Round 5: Catalunya MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Circuit de Catalunya, Saturday 2 June 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)

Weather: Dry. Ambient 31-31°C; Track 55-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Casey Stoner will start on pole position at the Catalunya MotoGP™ after the Repsol Honda rider set a stunning time of 1:41.295 with nine minutes remaining in a highly entertaining qualifying session.

In what were scorching conditions, Stoner managed to snatch pole ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 of Jorge Lorenzo who ultimately had to settle for P2 with a time of 1:41.441. Just behind him in P3 and a further tenth of a second back was Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet was the standout CRT rider in qualifying and will start in P13 for tomorrow’s race.

Friday’s very warm conditions continued today with clear, sunny skies lifting track temperatures to a maximum of 55°C during qualifying. Some teams used the morning practice session to evaluate both rear tyre options for the race though when it came to setting a quick lap time in qualifying, almost all riders decided to use the softer rear slick tyre in conjunction with the hard front for the best balance of rear edge grip and braking stability. Despite the excellent weather conditions so far this weekend, forecasts indicate a high chance of rain tomorrow afternoon.

The MotoGP™ riders will be back on track for Sunday’s morning warm-up session at 0940 local time (GMT+2) before the race gets underway at 1400 local time.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Once again we had dry weather and very warm temperatures today which gave the teams the opportunity to try many tyre combinations and build on the data they acquired yesterday. The pace at the front of the field is very competitive with the pole position time more than a second quicker than last year and the top six riders in qualifying were separated by just four-tenths of a second so we could have a very close race tomorrow.

“In this morning’s free practice session some teams did long runs on the softer rear slick tyre to evaluate its performance for race distance and I believe this option will be widely used tomorrow, though there is a chance of rain tomorrow as well. I expect all riders to use the harder front slick for the race with the majority of the field opting for this compound in the new specification front slick tyre as this was a common choice in qualifying. I am pleased that the 2012 specification tyres are performing very well here at Catalunya which is a very challenging circuit for tyres and the feedback from riders this weekend has been positive.”