MotoGP: Grip Becomes a Factor for Qualifying Down Under at Phillip Island and the Australian GP

10/17/2009 @ 10:39 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS


MotoGP action comes from the land down under this weekend, taking to the Australian track of Phillip Island. Treading on the home turf of Casey Stoner, fans will surely be treated to some good racing from the come-back kid. Stoner will have to show his strength has returned though, as both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are looking for as many Championship points now that the MotoGP is getting closer to its conclusion.

Casey Stoner found his way to the front of the pack today, but only just barely. Trailing Stoner by only .05 seconds, Valentino Rossi will start from the second position on the grid. Dani Pedrosa, who completes the front row, also had a strong showing in the qualifying session, and finished only .679 seconds behind Stoner.

For the first time this year, Jorge Lorenzo will not be on the front-row, perhaps due to the fact the Spaniard and his crew were recovering from a bout of food-poisoning. Lorenzo will have to work his way to the front if he wants to keep his Championship hopes alive.

Many riders have been battling grip issues at the Australian track, which caught Ducati rider Niccolo Canepa off-guard. Canepa, who injured his arm in yesterday’s practice, had to undergo a skin graft and will miss tomorrow’s race. He is also expected to miss next week’s race in Malaysia. Stoner also complained of grip issues saying:

“We don’t have the same grip levels that we have had the last two years here. With the stiffer chassis which we have now it works very well at some circuits but not so well at others. So we have lost that advantage. We definitely have more corner speed but we are spinning a lot as we come out of corners and we can’t get it to hook up so we’re working a lot on the rear end. We’ve shortened the bike, we’ve changed some of the pivot positions, we’ve dropped the riding height, all sorts of things, but we are still searching for something for tomorrow. The warm-up session is going to be very important.”

Stoner will be looking for his third PI victory in a row tomorrow. After his strong showing in Estoril, we wouldn’t count him out, but Stoner himself is hedging his bets.

“It would be nice to win but if you get too hopeful of things they normally don’t happen. So we’re just going to see what we can do, try to play it as smart as we can in the race and come home and finish it. Then if we win obviously that is fantastic.”

Stay tuned tomorrow as 25 more Championship points will be up for grabs, and only 3 races remain in the MotoGP Championship series.

Results from Qualifying at the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Australia:

PosNo.RiderBikeTimeDiffDiff. to Prev.
127Casey STONERDUCATI1’30.341
246Valentino ROSSIYAMAHA1’30.3910.0500.050
33Dani PEDROSAHONDA1’31.0700.7290.679
499Jorge LORENZOYAMAHA1’31.0710.7300.001
55Colin EDWARDSYAMAHA1’31.0960.7550.025
615Alex DE ANGELISHONDA1’31.2600.9190.164
769Nicky HAYDENDUCATI1’31.3250.9840.065
814Randy DE PUNIETHONDA1’31.3801.0390.055
936Mika KALLIODUCATI1’31.3841.0430.004
104Andrea DOVIZIOSOHONDA1’31.4721.1310.088
1124Toni ELIASHONDA1’31.6401.2990.168
1252James TOSELANDYAMAHA1’31.7221.3810.082
1365Loris CAPIROSSISUZUKI1’31.8731.5320.151
1433Marco MELANDRIKAWASAKI1’32.1901.8490.317
157Chris VERMEULENSUZUKI1’32.3381.9970.148
1641Gabor TALMACSIHONDA1’32.7522.4110.414