MotoGP Jerez Quali Report: Stoner Takes Pole, Many Crash in Cool Temps


What Happens When Things That Looked Rosy, Aren’t

9:12am EST — Casey Stoner (1:38.757) continued his domination of the early MotoGP season, winning pole for the Spanish Grand Prix despite an incident on his final lap. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was second fastest while Jorge Lorenzo, who spent much of the session in the provisional pole position, completed the first row for Sunday’s starting grid. His factory Yamaha teammate Ben Spies will start just behind Stoner, with Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso completing the second row. Many riders lost front end grip and slid out during the cool qualifying session, including Valentino Rossi. He was unhurt, but ended the session twelfth fastest, behind the Ducatis of Nicky Hayden (7th) and fellow crasher Randy de Puniet (11th).

Practices at Jerez continued much as they were at the season opening round at Qatar, with the Repsol Hondas quickest Friday and Saturday. Stoner was first fastest on Friday, followed by Pedrosa and and apparently quickly recovering Rossi. In the morning, Simoncelli and Lorenzo completed the fastest five, while Pedrosa led Stoner, Lorenzo, Simoncelli, and Rossi in the afternoon session.

Saturday morning, the standings remained much the same, with Pedrosa fastest, Stoner second, Simoncelli, Lorenzo, and de Puniet the top five. Rossi was sixth fastest. Time were slowest Friday afternoon, with cooler temperatures and gusts of winds causing complaints from the riders. John Hopkins made his return to MotoGP to fill in at Suzuki for the injured Alvaro Bautista, who broke his leg in a practice crash at Qatar.

Qualifying continued to be a cool and windy affair, with clouds covering the Spanish sky. Ten minutes into the hour session, Lorenzo (1:39.430) led Pedrosa, Simoncelli, Stoner, Aoyama, Rossi, Spies, de Puniet, Crutchlow, and Dovizioso. About five minutes later, Rossi had crashed at Turn 6, walking away and riding back to the garage on a scooter to continue qualifying. Moments later, Aoyama suffered a similar but force fate, losing the front and getting smacked in the left leg by the rear wheel of his Honda. He was carried off the track on a stretcher but was soon back in the garage. Quickly, both Rossi and Aoyama were back out to improve their times.

By the halfway point, the clouds had gotten thicker and the wind had picked up over Jerez. Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner, Simoncelli, Aoyama, Spies, Rossi, Edwards, Dovizioso, and Crutchlow were the top ten, with less than a second separating Dovizioso from Loreno’s time. Abraham had just had a massive wiggle from his Ducati down the backstraight while Hayden languished in fourteenth, and replacement Hopkins was dead last.

With twenty minutes left, the only change to the top ten was de Puniet moving back ahead of Rossi and Spies, into sixth position. Hopkins also improved, up to twelfth. Rossi, though, leapfrogged Spies and de Puniet for sixth soon thereafter, only to have de Puniet move to fourth fastest. When fifteen minutes remained, Lorenzo’s early fast time still stood as the fastest of the session. Pedrosa, Stoner, de Puniet, and Edwards completed the top five. Hayen had improved to eleventh fastest.

Pedrosa quickly took control, beating Lorenzo’s time by nearly three tenths, while Sioncelli made his move to third, though his time was soon beaten by Spies. Just under the ten minute mark, Stoner made his move to the front, overtaking his teammate’s time by nearly three tenths and dropping to a 1:38.820. Hayden moved up to ninth while fastest Ducati rider de Puniet lost the front at Turn 5, crashing out of sixth position.

Hayden then moved up to ninth, going quicker than teammate Rossi in tenth. Stoner still led with seven minute left, followed by Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Spies then crashed from fourth, also having lost the front in Turn 1, though he was ok. Edwards joined the growing number of crashing riders by sliding out at Turn 2 as Dovizioso moved up to sixth fastest.

When two minutes were left, Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Spies, Simoncelli, Dovizioso, de Puniet, Crutchlow, Aoyama, Hayden, and Rossi were the fastest eleven riders. Stoner, however, crashed on his final lap. He ran on through the gravel at the first turn and tipped over, getting his Honda stuck in the air fence. However, no on beat his time and Stoner won pole for the second race in a row.

Provisional Starting Grid for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix:

Pos. # Rider Team Time Gap
1. 27 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda 1:38.757
2. 26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1:38.915 0.158
3. 1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory 1:38.918 0.161
4. 11 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory 1:39.390 0.633
5. 58 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Gresini Honda 1:39.486 0.729
6. 4 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda 1:39.709 0.952
7. 14 Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1:39.892 1.135
8. 5 Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1:39.895 1.138
9. 35 Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1:40.019 1.262
10. 7 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Gresini Honda 1:40.168 1.411
11. 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 1:40.175 1.418
12. 46 Valentino Rossi Ducati 1:40.185 1.428
13. 8 Hector Barbera Mapfre Aspar Ducati 1:40.217 1.460
14. 21 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki 1:40.310 1.553
15. 65 Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1:40.523 1.766
16. 17 Karel Abraham Cardio AB Motoracing Ducati 1:40.601 1.844
17. 24 Toni Elias LCR Honda 1:41.114 2.357
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4 Comments

  1. Thanks Victoria, I absolutely love the way you paint the scenery of the goings on at the track. It’s almost as good as being there!

    Stu in Indy

    http://stusshots.blogspot.com/2011/04/repsol-hondas-pedrosa-leads-practice.html

    • Thanks, Stu!
      I particularly appreciate the compliment as I’m stuck at home in Pennsylvania, not actually at the track in Jerez 🙂

  2. Wow. You must have a direct connection to the track, then. Very nicely done! Keep up the great work!!

    • Thanks, though be careful, as I can already feel my ego swelling.


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