MotoGP: Event-Filled Qualifying at Mugello

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It is a tall-order to beat the rapid-succession qualifying we had at the German GP, which saw a stream of riders dropping pole-position laps one-after-another for nearly 5 minutes straight – but this is Mugello, and the MotoGP riders hate to disappoint when they are in Italy. With perfect racing conditions, the qualifying session had its fair share of crashes, fast laps, and surprise moments. Featuring three manufacturers on the front row, and three manufacturers on the second row, the Italian GP is also shaping up to be a good race, for all the parties involved.

It was Jorge Lorenzo who set the early pace, as the Spaniard dropped a record-setting lap time in the opening minutes of qualifying. The Yamaha Racing rider would be unable to defend his position though, as in the closing minutes Lorenzo’s bike cutout with an electrical issue, robbing the Spanish rider of an opportunity to answer one storming Dani Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda RC213V.

The only man able to match Lorenzo’s “butter” pace, Pedrosa will start on pole and is a heavy favorite for Sunday’s race. Absent from the front though was Casey Stoner, who complained of not having the setup this weekend. Stoner will start from the second row, and hopes to mitigate any damages Mugello might have on his Championship defense.

Rounding out the front row is Hector Barbara, who made his first front row qualifying appearance in his MotoGP career. Usually one to follow the faster riders, the satellite Ducati rider to his credit not only embarrassed the Ducati Corse factory team, but did it on his own and without a draft. Barbara’s quick lap bumped Nicky Hayden down to the fourth position, while Valentino Rossi languished in 10th, as the Italian experienced chatter on the softer tire compound.

Crashing mid-session, Cal Crutchlow will round out the second row. Pipping his teammate in the closing lap, Crutchlow is showed good speed for spending time in the kitty litter. He clearly has a point to make to the Yamaha factory team, as well as Ducati Corse, which is setting on a contract for the young Brit.

Ben Spies also had a tumble, which cost him his only soft front tire. The fastest CRT of the day was Aleix Espargaro, who has taken over as being the resident fast-man on the Aspar team, as teammate Randy de Puniet trails him by just 0.06 seconds.

Qualifying Results from the Italian GP at Mugello, Italy:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 342.5 1’47.284
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 342.7 1’47.423 0.139
3 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 342.1 1’47.545 0.261
4 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 343.4 1’47.671 0.387
5 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 338.6 1’47.689 0.405
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 340.2 1’47.749 0.465
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 339.1 1’47.751 0.467
8 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 339.2 1’47.857 0.573
9 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 340.4 1’48.149 0.865
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 341.8 1’48.502 1.218
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 338.6 1’48.894 1.610
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 327.7 1’49.387 2.103
13 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 326.7 1’49.450 2.166
14 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 321.5 1’50.263 2.979
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 318.7 1’50.610 3.326
16 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 320.2 1’50.812 3.528
17 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 318.7 1’50.953 3.669
18 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 319.2 1’51.242 3.958
19 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 325.9 1’51.348 4.064
20 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 303.3 1’51.473 4.189

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved