Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner is set to start from pole position for the sixth time this season after posting the fastest lap during Saturday’s MotoGP qualifying at Sachsenring. The Aussie recorded his best time of 1’21.681 with 16 minutes remaining to outpace teammate Dani Pedrosa by 0.252 seconds.
“The lap times are very close here so it will be a tough race and hard to take any real advantage,” said Stoner. “However, I’m very happy and positive we can still slightly improve tomorrow morning so thanks to all my team for a great job.”
“It’s great to be on the front row again, to be honest I didn’t expect it,” Pedrosa said. “But we’ve done a good job and it’s important to start in front here because the first corner is very tight and it’s better to avoid being immersed in the group at the start.”
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was leading the field 40 minutes into the hour-long session and was the final rider to break the 1’22 barrier. The Spaniard’s time, however, left him just 0.011 seconds behind Pedrosa in third on the timesheets as he starts Round 9 from the final spot on the front row.
“It’s been a strong weekend so far,” said Lorenzo. “I’ve never felt great on this track but this weekend I’m riding fast and feeling comfortable. It was a pity at the end of qualifying that the soft tire didn’t improve anything so much. In the end I couldn’t make pole position but I think third position on the front row is a good place to start tomorrow for the race.”
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa continued to recover nicely from his injuries to post a front row start at the circuit he won last year.
San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli posted fourth on the grid and missed a front row start by only 0.010 seconds. The Italian was followed by Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who nabbed fifth in the charts at the circuit he placed eighth at last year. Italian Andrea Dovizioso trailed the American by just more than a tenth of a second, the final Repsol Honda rider running just less than half a second adrift of Stoner. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards will lead the third row in Germany after recording a lap of 1’22.368 for seventh in the order. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who earned seventh in last year’s race, posted eighth in qualifying with Frenchman Randy de Puniet rounding out the third row more than eight-tenths behind the leader. Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista placed 10th in the session, the 26-year-old coming within 0.101 seconds of De Puniet.
After starting from sixth on the grid at Sachsenring in 2010, Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera will begin back in 11th. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow has had a difficult start to his weekend after crashing out of ninth place toward the end of the session. This is the Brit’s first time at the German circuit, and it will be made more difficult as he starts from the back of Row 4 in 12th.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi didn’t get the start he was looking for at Sachsenring. Finishing the session in 16th, Rossi will have to begin at the back of the field in what is sure to be a difficult start for the Italian.
Sachsenring MotoGP Qualifying Results 2011:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’21.681
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’21.933
Valentino Rossi will start from the back of the field after posting 16th in Saturday’s qualifying session more than 1.6 seconds off the pace of Stoner.
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’21.944
4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’21.954
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’22.056
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’22.157
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’22.368
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’22.388
9. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1’22.503
10. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’22.604
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’22.676
12. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’22.676
13. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’23.164
14. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’23.201
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’23.248
16. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’23.320
17. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’24.707
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez earned his third pole of the season at Sachsenring after outpacing Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s Stefan Bradl by 0.129 seconds. Bradl held the lead during the first few minutes of the Moto2 qualifying session, but Pons HP 40’s Aleix Espargaro soon took over. In the final three minutes of qualifying, however, Marquez surfaced with a new fast lap which he immediately improved to take the top spot on Saturday. Espargaro rounded out the front row in third less than two-tenths adrift of Marquez as the field continues to run tightly with the top-six riders all within half a second of each other.
“We had some problems, but I think I am starting to understand this category, so it’s easier to find the good way,” said Marquez. “Now we have a good pace and we are on pole which is important because it is so difficult to pass at this track.”
Sachsenring Moto2 Qualifying Results 2011:
1. Marc Marquez (Suter) 1’24.733
Moto2’s Marc Marquez grabbed the fastest lap in the final three minutes of qualifying for his third pole of the season.
2. Stefan Bradl (Kalex) 1’24.862
3. Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex) 1’24.900
4. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’25.085
5. Julian Simon (Suter) 1’25.189
6. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’25.223
7. Xavier Simeon (Tech 3) 1’25.235
8. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’25.271
9. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) 1’25.304
10. Yonnu Hernandez (FTR) 1’25.310
11. Max Neukirchner (MZ-RE Honda) 1’25.379
12. Thomas Luthi (Suter) 1’25.434
13. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) 1’25.443
14. Pol Espargaro (FTR) 1’25.453
15. Randy Krummenacher (Kalex) 1’25.456