It is a tall-order to beat the rapid-succession qualifying we had at the German GP, which saw a stream of riders dropping pole-position laps one-after-another for nearly 5 minutes straight – but this is Mugello, and the MotoGP riders hate to disappoint when they are in Italy. With perfect racing conditions, the qualifying session had its fair share of crashes, fast laps, and surprise moments. Featuring three manufacturers on the front row, and three manufacturers on the second row, the Italian GP is also shaping up to be a good race, for all the parties involved.
It was Jorge Lorenzo who set the early pace, as the Spaniard dropped a record-setting lap time in the opening minutes of qualifying. The Yamaha Racing rider would be unable to defend his position though, as in the closing minutes Lorenzo’s bike cutout with an electrical issue, robbing the Spanish rider of an opportunity to answer one storming Dani Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda RC213V.
The only man able to match Lorenzo’s “butter” pace, Pedrosa will start on pole and is a heavy favorite for Sunday’s race. Absent from the front though was Casey Stoner, who complained of not having the setup this weekend. Stoner will start from the second row, and hopes to mitigate any damages Mugello might have on his Championship defense.
Rounding out the front row is Hector Barbara, who made his first front row qualifying appearance in his MotoGP career. Usually one to follow the faster riders, the satellite Ducati rider to his credit not only embarrassed the Ducati Corse factory team, but did it on his own and without a draft. Barbara’s quick lap bumped Nicky Hayden down to the fourth position, while Valentino Rossi languished in 10th, as the Italian experienced chatter on the softer tire compound.
Crashing mid-session, Cal Crutchlow will round out the second row. Pipping his teammate in the closing lap, Crutchlow is showed good speed for spending time in the kitty litter. He clearly has a point to make to the Yamaha factory team, as well as Ducati Corse, which is setting on a contract for the young Brit.
Ben Spies also had a tumble, which cost him his only soft front tire. The fastest CRT of the day was Aleix Espargaro, who has taken over as being the resident fast-man on the Aspar team, as teammate Randy de Puniet trails him by just 0.06 seconds.
Qualifying Results from the Italian GP at Mugello, Italy:
|1||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||342.5||1’47.284||-|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||342.7||1’47.423||0.139|
|3||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||342.1||1’47.545||0.261|
|4||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||343.4||1’47.671||0.387|
|5||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||338.6||1’47.689||0.405|
|6||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||340.2||1’47.749||0.465|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||339.1||1’47.751||0.467|
|8||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||339.2||1’47.857||0.573|
|9||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||340.4||1’48.149||0.865|
|10||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||341.8||1’48.502||1.218|
|11||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||338.6||1’48.894||1.610|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||327.7||1’49.387||2.103|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||326.7||1’49.450||2.166|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||321.5||1’50.263||2.979|
|15||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||318.7||1’50.610||3.326|
|16||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||320.2||1’50.812||3.528|
|17||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||318.7||1’50.953||3.669|
|18||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||319.2||1’51.242||3.958|
|19||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||325.9||1’51.348||4.064|
|20||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||303.3||1’51.473||4.189|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved