MotoGP: Qualifying Heats Up Under the Catalan Sun

06/14/2009 @ 2:41 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

jorge-lorenzo-qualifying-catalunya

It was a close qualify session in the outskirts of Barcelona today, but at the end of the day Jorge Lorenzo pulled a squeaker of a session on Valentino Rossi to take the pole in front of his home crowd.

Wearing special livery for the day, which paid homage to Barcelona FC (the local soccer team), Lorenzo lapped a 1’41.974 on the Catalan track, just .013 seconds quicker than Rossi’s best effort. This news surely pleased Team Fiat-Yamaha, as once again they’ll have a 1-2 start on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Lorenzo can expect a strong fight from Rossi who has never been off the podium at the Circuit de Catalunya (of course, he’d never lost at Mugello in the last 7 years either). Lorenzo can also expect Casey Stoner, who qualified third, to be a factor on Sunday as well. Stoner was only half a second behind Lorenzo in the qualifying session.

Randy de Puniet must have found the extra motivation he needs from the Playboy bunnies. Ever since the start of the season, where Playboy made their sponsorhip with LCR Honda, the French rider has looked very strong on the track, and has been the fastest Honda more than once. De Puniet will start just ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who crashed midway through the MotoGP qualifying session.

Pedrosa has been recovering from a hip injury, and will require pain-killer injections before the race in order to ride. We wouldn’t count Dani out. With his rabbit starts, the Repsol Honda rider could easily overcome his third row start, and we all know the Spaniard will feel the extra energy to perform well in front of his countrymen. If Pedrosa finds his way to the front of the pack in the first lap, he could very well give the other riders a run for their money, and take the day.

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff. Prev.
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1’41.974
2 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1’41.987 0.013 0.013
3 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 1’42.426 0.452 0.439
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1’42.594 0.620 0.168
5 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1’43.139 1.165 0.545
6 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1’43.168 1.194 0.029
7 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1’43.175 1.201 0.007
8 3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1’43.207 1.233 0.032
9 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 1’43.233 1.259 0.026
10 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 1’43.336 1.362 0.103
11 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 1’43.365 1.391 0.029
12 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1’43.411 1.437 0.046
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1’43.414 1.440 0.003
14 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 1’43.422 1.448 0.008
15 59 Sete GIBERNAU DUCATI 1’43.714 1.740 0.292
16 72 Yuki TAKAHASHI HONDA 1’43.777 1.803 0.063
17 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 1’43.792 1.818 0.015
18 88 Niccolo CANEPA DUCATI 1’43.991 2.017 0.199
19 41 Gabor TALMACSI HONDA 1’45.833 3.859 1.842