MotoGP: Yamahas vs. Hondas During Qualifying at MotoGP

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MotoGP comes to America this weekend, as Laguna Seca played a sunny host to the premier class of motorcycle racing today. Showing cold mornings, and hot afternoons, riders and teams have had to contend with a variety of conditions while preparing for the US GP. With Ducati continuing to struggle with front-end woes, eyes turned towards Yamaha to see if Iwata’s riders could find luck with their 50th Anniversary livery and put some pressure on the Factory Honda riders.

Answering the call was a very fast Jorge Lorenzo on Friday, and the Spaniard continued his front-running pace through-out all of the sessions, never letting Stoner, Dovi, and Pedrosa out of his sights. Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies struggled however, consistently half a second behind the leading group of riders. Knowing that his bike had another five tenths in it, Spies was confident going into qualifying that he could put the M1 on the front-row, and put on a show for the American crowd.

Spies was set on just that very path, that is until he crashed late into the QP session, meaning his previous time of 1’21.578 would have to suffice, though it slowly fell from second-fastest to fourth-fastest by the end of qualifying. Lorenzo however would not look back on his pace, becoming Saturday’s top rider in both sessions, and sitting on the Laguna Seca pole position. Joining Lorenzo on the front-row will be Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, respectively.

Stoner found his pace late in the session, after first battling to find the right setup that would get him closer to Lorenzo’s speed on the M1. Lurking in the shadows all week, though always present, Dani Pedrosa quietly overcame pain in his back, shoulder, and hand during the sessions, qualifying third for Sunday’s race. Noticably in the gravel were Spies, Hayden, Bautista, de Puniet, and Abraham, with the first two on that list likely doing so in order to setup a positive result for their home GP.

Will Nicky be able to overcome the Ducati Desmosedici GP11? Can Spies find more to fight Lorenzo for the victory? Those questions to be answered tomorrow during the Red Bull US GP.

Qualifying Results from the US GP at Laguna Seca:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’21.202
2 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team 1’21.274 0.072
3 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’21.385 0.183
4 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1’21.578 0.376
5 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’21.696 0.494
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 1’21.731 0.529
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team 1’22.235 1.033
8 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP 1’22.238 1.036
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team 1’22.271 1.069
10 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’22.385 1.183
11 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’22.520 1.318
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’22.669 1.467
13 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1’22.893 1.691
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’22.937 1.735
15 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team 1’22.961 1.759
16 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team 1’23.876 2.674
17 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP 1’24.156 2.954
18 23 Ben BOSTROM USA LCR Honda MotoGP 1’25.291 4.089

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