576 to finish just 0.172s off pole position. Today's result secured Crutchlow a place on the front row for the third race in succession ahead of tomorrow's 23-lap encounter. And today's qualifying session was the third in succession that Crutchlow, Lorenz o and Pedrosa have occupied the top three places.
The first dry session of the weekend gave Dovizioso the opportunity to focus on the dry race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine. The Italian was a consistent challenger for the top three for much of the session and with just five minutes remaining he looked well set to notch his third front row start of the campaign when he sat in third position on the leaderboard.
Dovizioso was able to set a best time of 1.50.241 that secured him a place on the second row in sixth position and he's confident he will be a leading contender for the rostrum in tomorrow's race.
Cal Crutchlow 3rd 1.49.576 – 23 laps:
“I think we did a very good job today to finis h on the front row when this session was the first time we have been able to work on the settings in the dry. My main aim for the session was to get the bike set-up for the race and immediately out of the box I was fast and all through the session I was able to steadily improve my pace. I'm confident going into tomorrow's race because the bike feels good, despite the fact that we missed a lot of dry track time, so credit to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did a fantastic job again. I thought we'd be struggling more because Jorge, Dani and Ben all tested here for two days recently, so to be so close to them shows we've done a great job. That is the third front row start on the bounce now but after Misano I have got to finish the race tomorrow. Hopefully it will be in the top three because it would be great to get another podium.”
Andrea Dovizioso 6th 1.50.241 – 25 laps:
“It has been a particular session this afternoon with quite tricky conditions as qualifying was the first dry session of the weekend and with the low temperatures we had to use the soft front tyre, which is normally unusual for this track and for my riding style. I can't push as hard as I would like while braking on corner entry, so we will probably use the hard option in the race tomorrow without having it tried before. I'm still really happy with my feeling with the bike. I could have been faster during the last run but I did just two of the five planned flying laps because I found some slower riders on track. I'm confident that I will be able to fight for the podium tomorrow, but it will be important to make a good start to stay with the leading group during the opening laps.”
Third row for Ducati Team in Aragon qualifying
Qualifying for the Aragon Grand Prix took place on a dry track in chilly, cloudy conditions, and Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished in eighth and ninth places, respectively, putting them both on the third row of tomorrow’s starting grid.
Rossi had a fall at mid-session and Hayden had one at the end, and although neither incident had any physical repercussions, the session was somewhat affected for both riders. They hope for a dry warm-up session tomorrow morning, to help them refine the Desmosedici’s setup.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th (1:50.949)
“This is a pretty difficult track. You spin a lot, and it's basically the opposite of Misano. Today went pretty well considering that the others tested here recently and that qualifying was basically the first normal session all weekend. Being on the third row isn’t great, but it’s not too bad either. Unfortunately, I fell about midway through the session, and that cost us some time. Tomorrow we’ll have to decide between a couple of setting options. Let’s hope that the warm-up session will be dry so that we’ll have the opportunity to improve the setup a little bit. Then in the race we’ll see what pace we’re actually able to do.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:51.013)
“It wasn’t a great day. It was hard to check much in the wet this morning, and I wanted to save some rain tyres for the afternoon just in case, so we didn’t do a lot of work. In qualifying, at times we weren’t too far off, but then when we put in my last tyre at the end, I lost the front in the middle of the last corner. I picked it up, but I was headed right for the wall. I just touched the brakes, and with slicks on wet grass, that was it. We certainly could have done without that, but luckily it wasn’t a big one. This was the first time I was able to really ride the new chassis in the dry, but I need more setup time with it. We’ll regroup and see what we come up with for tomorrow.”
FOURTH AND FITH ROW STARTS FOR BAUTISTA AND PIRRO AT ARAGON
The heavy grey clouds hanging over the Motorland circuit in Aragon held firm this afternoon to provide the first dry session of the weekend in qualifying. For Alvaro Bautista it proved to be his worst qualifying performance of the season, with the team having been denied the opportunity to find a good dry setting for the bike in free practice. Tomorrow's warm-up will be crucial for the Spaniard to make improvements and gain confidence ahead of what promises to be a tough race. It was a better day for his team-mate Michele Pirro, however, the Italian improving his feeling with the CRT bike and raising optimism within the tea of a good performance tomorrow.
Alvaro Bautista (12th 1’ 51” 155) “This afternoon was our only dry session so far and I didn't have a good feeling with the bike. I wasn't confident with the front and the rear was sliding around too much. We couldn't find a solution for qualifying and it was my worst one of the season so far. Hopefully tomorrow with dry track and higher temperatures we can find the confidence to put in a good performance.”
Michele Pirro (15th 1’ 52” 606) “Finally we had a dry session this afternoon and even though the conditions weren't perfect I was able to get back the feeling for the bike that I had lost in the wet. Our pace is good and if we can close the gap a little more to the top two CRTs we can have a good race tomorrow. We need a little more traction from the rear because at the moment I am struggling to put the power to the ground but I think we can make improvements and be more competitive tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “After such a great result at Misano today's qualifying was a disappointment for Alvaro. The three wet sessions so far have limited our opportunity to find a good setting for the bike and unfortunately he is struggling for confidence on the front and rear. Tomorrow with a bit of sunshine and some higher temperatures as well as some changes to the bike from the mechanics he should be able to improve his confidence in the warm-up and make up positions in the race. Michele managed to reduce the gap to the two CRTs in front of him and his pace gives us reason for optimism ahead of the race.”
BRADL 5th FASTEST AT ARAGON GP DRY QUALIFYING SESSION
Aragon, 29th September: LCR racer Stefan Bradl is looking in good shape riding his RC213V at Aragon GP finally dry qualifying session this afternoon occupying the 5th place ahead tomorrow’s 23-lap race.
After yesterday’s “weird” opening day the MotoGP action resumed on day two at the Spanish circuit with low temperatures and bad weather marking the riders preparations in this morning free session but Bradl demonstrated his wet riding ability setting the 5th lap time and repeating his strong performance even in the dry in the 60-minute qualifying session (1’50.034).
Stefan: “I am pretty satisfied about my qualifying because we lapped with a good pace since the beginning of the session. Unfortunately in one middle-session run I suffered a bit because of the front tyre: we were using the soft rubber the whole session but normally I prefer the hard one but in these cold conditions we thought the soft ones were the best choice. At the end I was trying to put the things together but it was not easy because the rear tyre dropped very fast so I was expecting to get one more position on the grid but P5 is good anyway”.
Disappointment after 7th place from morning session: Abaja in fifth row on the Grid at Aragon
Fourteenth place on tomorrow´s Aragon MotoGP grid – that´s the result of Saturday´s qualifying session for Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham. After outstanding 7th place in morning session and Friday´s ninth Karel is unsatisfied. With 1:51,521 Abraham lose 2,117 to the fastest Jorge Lorenzo.
“Morning wet session had been really good, but in the afternoon we rode on dry track for the first time and we had some problems with set up. We discussed some changes during my pit stop, but we couldn´t do them immediately. Even I tried to go faster and I was able to improve my lap time, we wasn´t able to move up in classification. Lot of rider, who had been behind me, did their best times in last lap and overtook me. I can´t be satisfied by this result after successful morning session. We are really curious about weather forecast.“
Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic
„Today morning – on the wet – it was very good, we made good lap time, Karel was happy with bike. Unfortunately we wasn´t so competitive on dry track in the qualifying session. We didn´t have any special problem with bike, Karel was pushing hard, but we couldn´t improve our times. Karel complained on the grip of rear tyre, so we try some changes in set up for tomorrow. But it will be very hard to get to the front from 5th row and especially the first lap will be very difficult. It will be better for us, if it rains tomorrow.
SIXTEENTH TIME FOR MATTIA PASINI IN THE QUALIFYING SESSION OF ARAGÓN GP
The starting grid of the MotoGP class for the Aragón Grand Prix was defined after today’s qualifying session.
In free practice n. 3, which was held on wet track, Pasini and his crew focused on the pace, in order to achieve a consistent rhythm and ensuring a continuous progression. Mattia improved his lap time of about seven tenths, compared to his best time on Friday.
On the other hand, the qualifying practice was held on dry track: most of the session, therefore, was used to work on the set-up of the ART machine, as there were no previous occasions to complete laps without rain during the weekend. Pasini ended with the sixteenth best time and tomorrow he will start from the sixth row on the starting grid.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 16th with 1'52.638
“I’m quite happy with this session, considering this was the first actual chance we had to complete laps without rain on top of my ART machine at this circuit, and to get to know it effectively. We worked hard during the qualifying practice, and we found a few small things we know we can focus on and try to improve. Now we’ll put together all the data we gathered and we’ll do our best in order to find a good setting for the race, so that we can try and finish the weekend with a positive result.”
ESPARGARÓ QUALIFIES AHEAD OF FACTORY PROTOTYPES AT ARAGON
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider just 1.6 seconds off pole in eleventh place with his team-mate De Puniet just two places and three tenths behind him
A heavy grey backdrop of menacing clouds greeted the MotoGP riders as they took to the Aragon circuit for qualifying practice this afternoon, making for an intense session from start to finish. An early crash for Dani Pedrosa showed just how keen the riders were to make headway and as Jorge Lorenzo struggled to find his pace it was Ben Spies who took initial control from Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow. Title contenders Lorenzo and Pedrosa gradually strengthened their challenge, however, and in an exciting finale for the local fans it was the former who sealed pole position by just 0.088 seconds at the chequered flag. Crutchlow will hope to do battle with the pair again tomorrow after qualifying on the front row in third place.
Randy De Puniet struck first in the battle of the CRT riders but it was his POWER ELECTRONICS team-mate Aleix Espargaró who would eventually emerge on top. The Spanish rider strung together an excellent sequence of laps in the 1'51s at the end of the session, a best effort of 1'51.082 enough for eleventh place on tomorrow's grid. With just 1.6 seconds separating him from pole position Aleix is relishing the prospect of his third home race of the season tomorrow. De Puniet's challenge was unfortunately halted by a late mechanical problem but the Frenchman knows he has the pace to take the fight to Aleix tomorrow.
11th Aleix Espargaró 1.51.082 (23 laps): "I am really happy with our performance today, it has been a fantastic weekend so far. We have been improving all season in the wet conditions and here we have taken another step forward. In the dry today I felt comfortable from the start and on my last run with the soft tyre I set three really fast laps. I think the lap time is impressive and I hope we can repeat it tomorrow. It will be a tough race because we haven't had chance to test the hard tyres due to the low temperatures, whilst the soft option goes off quickly. Hopefully the sun comes out tomorrow morning for warm-up so that we can make a choice for the race."
13th Randy De Puniet 1.51.459 (26 laps): "I am a bit annoyed because I felt I had a chance of the third or fourth row of the grid today. We have worked well, the lap times were quick and our pace was consistent. Unfortunately we had a problem with only a couple of laps remaining and it's a shame we didn't get chance to fight for that top CRT spot. Anyway, we have to stay positive and look on the bright side which is that it is better these things happen today rather than tomorrow. I am sure the mechanics will do a good job tonight and everything will be ready for us tomorrow to approach the race with confidence. Apart from that one incident my feeling in general with the bike is really good and I am sure we can have a good race tomorrow."
Lorenzo lands on pole position at Aragon
Round 14: Aragon Grand Prix – Qualifying Practice
Aragon, Saturday 29 September 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Wet. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 15-16°C (Bridgestone measurement)
QP - Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 16-17°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo rode his Yamaha Factory Racing M1 to pole position today at Aragon, the Spaniard’s time of 1’49.404 placing him in an ideal position to fight for a seventh win of the season.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa recovered well after a crash early in the session to set a best lap just 0.088 seconds behind Lorenzo to qualify in second place, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow completes the front row after stopping the clocks just 0.084 seconds behind Pedrosa. Aleix Espargaro was another rider to excel on home soil, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider set a time of 1’51.082 to qualify in P11.
In qualifying all riders used the combination of soft option slicks front and rear to give themselves maximum warm-up performance and traction on a surface that still provided less than ideal grip. Tyre choice for the race is likely to see widespread use of the softer slicks on both ends of the bike, though some riders may opt for the harder front slick if temperatures are warmer tomorrow.
The riders will have a final chance to fine tune their bikes during tomorrow morning’s warm up session at 0940 local time (GMT +2) before the twenty-three lap race commences at 1400.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“After another wet session this morning the riders were finally able to take to the Aragon circuit in the dry for qualifying, although conditions were still less than favourable as track temperatures were quite cool – some twenty five degrees cooler than last year’s qualifying session. The low temperatures meant all riders preferred the softer front and rear slicks and with similar temperatures expected tomorrow, this will likely be the popular combination for the race. Some riders may assess the harder front slick in warm-up tomorrow to see if this option could provide any advantage for their particular riding style, but with the cool weather set to continue it is difficult to predict if any riders will select this option for the race.”
IN A DRY QUALIFYING SESSION HECTOR ACHIEVED THE TOP TEN AT THE MOTORLAND ARAGON
Positive qualifying session for Héctor Barberà and the Pramac Racing Team at the Motorland Aragon.
After three free practice sessions characterized by wet conditions, the rain gives all the MotoGP riders a break, just in time for the qualifying session to decide the starting grid for tomorrow’s 23 laps race.
During the sixty-minute qualifying, Héctor was able to achieve a good 10th place, putting in a big effort and improving his confidence with the bike lap after lap.
Tomorrow the Pramac Racing Team will use the twenty-minute warm up to refine the best bike set up, helping Héctor to improve also his confidence.
Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider – 10th place in 1’51.072
“I would like to explain my feelings after this tough period, but it’s too difficult. Probably only a rider may be able to understand me. Getting back to the track after six-week absence it seems like getting back aboard on the bike after the winter break!
Despite that I’m confident about tomorrow’s race because I’m feeling better lap after lap and I was able to improve also my best lap time, as consequence.”
Marco Rigamonti – Track Engineer Pramac Racing Team –
“Héctor struggled to find the right confidence with the bike, but after several runs (to test especially himself) he was able to display his riding ability and I’m sure that tomorrow we can achieve a positive result”.
Positive qualifying for Edwards at Aragon
The weather forecast predicted heavy rain during today’s MotoGP qualifying but the session ended up taking place in dry conditions, turning of all the plans of NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team, that in the other sessions had found a good wet setting of the bike.
Colin Edwards’s 17th position shows the progress made with the electronics setting, allowing the American rider to find a good race pace with today’s lap times.
Colin Edwards – 17th (1´52.853)
“In all reality we have a good rain setting and its good that we have been able to get in a few laps in the dry before the race. We have made some changes in the electronics and they feel pretty good. Tomorrow we will be working on the chassis to try and work on making the bike turn in a way that feels more natural, to make it smoother.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“Like at Misano, the first dry session of the weekend was the qualifying session but thanks to the data obtained in wet conditions we were able to have a good bike setting and provide Colin a competitive bike. He seemed to like the electronics right away, he claims this is the best he has had so far this Season. We have a few CRTs behind us and we are close to others. Tomorrow morning we will test little modifications that might be just what we need in order to close the gap.”