Qualifying German Grand Prix, Sachsenring, Germany

2012-07-07 23:57
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) splashed to his fourth pole of the season with a dramatic fast lap in the seconds after the one hour qualifying session for Sunday’s German Grand Prix had ended. Yamaha rider Ben Spies was second with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa a close third.

The session was one of the most dramatic of the season, especially for Stoner. Before the hour was half over he had suffered an electrical failure that cut the engine spark on his number one motorcycle. That sent him to the pits for an extended stay while the rain intensified. At the time, Bavarian Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) was on top, giving the home fans a thrill.

The rain lightened in the final ten minutes and the riders headed back onto the 3.671Km track to reshuffle the order. Bradl lost the top spot with under nine minutes to run in what would be a flurry of changes. By the end of the qualifying hour the fast time had been lowered 11 times, by seven different riders, with Bradl setting fast time on three occasions and Stoner doing it once.

When the hour ended Stoner was on top, but would not be for long. About 15 seconds after the checkered flag was waved, the lead went to Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha), but he did not own it. In the next 17.5s the lead would change three more times; first Pedrosa, then Spies, and finally Stoner, who earned his second pole in a row and 39th MotoGP of his career with his lap of 1m, 31.796s.

Stoner will start Sunday’s eighth round of the MotoGP World Championship tied on points with Lorenzo.

Pedrosa will join Stoner on the front row, having qualified only .285s slower.

Bradl finished the session sixth fastest, at the end of row two for his first home MotoGP race.

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) qualified with the 11th fastest time, though it meant little. Bautista was involved in a first corner incident with Lorenzo last week in Assen. Race Direction’s penalty is that he has to start from the back of the 21 rider grid.

Team-mate Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR Honda) will start the German Grand Prix in the 17th position. Pirro crashed in the heaviest rain, forcing him to the pits for his second bike. In the more moderate end of session weather, Pirro continuously improved his pace until setting his best lap on his 18th and final lap.

Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Kalex) took advantage of the improving conditions to take his sixth pole in eight races, an advantage that could pay dividends on Sunday since his championship rivals were further downfield.

The 45-minute session had been dominated by a number of riders, but not Marquez. It was only in the final minute, when the rain had mostly stopped and the puddles had dispersed, that Marquez leapt to the top.

His lap of 1m, 34.503s was fastest of the day by only .045s over Julian Simon (Blusens Avintia – Suter). Simon had taken over the top spot in the 40th minute, then watched as Marquez dropped him to second.

Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) took the third spot from Belgian Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3) after time had expired. Both Simon and Kallio will be starting from the front row for the first time this year. Simon’s previous best was seventh in the Portuguese Grand Prix, while Kallio’s was fifth in Jerez.

Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up), second in the championship, qualified tenth, four spots behind Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock – Suter). Former championship leader Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) qualified a season worst 17th-he had not been lower than fifth-and 1.473s from Marquez.

Adrian Martin (JHK Laglisse – FTR Honda) qualified on the front row for the first time by clocking the third fastest lap in the wet Moto3 race. The Spaniard had never qualified higher than seventh prior to today’s qualifying, but he took to the wet with ease. The time came on the 11th of 16th laps to move him just ahead of fellow Honda rider Jack Miller (Carretta Technology – Honda). Jakub Kornfeil (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta – FTR Honda) was a close third. The three fastest Honda Moto3 riders were separated by only .096s.

Moto3 World Championship leader Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) had his least successful qualifying effort of the season. The four-time Moto3 race winner had never qualified lower than ninth before this weekend. But Vinales was never comfortable in the rain and only managed the 24th fastest time with his 24th and final lap. Vinales ended up one spot in front of his brother Isaac, who was 25th on the Ongetta-Centro Seta – FTR Honda.

MotoGP Rider Quotes: Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: Pole position
“It was actually a very difficult session. We started off well and then we switched to our number one bike with a completely different set-up and that felt a lot better. On the first lap, I matched my best time I did on my second bike, then unfortunately on the second lap the engine gave up. We're not too sure what happened, if it was something electrical or if some water got in there, but we'll find out later. This put us on the back foot a little, because as soon as we came back and got the tyres ready on the second bike, it started to rain hard again, so we knew we wouldn't be able to get a better lap time in those conditions. We decided to wait for later in the session as we knew we wouldn't have much hope unless the conditions improved a little, and luckily they did. It ended up being a really good day for us and we'll see what we're capable of tomorrow.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I'm very happy with this qualifying session. It was difficult, especially at the beginning as it was raining very hard and we had so much water on the asphalt, it was difficult to stop the bike spinning and aquaplaning. It was crucial to be ready at the end when the rain stopped, because everybody was improving their lap times and in one lap you could be first or sixth. I'm very happy, because in the past in these kind of sessions we didn't get a good result. But this time, I was more confident every lap and we made it; I thought I got the pole in my last flying lap, but anyway to be at the front is key in Sachsenring. Yesterday we also had a good feeling in the dry, and it looks like we will have a dry race tomorrow, so it will be important to make the right choice on tyres and try the hard compound in the warm up to compare with the soft we tried on Friday.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 6th “We did not expect to have a wet qualifying today, but at the end it rained a lot and our pace has been consistently fast since the beginning. We have been doing a good job for the whole session and this is a positive sign for me and the team. With the little adjustments that we made I could quickly adapt to the conditions lapping with a good pace. At the end of the session the surface started to dry up and everybody pushed hard, but I got stopped by some slower riders in my last lap. I am bit disappointed because we could take the front row but in any case it was a very positive session for us and we can be happy about the result.”

Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 11th
“There was no point trying to set a fast lap this afternoon so we just focused on our wet set-up. The track conditions were really tricky, especially in the middle two sectors, and I didn't have a good feeling with the bike. Hopefully we get a dry warm-up in the morning so that we can prepare for the race. If it's wet we'll have to try something to improve my confidence with the bike. I'll start from the back of the grid so I'll just have to stay calm at the start and try to recover positions throughout the race to finish as high as we can. Right now it is impossible to make any predictions.”

Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 17th
“The rain ruined our plans today and I crashed after just three laps. I just hit a part of the track where there was a lot of standing water, the bike aquaplaned and I lost control so it was a heavy crash. I went back out but I struggled to get my pace together again so that is disappointing and I am sorry for the guys in the team because without the crash I am sure we could have done much better. We'll try to make up for it tomorrow and if it doesn't rain we'll have a much better chance.”

Moto2 Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: Pole position
“We knew that it would be important not to drop our pace in the first minutes of the session, but in the end we had a little time to spare. We were expecting there to be less water on the track late on in order to clock the best times. We improved with every session and improved our confidence little-by-little, and on the final stint I gave it my all. I felt fairly safe, although you never can be completely confident in the rain. My aim was to get onto the front row ­or as close to it as possible­ because with all these close times you can find yourself really far back. I achieved my goal and we have a good setup for tomorrow ­both in the dry and in the wet.”

Julian Simon, Blusens Avintia – Suter: 2nd
“Yes, I’m very happy with the second position. It’s too long a time since I’ve been on the first row. I try with this condition the good concentration at the beginning. I make many laps for take the level. I stop only one time in the box and then I’m pushing a lot in the final session. And I’m really happy for this place. I prefer for tomorrow a dry position, but if it rains it’s also good for me, because today I made a good work. But I prefer dry, because it’s necessary for me to put the bike at the best level. And also tomorrow I’m very happy for this place and I hope also a good race tomorrow for the points and also for me.”

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex: 3rd
“I'm happy to be on the front row, especially here at Sachsenring with such a tight first turn, but also a little disappointed to miss out on pole by such a narrow margin. In qualifying I started on a used tyre and straight away I was inside the top five on the timesheet. We switched to a new rear tyre looking for a faster lap, but it just didn't feel right; the rear was sliding around a lot more than I was expecting. I switched back to the used tyre and that's what I set my fastest lap on. It was a bit risky right at the end because a dry line had started to appear in places and the left side of the tyre was overheating so much it was like riding on slicks in the wet! I'm pretty confident for the race, as we've got a good set-up whatever the weather decides to do tomorrow, now I just need a good start.”

Moto3 Rider Quotes

Adrian Martin, JHK Laglisse - FTR Honda: 3rd
“This morning it was dry and if it rains tomorrow it’s clear that we can be among the top three and if it’s dry I believe that our qualifying position will help us be able to be close to the group at the front and I can begin with them. In Assen, for example, I started farther back and I rode very well, but the group was very far in front and we couldn’t catch them. But I believe if it’s dry it’s better for everyone. It’s clear that I am much better in the wet, but a dry race is much easier. You don’t make as many errors.”

Jack Miller, Caretta Technology – Honda: 4th
“I could do more, but the last part of my last lap I found traffic. The bike feels better, but we have to work hard. I hope to do well tomorrow.”

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: 24th
“We don’t know what happened and even I can’t understand it. In qualifying I couldn’t enter the corners well ­especially the left handers­ and was sliding all over the place. It only got worse as the laps went by. We shall see what the weather is like tomorrow, but we will be focusing on riding our own race; the conditions will dictate whether we attack early or wait. In any case, we need a good start. If the race is dry then it will be a little easier, because we have a good pace and setting. If it is wet, then we will need to push a little harder.”

Source: Honda Pro Image

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