MotoGP: Surprisingly Dry Qualifying at Valencia

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With rain coming down during the 125GP session, MotoGP narrowly avoided its own water-soaked qualifying. With wet sessions on Friday, the order of things was disrupted as the Ducatis clearly could overcome their problems in the damp conditions. As the track dried though, the Honda dominance returned, making the Spanish skies a huge factor for Sunday’s Valencian GP. Depending on who you talk to in the paddock, it’s either a guarantee for rain tomorrow, or it will be assuredly sunny, meaning no one has a clue what the weather will really be like.

While Stoner and Pedrosa have had their accustomed positions on the time sheets, Valencia has seen moments of brilliance from Hayden, Rossi, de Puniet, and Bautista, as all four riders have had an extra pep in their step during the inclement weather. The Spanish venue seems especially to favor the Spaniard Bautista, as the Suzuki rider has been a cut faster than previously in the season, no doubt encouraged by a home crowd and the desire to help Rizla Suzuki secure a future in MotoGP.

The other notable standout this weekend has been American Josh Hayes, who has been aided by the rain and adapted readily to the Monster Tech3 Yamaha YZR-M1 typically ridden by Colin Edwards. Not having to learn the carbon brake discs of MotoGP, and with the Bridgestone tires blunted by the water, Hayes has come up to speed rather quickly on the M1, finishing FP1 with a respectable P10. How that learning curve would change in the dry though remains a pressing question mark on the AMA Superbike Champion’s mind, though that seems to be the case for many riders this weekend. Qualifying results after the jump.

Qualifying Results from the Valencian GP at Valencia, Spain:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Bike Time Diff.
1 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’31.861
2 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’32.875 1.014
3 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’33.057 1.196
4 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1’33.118 1.257
5 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1’33.443 1.582
6 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’33.478 1.617
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1’33.656 1.795
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’33.824 1.963
9 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 1’34.186 2.325
10 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 1’34.265 2.404
11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’34.329 2.468
12 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1’34.671 2.810
13 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1’34.680 2.819
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1’34.838 2.977
15 89 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’35.999 4.138
16 41 Josh HAYES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’36.042 4.181

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Pramac Ducati