Stoner snatches pole position in Portugal
Round 3: Portuguese MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Circuito do Estoril, Saturday 5 May 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 19-19°C; Track 36-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Casey Stoner continued Repsol Honda’s dominance at Estoril this weekend as the reigning MotoGP™ champion snatched pole position from teammate Dani Pedrosa by just 0.013 seconds in a tightly contested qualifying session that saw the top eleven riders split by just one second.
Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow continued his excellent form with the British rider setting the quickest time with seven minutes remaining and ultimately qualifying third as he sets his sights on a maiden MotoGP™ podium. Aleix Espargaro was the best of the CRT riders in qualifying, the Spanish rider piloting his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to 12th place with a time of 1min 39.353 seconds.
Overnight rain meant track conditions for FP3 were still not optimal, though prevailing sunshine and winds ensured a dry track for qualifying. Track temperatures hovered around the high 30°C range during qualifying with riders preferring the harder front and rear slick tyres for the first half of the session before switching to the softer rear slick towards the end of qualifying as the hunt for quick lap-times intensified.
With twelve minutes remaining in qualifying an incident between Power Electronics Aspar rider Randy de Puniet and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards caused the red flag to be waved. Both riders involved went to Clinica Mobile for medical attention and were later released with Edwards being diagnosed with a fracture to his left collarbone.
Tomorrow’s MotoGP™ race at Estoril gets underway at 1300 local time (GMT +1).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Track conditions were better today, particularly for qualifying and as expected the battle for pole position was very close. With good track temperatures for qualifying all riders preferred the combination of the softer rear and harder front slick tyres to set their quick lap times with many riders selecting the harder compound in the new specification front slick tyre. If tomorrow presents similar weather conditions to today, I expect the majority of riders to use the same combination of the softer rear and harder front slick tyre for the race.
“Estoril is a circuit that often produces amazing races and qualifying has shown us that the level of competition is very close at the moment so I look forward to seeing what unfolds tomorrow. Finally, I would like to extend my best regards to Colin Edwards and I wish him a speedy recovery.”