MotoGP: Mixed Weather for Qualifying at Jerez

04/28/2012 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

With rain in all three of MotoGP’s Free Practice Sessions at Jerez, qualifying for the Spanish GP was unsurprisingly shaped by the weather. Getting a dry track with damp sections, riders were able to go out initially on slicks, though mid-way through it looked like rain could cut short the chance for lap-time improvements. The weather more or less cooperated though, only interrupting the qualifying briefly, though it did help make for some interesting results, with more than a few riders caught sliding along the asphalt.

The highlight of qualifying was surely the closing minutes, as Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa traded lap times back and forth for the pole position. With Lorenzo just edging out Pedrosa in the last two laps, the Spanish duo will be set to continue their battle with each other tomorrow. A second back from the pace of the factory Yamaha and factory Honda, Nicky Hayden rode an impressive session on his factory Ducati, and just squeaked ahead of British rider Cal Crutchlow, who looked to be a contender for the pole spot for most of the session.

Getting a front row start at the Qatar GP, Crutchlow has been shining star in Yamaha, and once again has bested factory rider Ben Spies, as well as teammate Andrea Dovizioso. With Spies’s spot on the factory Yamaha MotoGP team coming under serious question with the latest results, the American has to improve his position in the Yamaha ranks if he wants to keep his seat come contract renewal time. With Crutchlow looking to move out of the satellite unit, and Dovi moving to Tech 3 expressly to make an audition for the factory team, the inter-Yamaha rivalry is heating up nicely.

Making an embarrassment out of the Ducatis of Karel Abraham, Hector Barbera, and Valentino Rossi, the CRT effort of Randy de Puniet on the Aprilia ART made a Top 10 qualifying position. Decimating Colin Edwards on the BMW/Suter, de Puniet will be the CRT rider to watch on Sunday, with the question being how many prototype bike scalps he can collect in the process.

One of the scalps that is certainly up for grabbing is surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, Valentino Rossi’s, who excelled with the Ducati in wet conditions, but continues to flounder during dry ones. Unable to ride the GP12 the way he wants to, Rossi’s pace has brought about some talk as to whether the Italian is sandbagging his results in order to push Ducati in a direction that will see the Italian factory incorporate features the Italian rider has requested — one of which is an engine with a more usable power band (the GP12 is widely regarded as having the most aggressive engine in the paddock).

How much of that talk is grounded in truth is left to speculation, but The Doctor’s results certainly are not impressive, especially considering the pace of his teammate and satellite rivals. With more rain expected for Sunday’s race though, VR46 fans may still have some hope in salvaging the race weekend.

Qualifying Results from the Spanish GP at Jerez, Spain:

1Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha282.11’39.532
2Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda283.51’39.6670.135
3Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati282.31’40.5631.031
4Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha281.71’40.5701.038
5Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda285.91’40.5771.045
6Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha280.91’41.0901.558
7Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha284.01’41.1801.648
8Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda286.91’41.4471.915
9Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda287.31’41.5502.018
10Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART265.61’41.7002.168
11Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati284.21’41.7242.192
12Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati288.81’41.8712.339
13Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati282.31’42.9613.429
14Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART267.71’43.1353.603
15Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR268.21’43.3633.831
16Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART266.51’44.3084.776
17Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR269.51’44.4674.935
18Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda257.41’44.6455.113
19Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR261.41’44.7175.185
20James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART264.81’45.7246.192
21Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter264.51’46.2006.668

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Westward

    I am surprised to see Hayden and Crutchlow ahead of Spies and Stoner. Abraham ahead of Barbara is also interesting…

    However, if Hayden can push that bike into third and under a second of the pace setters, I would think Rossi under actual race conditions should fair better than thirteenth… If the numbers are a true reflection of pace for Stoner, Spies, and Dovizioso, then maybe Rossi could make the rostrum…

  • 76

    Should be a good race no matter if its dry or wet, lets just hope its one or the other, mixed conditions is not only dangerous its annoying. You can tell each rider is on pins and needles the entire time, should be some good passing seeing as the grid has become such a mixed bag. I think Lorenzo is going to be tough to beat here but I’m sure Stoner will show up sooner or later in the race, wet race its Lorenzo.

  • My admiration for Hayden just goes up as I see VR struggling to stay in the top 15. Rostrum for Rossi? Maybe if it snows …