Dani Pedrosa raised a few eyebrows with a stunning lap in the final minutes of MotoGP qualifying at Catalunya that was not only more than half a second quicker than the next rider, but it also shattered the lap record set by Casey Stoner way back in 2008 when qualifying tires were still in use. Pedrosa’s 1:40.893 lap record was also the first motorcycle lap in the 1:40s at the Catalunya circuit.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow managed to grab second spot on the grid with a lap that just undercut Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo by 0.065 seconds. Lorenzo lost a good portion of the Q2 session when the clutch on his number one bike failed, forcing him to pit and jump on his second bike that didn’t feel as good. With only a few minutes to go, Lorenzo still was able to put in a couple of laps to qualify on the front row, but he admitted that Pedrosa's lap was basically untouchable.
GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista leads the second row ahead of Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, the American putting in an excellent lap that slotted him ahead of Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez. Valentino Rossi couldn’t continue the form that saw him head the timesheets on Friday, qualifying seventh to lead the third row.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa shattered the five-year-old lap record during qualifying at Catalunya.
“Yeah, today, very, very happy with this pole (position),” said Pedrosa. “It’s my home GP, so it’s so special, also to beat the (lap) record. I had a good lap already in the first run, but wasn’t sure really, so went out again and I push; I made no mistakes on that lap and I could make a perfect lap I would say. But obviously what matters most to me is being on the front row, and that the improvements for the rhythm are good. This puts us in good shape for tomorrow.”
Cal Crutchlow put his Monster...
Cal Crutchlow put his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha on the front row for the second time this season.
Crutchlow was happy with his qualifying lap, but knows that it’ll be a tough job tomorrow to hang with Pedrosa and Lorenzo. “I think we did a great job today and I am really happy to be back on the front row,” said the British rider. “It seems a while since I managed it at the first race in Qatar and at least I won’t be starting from fourth again. The conditions were really tricky with the incredibly high track temperature and it looks like it is going to be a big battle in the race tomorrow. I’ll be happy to get a good start and hang with Dani and Jorge because they are obviously going to be strong. Jorge had a few problems today and maybe without those he would have taken second off me. But there’s no doubt we deserve this front row and that’s a good reward for all the hard work done by my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. Congratulations to Dani though because that was an incredible lap time in such tricky conditions.”
After his number one bike...
After his number one bike suffered a clutch problem that forced him back into the pit, Jorge Lorenzo only had a few minutes to set his lap time that still put him on the front row.
Lorenzo couldn’t hide his frustration with the clutch problem that lost him critical time in the qualifying session. “To be honest I’m disappointed with the problem we had with the clutch. The clutch problem, it happened to Valentino in some races and it happened to me in a crucial moment, so we need to find a solution. We lose seven to ten minutes. It’s not an excuse because I have to complete a lap to understand where was my limit to make a perfect lap, but our limit today was very far from Dani’s (limit). But I think we are closer in (race) pace than one qualifying lap, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow. I expect a very hard race for everyone, very long race, the tires will drop a lot, more than other races, so we need to be prepared.”
MotoGP Catalunya qualifying results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:40.893
2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1:41.501
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:41.566
4. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 1:41.714
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 1:41.800
6. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda 1:41.842
7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 1:41.959
8. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 1:41.963
9. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Ducati 1:42.053
10. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 1:42.090
11. Bradley Smith (GBR) Yamaha 1:42.548
12. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 1:42.878
13. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 1:43.186
14. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati 1:43.330
15. Hector Barbera (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 1:43.659
16. Colin Edwards (USA) FTR/Kawasaki 1:43.983
17. Karel Abraham (CZE) ART/Aprilia 1:44.362
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/BMW 1:44.369
19. Claudio Corti (ITA) FTR/Kawasaki 1:44.603
20. Michael Laverty (GBR) ART/Aprilia 1:44.630
21. Yonny Hernandez (COL) ART/Aprilia 1:44.913
22. Bryan Stargin (AUS) FTR/Honda 1:45.441
23. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Ioda/BMW 1:46.302
24. Javier Del Amor (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 1:48.952