Spaniard grabs top qualifying position ahead of main rival Jorge Lorenzo
Dani Pedrosa added another pole position to his name at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli today during a qualifying session that came alive in the final 15 minutes with the top spot changing hands a number of times but no one could match the Repsol Honda rider with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in second position while Cal Crutchlow secured a third place start for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team.
We managed a good lap to take pole, which is very important.
The session remained dry for the whole hour making a change for the riders with rain dominating the proceedings during the free practice sessions. With no incidents taking place during qualifying the riders improved their lap times little by little until Pedrosa set a best lap of 1m 33.857s. Lorenzo was also right on the pace at the end of the hour to record a best time of 1m 33.875s that was faster than Pedrosa for a short time but not fast enough and Crutchlow faired much the same with his best lap time of 1m 34.001s also being good enough for pole for a small amount of laps.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl also shot to poll within the last 15 minutes of the session but the satellite rider had to settle for 4th place equaling his best MotoGP performance with a best lap of 1m 34.221s. Bradl was fast enough to secure a starting position ahead of Alvaro Bautista for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team with a best lap time of 1m 34.299s compared to that of Valentino Rossi and the Ducati Team in 6th with a best time of 1m 34.619s.
Andrea Dovizioso was a little off the pace today and ended the session in 7th (1m 34.916s) but starts ahead of Ben Spies and the Yamaha Factory Racing team with a best time of 1m 34.988s while the performance of the session would arguably go to Jonathan Rea who is filling in for the injured Casey Stoner on the Repsol Honda. The rider from Northern Ireland secured a 9th place start for his first ever MotoGP race with a best lap of 1m 35.358s that is just +1.5s off pole with qualifying being the only dry session he has had this weekend.
Returning to the MotoGP paddock this weekend, Nicky Hayden grabbed the last position in the top ten with a best lap of 1m 35.401s for the Ducati Team while Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham will start from 11th with a lap of 1m 35.648s. The top CRT rider in qualifying was Randy de Puniet on the Power Electronics Aspar team with a time of 1m 35.756s and a 12th place start ahead of Hector Barbera in 13th (1m 36.048s) with the Pramac Racing rider also returning to the paddock this weekend following a lay-off with damaged vertebrae in his back.
Starting from 14th tomorrow will be de Puniet’s teammate Aleix Espargaro with a best time of 1m 36.284s ahead of Michele Pirro for the San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT effort in 15th on a best time of 1m 36.340s. James Ellison starts from 16th for the Paul Bird Motorsports team with a best lap time of 1m 37.124s that was faster than Mattia Pasini with a 17th place start on a best time of 1m 37.162s for the Speed Master team. Avintia Blusens rider Yonny Hernandez will start from 18th with his best time of 1m 37.316s and good enough to start ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the Came IodaRacing bike on a best lap of 1m 37.751s. Colin Edwards will start from 20th place on the NGM Forward Racing machine with his best time of 1m 38.068s that was +2s ahead of David Salom who has been drafted into the Avintia Blusens team in replacement of Ivan Silva for the remainder of the season (1m 40.075s).
Pedrosa was happy after an hour packed session of testing out various settings ahead of tomorrow’s race. He said, "It was a pretty tight session and no time to rest as we had to test the tires, suspension and find some settings, as well as finding some feeling for myself! At the end we managed a good lap to take pole, which is very important as the first part of the circuit is very tight, so a good start is necessary. The setting on the bike is good so I hope to have a good race tomorrow. Thanks to all my team, we did a very good job in a very short time after a strange weekend due to the weather conditions, but we remained focused to have a good qualifying session and be ready for tomorrow's race".
Lorenzo is looking forward to tomorrow’s race after a tough qualifying session today. He said, “The session was really hard as it was our first dry one. I struggled at the beginning to get the pace as we only had that hour of dry conditions. At the end I was able to get much better every lap and improved the bike a little bit. In the end we missed pole by such a little time. We are very close to Dani so I think everybody is waiting for a big battle tomorrow.”
Crutchlow was very pleased with another front row start saying, “I am really happy to be on the front row again and I am particularly pleased for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did a fantastic job in giving me a great bike, despite the lack of time on track. To be honest I felt a bit rusty because after missing the whole of yesterday's practice with the weather, Brno felt like a long time ago. The start of the session was quite difficult and I was struggling for rear grip. I spoke to Jorge and he said he was also having an issue getting temperature into the tire but every minute the track was getting better and the grip was improving. I'm happy to be on the front row and I am fast in all parts of the track. If my four best sector times were put together I'd have been in pole position.
It is going to be a hard race because nobody has had the chance to properly work on their dry set-up, but I am really looking forward to it. I am feeling really confident after scoring my first podium in Brno and the good thing is we have carried that momentum to here. Hopefully we can put on a good show for all the fans that turned up yesterday and this morning when not a lot was happening on track," Crutchlow added.