MotoGP: Lap Record Smashed in Qualifying at Silverstone

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With rainy weather looming for Sunday’s race, Saturday’s qualifying at Silverstone took place under otherwise favorable conditions with only a patchwork of clouds in the sky. This made conditions ripe for some record setting lap times, and several MotoGP riders were up to that very task.

With the MotoGP grid still without Dani Pedrosa, the ranks did swell with one more rider, as Colin Edwards returned to race after breaking his collarbone at the Catalan GP. The increase in numbers for the starting grid would not stay raised for long though, find out why after the jump.

It took on six minutes into qualifying for the Silverstone track to claim home hero Cal Crutchlow, who got caught out on cold tires, as the British rider had a minor highside and broke his collarbone in the fall. A disappointing start for the Brit, as locals were not only looking forward to cheering for the likable rider, but more so because Crutchlow scored his best result in Barcelona.

Back on the track, Casey Stoner lead the time sheets for the first 15 minutes of qualifying, then Marco Simoncelli set the fastest lap time ever recorded on Silverstone by a motorcycle, knocking Stoner off the top seat. Super Sic would in-turn be displaced by Jorge Lorenzo halfway through the session, though this would not last for long. Lorenzo qualified on the front row in third, while teammate Ben Spies quietly got himself onto the fourth place position.

Having a harder time of things compared to the leader, the Ducati contingency struggled with the British track, and Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden both expressed their desire for rain on Sunday to try and help even the playing field with their bikes’ deficiencies. At the top of the Italian bike heap was rookie Karel Abraham, making the British GP have at least a silver lining for the Czech rider. Hopefully Abraham can turn that starting position into one of his best race finishes as well.

As usual now, Casey Stoner set the fastest lap in qualifying, thus making a new track record of 2:02.02. He would be closely matched by Marco Simoncelli though, with the Italian answering each of Stoner’s lap increases throughout the session. Less than two tenths of a second behind the Australian, eyes will once again be trained on the San Carlos Gresini Honda rider come Sunday.

Qualifying Results from the British GP at Silverstone, England:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 2’02.020
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 2’02.208 0.188
3 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 2’02.237 0.217
4 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 2’02.677 0.657
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 2’03.212 1.192
6 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 2’04.151 2.131
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 2’04.304 2.284
8 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’04.508 2.488
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2’04.520 2.500
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team 2’04.589 2.569
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 2’04.919 2.899
12 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 2’05.164 3.144
13 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 2’05.781 3.761
14 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP 2’05.862 3.842
15 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team 2’06.256 4.236
16 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2’07.911 5.891

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved