MotoGP: A Touch of Rain Shakes up Qualifying at Silverstone

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With tough conditions being the week-long tradition at the British GP, MotoGP qualifying at Silverstone began with dry, but very windy, conditions. Friday’s rain saw the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden on the top of the time sheets, though the day proved to be the tale of two Ducatis, as once the British track dried, the Desmosedici GP12 once again showed its other personaly, and proved to be a handful in the dry.

Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner was the fastest once the water cleared, with Yamaha-man Ben Spies showing some renewed confidence as well. Noticeably quick was satellite Honda rider Alvaro Bautista, who posted a third and fifth in FP2 & FP3 for the San Carlo Gresini Honda team, respectively. With the weather supposedly set to improve tomorrow, though the chance of rain still seems to be a coin toss of probabilities, the certainty for a wet race seems to have been reduced in the paddock, though the tough windy conditions can still be expected.

That point was proven with the qualifying session itself, which saw the last seven minutes or so lost because of a drizzle that lasted about as long as it took for the track to clear of riders. That drizzle would prove to be fatal for the Ducati Corse squad, as both Rossi and Hayden hit the tarmac after encountering a wet spot — in the same corner no less. While Rossi would rejoin the qualifying session, Hayden’s crash happened right before the rain, which was a shame as the American was putting down a flier of a lap, and would have likely improved his grid position tomorrow onto the front row if he had stayed upright.

The rain also meant less time for Stoner and Lorenzo to move up in the order, leaving Alvaro Bautista to take the pole position for tomorrow’s race. He will be joined by Ben Spies, who despite some off-track excursions, is having a good weekend on the Yamaha YZR-M1 for a change. Casey Stoner will round out the front row, as he looks to claw back some points from Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who starts from fourth.

Not making it out for qualifying were Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham, as both were nursing injuries. Injuring his hand at Catalunya, Abraham has been a scratch for all the sessions this week, and is not racing on Sunday. Meanwhile local favorite Cal Crutchlow took a hard fall during FP3, with the tumble reported spraining the Manx rider’s ankle. Cructchlow’s participation in Sunday’s race is still questionable at this point in time.

Qualifying Results from the British GP at Silverstone, England:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 313.0 2’03.303  –
2 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 309.5 2’03.409 0.106
3 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 313.6 2’03.423 0.120
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 308.7 2’03.763 0.460
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 313.1 2’03.835 0.532
6 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 314.6 2’03.876 0.573
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 309.5 2’04.162 0.859
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 311.7 2’04.304 1.001
9 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 314.6 2’05.035 1.732
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 309.7 2’05.416 2.113
11 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 292.0 2’06.283 2.980
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 292.4 2’06.303 3.000
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 291.6 2’06.814 3.511
14 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 288.9 2’07.016 3.713
15 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 290.6 2’07.376 4.073
16 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 289.2 2’07.511 4.208
17 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 292.4 2’08.228 4.925
18 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 276.0 2’08.686 5.383
19 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 286.3 2’10.092 6.789
Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha

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