Continuing rain showers all day Friday and Saturday morning at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli ruined the three MotoGP practice sessions, with the constantly changing track conditions making any attempts at getting up to speed useless and unnecessarily risky. So when the weather finally cleared and the track dried up for Saturday afternoon’s 60-minute qualifying session, it became a very frantic affair as riders and crews hastily tried to find the right tires and bike setting for tomorrow’s race, while at the same time finding a setting to work with the soft compound tires for qualifying, as Misano’s tight layout makes passing difficult, so a good start position is crucial.
With ten minutes to go, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl put himself on top of the timesheets with a superb effort, and it wasn’t until two minutes left to go in qualifying that he was pushed off the top spot by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow. The British rider looked like he might get his maiden MotoGP pole position at Misano with an even quicker lap with 78 seconds left, but then title rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa started their duel with a minute left. Lorenzo took the top spot with 53 seconds to go, but then Pedrosa undercut the Majorcan’s time with 26 seconds left to take pole. Lorenzo had one lap to try and take it back, but couldn’t improve on it, giving Pedrosa his third pole of the season.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa just squeaked by for his third pole of the season.
“It was a pretty tight session because we had to test the tires, suspension and try to get some setting, also get the feeling for the rider,” admitted Pedrosa after his Misano MotoGP qualifying performance. “At the end we managed a good lap to be in front of the grid. Everything was tight, no time for rest, and finally ended up on the front row, which is very important because the first part of the circuit is very tight, so it’s important to get a good start. Everything, the setting on the bike is good so I hope to have a good race tomorrow."
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo just...
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo just lost out on pole by 0.018 seconds, but he feels confident for the race.
Even though qualifying at Misano didn’t go quite as well as he would’ve liked, Lorenzo remained confident for tomorrow’s MotoGP race. “To be honest I struggle a little bit at the beginning of the practice to get the pace and to be fast,” said Lorenzo. “Only little by little and run by run, we can improve a little bit the bike and I can get closer to the fastest rider. And finally with so little practice…finally make two crazy laps, quite fast, but we couldn’t get the pole position, but anyway we are very very similar, so let’s see if we can keep the pace tomorrow. On the exit of the corners we don’t have so much grip, I don’t know what is happening; maybe the rain, during all these days is making the track slippery. And also when I open the throttle, the bike is moving and jumping a lot, so we are going to try to make the bike more stable, either by electronic or by setting and try to be faster tomorrow.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal...
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow continued his strong form with another front row qualifying performance at Misano.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow continued his strong form from Brno in qualifying on the front row at Misano, and the Brit feels good about his chances in tomorrow’s MotoGP race. “I think the lap times we do there (in Sunday morning warmup) will be the lap times in the race,” predicted Crutchlow, as all the riders will be making improvements on race tires and setup from today. “It was taking time, the track was getting better minute by minute. But it was difficult session for us to start; we struggled a little bit with the rear grip. Especially on the left hand side, but I think the other riders did too. We changed the bike a little, then went back out, and seemed to be consistent with the race tire. Then I put the first soft tire in and got nowhere because I couldn’t get the heat into the tire. It was finally good, I think we’ve came off a good run in Brno, and then finally came here and got front row. So it’s good for the confidence, it’s good for the team, and the whole Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha team did a great job, so hopefully we can improve again for tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi qualified...
Valentino Rossi qualified in 6th position, equaling his best qualifying performance on the Ducati to date.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi put in one of the better qualifying efforts at Misano, with sixth spot on the MotoGP grid equaling his best performance on the GP12 so far. “We equaled our best qualifying with the Ducati, but I think the practice of this afternoon is a bit more positive,” said Rossi. “Also because I improve every exit and I am not very far from the pole position. And confirm a bit the good feeling of improvement that we had after the test here two weeks ago. Second row is very important for tomorrow, but we have to wait, we have to understand tomorrow if we are also fast in the second part of the race because this year we suffer a lot that moment, and if we can be more constant to the end.”
Both Rossi and teammate Nicky Hayden are using a new frame and swingarm at Misano. “The new chassis is good, like we said after the test, looks like the bike improve; is more easy to ride, better stability, and is like we take the right way for improve the bike and we try to continue. Because we have another six races where together with Ducati we want to make some good result.”
Ben Spies crashed his number...
Ben Spies crashed his number one bike halfway through the qualifiying session, forcing him onto his spare bike that had a different setup; he qualifed 8th.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies continued his unfortunate run of bad luck when he crashed halfway through the Misano qualifying session, forcing him to jump on his backup MotoGP bike that had a different setup. “It was just a normal day for me really,” joked Spies. “Yeah, it was unfortunate, we got off line a little bit and hit a bump in turn one. That was bike that we were comfortable on, and had a good setting on that I liked. Then we had to come back and get on the other bike and there was no time obviously to change it. We did the best we could on it, which I told them, ‘I don’t think I can better my lap time really with this setup.’ But I tried in the end. We definitely know what setup to go with tomorrow, but we still need to make some big changes because we were having some problems before the crash. I’m actually confident that we can go pretty quick. With the way the weekend was, with all the rain and the dry, and this was the first dry session, we missed quite big the setup with the electronic side and the suspension. But the chassis was working pretty good, so we know what we got to work on tomorrow, but we’ve only got 20 minutes to work on it.
“Not really, no,” said Spies when asked if tomorrow’s MotoGP warmup session at Misano will help with the time lost to get a race setup during qualifying. “Honestly, it’s kind of shot in the dark. But hopefully we can get it close enough. It’s the same for everybody, I just think we’re a little bit on the back foot right now. But we can definitely improve the bike a lot from where it was today. We didn’t put ourselves in good position to start out tomorrow. But we’ll make the bike better and see what we can do in the race.”
MotoGP Misano qualifying results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:33.857
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:33.875
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1:34.001
4. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 1:34.221
5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 1:34.299
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati 1:34.619
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Yamaha 1:34.916
8. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:34.988
9. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda 1:35.358
10. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 1:35.401
11. Karel Abraham (CZE) Ducati 1:35.648
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 1:35.756
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Ducati 1:36.048
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 1:36.284
15. Michele Pirro (ITA) FTR/Honda 1:36.340
16. James Ellison (GBR) ART/Aprilia 1:37.124
17. Mattia Pasini (ITA) ART/Aprilia 1'37.162
18. Yonny Hernandez (COL) FTR/Kawasaki 1:37.316
19. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/Aprilia 1:37.751
20. Colin Edwards (USA) Suter/BMW 1:38.068
21. David Salom (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 1:40.075