MotoGP: Lap Record Falls During Qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For those that are not familiar with the weather patterns of Northern California’s coastal areas, Saturday at Laguna Seca was a good example of the foggy morning gloom we natives must endure in order to be showered with the Golden State’s eternal afternoon sunshine. With FP3 nearly delayed because of low cloud cover, qualifying for the US GP at Laguna Seca couldn’t have conditions more opposite than this morning. Click past the jump for full-of-sunshine qualifying results.

Sunny and warm, Casey Stoner’s best lap record was certainly in danger this weekend, and it didn’t take long into the session for the time to be cracked. With Lorenzo taking over early in qualifying, the current-Championship leader is on his form this weekend in California. And while for a moment, it looked like Stoner would catapult the Spaniard from his top spot, but Lorenzo answered back on the final lap, setting a record “Best Lap” of 1’20.554 on his Yamaha YZR-M1.

Rounding out the front row is Dani Pedrosa, who held the second spot on the time sheet for much of the session. Unable to get the same progress as Stoner and Lorenzo did in the closing minutes, Pedrosa is sure to still be a contender for Sunday’s race. Also not out of the fight is Ben Spies, who despite a tough tumble with 10 minutes remaining, was able to get back on the track in the closing minutes to keep a respectable fourth place at his home race. He will be joined on the second row by fellow Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, respectively.

The big disappointment of the session was Steve Rapp on the Attack Performance CRT entry. Getting virtually no on-track development, the team made great strides to bring the Kawasaki-powered CRT bike up to speed, but missed the 107% cutoff time by 0.694 seconds. It remains to be seen if Race Direction will let Rapp grid-up for Sunday’s race, though either way the team should have some good data to mull over before it races again at the Indianapolis GP.

Qualifying Results from the US GP at Laguna Seca, USA:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 267.7 1’20.554
2 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 267.1 1’20.628 0.074
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 267.4 1’20.906 0.352
4 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 263.7 1’21.094 0.540
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 265.1 1’21.268 0.714
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 263.4 1’21.539 0.985
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 265.8 1’21.732 1.178
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 266.1 1’21.734 1.180
9 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 260.6 1’21.753 1.199
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 268.1 1’22.544 1.990
11 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 253.9 1’22.886 2.332
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 252.9 1’23.075 2.521
13 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 255.4 1’23.699 3.145
14 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 260.1 1’23.704 3.150
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 253.6 1’23.769 3.215
16 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 255.9 1’23.877 3.323
17 Toni ELIAS SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 258.3 1’23.898 3.344
18 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 246.5 1’24.017 3.463
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 245.7 1’24.227 3.673
20 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 246.8 1’24.560 4.006
21 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 251.2 1’24.715 4.161
Steve RAPP USA Attack Performance APR 245.2 1’26.887 6.333

Source: MotoGP: Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved