MotoGP: Qualifying from the Catalan GP

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MotoGP comes to us this weekend from Catalunya country, just outside of Barcelona, Spain for the Catalan GP. One of the centers of GP racing, local favorite Dani Pedrosa decided to sit out his home GP, and instead try and recover from his broken collarbone, which he broke two weeks ago at the French GP. The man many blame for Pedrosa’s injuries, Marco Simoncelli, was also under close scrutinty, as the Italian had to go to the principal’s office in the form of a chat with MotoGP Race Direction.

With the weather constantly variable throughout the week, yesterday’s sessions saw a mix of rain and sunshine, which caught-out Monster Yamaha Tech 3 ride Colin Edwards. The American crashed on cold slick tires on the semi-damp track, also breaking his collarbone. His participation in the Catalan GP is out, and question marks hang over his return by the time of the British GP. With qualifying action underway, we saw a few surprises in the results. Read on after the jump.

Taking over on the time sheet in the closing minutes, Marco Simoncelli bested fellow Honda rider Casey Stoner for the top honor. Setting the pole pace on his penultimate lap, Simoncelli took one more stab at raising the qualifying bar, and was on pace for a faster lap until Turn 12, where Super Sic had a moment, and ended up saving the bike by putting it up on his knee. If tomorrow’s race is half as good as the qualifying, we should be in for a treat.

“It went well and I am much happier now than I have been for the past two weeks leading up to the Grand Prix. I was strong even though we had a few problems at the start of the session when I couldn’t push as hard as I would have liked,” said pole-setter Marco Simoncelli. “By the end we had solved the problems and I was able to ride really fast, although I never thought I would be able to set pole because Casey had been so fast in every session.”

“I took a bit of a risk on the last lap trying to go faster and managed to save it, so finally my long legs have been good for something! Tomorrow won’t be easy because both Casey and Jorge have a fast race pace but I will try to stay with them. My first target is to finish the race, the second is to finish on the podium and you can guess the third!”

Qualifying Results from the Catalan GP at Barcelona, Spain:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’42.413
2 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1’42.429 0.016
3 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’42.728 0.315
4 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’42.742 0.329
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 1’42.749 0.336
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’43.202 0.789
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1’43.223 0.810
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1’43.228 0.815
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’43.447 1.034
10 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 1’43.656 1.243
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’43.734 1.321
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team 1’43.764 1.351
13 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team 1’44.068 1.655
14 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP 1’44.510 2.097
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1’45.661 3.248
OUT 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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