MotoGP: Red Flag Interrupts Congested Qualifying at Estoril

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With mixed weather at the Portuguese track, MotoGP riders headed out for their last qualifying session at Estoril for the foreseeable future. With the rain making a brief appearance, riders had to contend with changing conditions, though the biggest disruption to the qualifying session was the red flag stoppage for an injured rider.

With a congested track at Estoril, lapped bikes played a crucial element for riders trying to get in a flying lap. As such, the order for Sunday’s racing grid has some surprises from GP fans. Spoilers and qualifying results for the 2012 Portuguese GP are after the jump.

In a session that saw a number of riders go off course and through the gravel, though mostly staying upright, the biggest incident out of Estoril was the crash by Randy de Puniet that knocked down Colin Edwards. Sending both riders to Clinica Mobile, qualifying had to be stopped as Edwards lay near the track’s edge with a suspected broken collarbone. Letting RdP pass him on the inside, Edwards’s BMW/Suter was struck as de Puniet’s Aprilia lost the front, and skidded along the track.

The red flag broke up the rhythm of the day’s qualifying, which saw a number of riders caught out by encountering slower traffic during their flying laps. No one fell victim to this more than Ben Spies though, as the American had to scrub three of his fast laps of the day, and will thus start from the second row because of it.

With Estoril known for its many different types of asphalt, riders complained of grip and feeling issues. This plagued the factory Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, as well as factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. It didn’t seem to affect one Cal Crutchlow though, as the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider has again put himself on the front row, much to the dismay of Andrea Dovizioso and Mr. Elbowz.

Unsurprisingly, Casey Stoner sits on pole, followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa. With the Hondas being quick all week, they will surely be the ones to beat in tomorrow’s race. Don’t count out the Yamahas though, as all for of them have shown potential for podium positions.

Qualifying Results from the Portuguese GP at Estoril, Portugal:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time Diff.
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’37.188
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’37.201 0.013
3 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’37.289 0.101
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’37.466 0.278
5 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’37.723 0.535
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1’37.917 0.729
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1’37.943 0.755
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1’38.006 0.818
9 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.059 0.871
10 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1’38.253 1.065
11 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1’38.265 1.077
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1’39.353 2.165
13 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 1’39.398 2.210
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1’39.586 2.398
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 1’40.029 2.841
16 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 1’40.225 3.037
17 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 1’40.387 3.199
18 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 1’40.964 3.776
19 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 1’41.394 4.206
20 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 1’41.486 4.298
21 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 1’41.490 4.302

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