Considering it is August here in Indiana, MotoGP has had pretty much perfect weather for the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis GP thus far, with only a brief rainstrom hitting the track late Thursday afternoon and into the evening. With perfect conditions for Saturday, qualifying proved to be an eventful day for all the classes, as a number of riders had crashes that warranted the red flag coming out at the American circuit.
With riders continuing to complain not only of the three different types of asphalt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but now also about the fine dirt on the course, the issue of whether IMS is safe for MotoGP has been raised with the six red flags that were out in the four qualifying motorcycle sessions held today. Though no one hit any obstacles or walls, with three riders questionable for competing in Sunday’s MotoGP class race, it is not a stretch of the truth to say that the Indy GP will be challenging.
With Moto3 getting its own share of crashes and a red flag, MotoGP also followed suit with three serious high-sides and two stoppages to the session (Moto2 was eventful, but sans red flags). First to be victim to the final turn at Indy was Casey Stoner, who had to be stretchered off the course, and later would be diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right foot/leg. With his participation questionable for tomorrow’s race, we will have to wait and see what the doctors report either tonight or tomorrow morning for the reigning-World Champion.
Second to go down was Ben Spies, who also high-sided in the final section. Staying on the ground briefly, Spies surprisingly would walk himself off the track, and rejoin the session after its third start. Qualifying fourth overall, Spies then went to the medical center to get checked by the doctors. While Spies on Twitter is saying he plans on racing tomorrow, there is considerable speculation if that will be the case. A definitive statement from the team is expected tonight.
The third crash, and second red flag for MotoGP qualifying, came due to Nicky Hayden’s high-side, again in the same section as Stoner and Spies. Knocked unconscious from the fall, Hayden was last reported also to be headed to the hospital for diagnosis, with Rossi saying the Kentucky Kid was suffering from a concussion. Arriving at Indianapolis Methodist Hospital, Hayden reported saw Casey Stoner in the ER, and thought the two had collided. Concussed, he has had a CAT scan of his head, and x-ray of his hand. Though feeling better, his participation in the Indianapolis GP is very unlikely at this point in time.
Proving to be an equal opportunity corner when it comes to flipping bikes, The Doctor also had a moment going through the final bends, though he was able to save the crash.
For the riders left standing, qualifying was a fast and eventful hour. Dani Pedrosa popped Indy’s Best Lap cherry, marking another track where the 1000cc bikes are superior to the ones of the 800cc era. Putting in a 1’38.813, Pedrosa had to watch his time almost be beaten by Jorge Lorenzo, but the Yamaha-man struggled through the second section all session, and was unable to make the ground to Pedrosa.
The two aliens will be joined on the front row by Andrea Dovizioso, who survived the attrition, despite an altercation with a CRT rider in the closing moments.
The ride of the day might go to Team Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, as the Frenchman put his Aprilia ART tenth on the timesheet, despite running over a piece of debris on the front straight, which then punctured the bike’s belly pan and cut off one of the brake lines to the front calipers.
In other news, both American wild card entries qualified for Sunday’s race, with Aaron Yates just barely making the cut with his Suzuki-powered GP Tech machine.
Qualifying Results from the US GP at Indianapolis, USA:
|1||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||335.5||1’38.813||–|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||335.5||1’38.913||0.100|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||334.0||1’39.235||0.422|
|4||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||333.1||1’39.279||0.466|
|5||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||334.2||1’39.437||0.624|
|6||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||334.6||1’39.465||0.652|
|7||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||331.0||1’39.549||0.736|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||333.3||1’39.748||0.935|
|9||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||334.0||1’40.072||1.259|
|10||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||317.8||1’40.437||1.624|
|11||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||333.3||1’40.763||1.950|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||318.6||1’40.803||1.990|
|13||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||312.3||1’41.197||2.384|
|14||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||333.1||1’41.295||2.482|
|15||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||311.9||1’41.370||2.557|
|16||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||315.7||1’41.449||2.636|
|17||Toni ELIAS||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||332.9||1’41.866||3.053|
|18||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||310.0||1’41.978||3.165|
|19||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||296.9||1’42.553||3.740|
|20||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||315.0||1’42.599||3.786|
|21||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||314.0||1’42.768||3.955|
|22||Steve RAPP||USA||Attack Performance||APR||300.9||1’43.673||4.860|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved