Honda’s Casey Stoner set the fastest pace during qualifying at Aragon by nearly three-tenths ahead of Dani Pedrosa.
Australian Casey Stoner returned to the top of the timesheets on Saturday following a strong push near the end of qualifying at Aragon. The Repsol Honda rider secured pole position in the final 13 minutes after running off the track and tipping his bike over, forcing him to use his second bike for the remainder of the session. In the end the championship leader broke the 1’49 barrier and set a new lap record as his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished 0.296 seconds behind for second on the grid.
“It was a very eventful qualifying session for us,” remarked Stoner. “Everything has been going very well this weekend, we have a good feeling with the bike and I’m feeling great.”
Meanwhile Yamaha’s Ben Spies saw much improvement in his lap times from Friday, the American rounding out the front row for Sunday’s race after crashing in practice and finishing 0.408 seconds behind Pedrosa during qualifying.
“The whole weekend has been pretty good for me, I’m pretty happy with it,” said Spies. “We struggled a little bit this morning but the bike’s working really well. We looked over a bit of data and tried to find the best compromise. We found it with 30 minutes to go in qualifying and with the race tyres we were about third or fourth quickest. When we put the softer tyres on we were able to go quicker and get on the front row.”
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo will start from fourth on the grid after running just more than a tenth behind his Yamaha teammate. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso followed the Spaniard in fifth and was the final rider to come
Yamaha’s Ben Spies will make an appearance on the front row after securing third place in qualifying ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.
within a second of Stoner during the day. San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli snagged sixth in the order 0.156 seconds behind Dovi. American Nicky Hayden was the fastest Ducati rider of the day with his lap of 1’49.752, which leaves the Kentucky Kid more than 1.3 seconds behind Stoner in seventh.
Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and San Carlo Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama secured eighth and ninth respectively on the grid to round out the third row. Frenchman Randy de Puniet landed 10th in the order 1.375 seconds adrift after suffering a late run-off, with Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista just 0.057 seconds behind. Next in the charts was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who finished the session just 0.010 seconds ahead of Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. The Italian suffered a crash during the first 15 minutes but returned with more than half the session remaining to post a best lap of 1’49.960, leaving him more than a second and a half off the pace.
“I must say that we were a little unfortunate today, because I think we had good potential and that we deserved something better,” Rossi said. “Although the fall was quite ordinary, it hurt us, and then at the end, I made a little mistake with the second soft tyre and ran wide. Otherwise, I could have cut a bit more time, and it wouldn’t have taken much to start closer to the front.”
Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’48.451
After crashing during qualifying Valentino Rossi will have to use his seventh engine on Sunday and start from pit lane.
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’48.747
3. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’49.155
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’49.270
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’49.372
6. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’49.528
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’49.752
8. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’49.777
9. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’49.813
10. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1’49.826
11. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’49.883
12. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’49.893
13. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’49.960
14. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’49.976
15. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’50.105
16. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’50.752
17. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’51.073
For the second day in a row Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez dominated the Moto2 field after finishing more than half a second ahead in the timesheets during qualifying. With a lap of 1’53.296, the Spaniard had the lead time for the entire session and will start from the front row at his home race.
“The practice went very well,” said Marquez. “I have felt very comfortable all weekend and in qualifying I was able to do a very good lap, but especially to keep a very fast pace that allows me to be confident for tomorrow.”
Mapfre Aspar’s Julian Simon placed second on the grid as the Italian was 0.684 seconds behind the leader after crashing near the end of the session. Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding will round out the front row for the first time this season after finishing just 0.024 seconds behind Simon. Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s Stefan Bradl will head the second row effort after the German rider finished 0.779 seconds adrift of Marquez in the timesheets. Bradl currently has the lead in the Moto2 series by 23 points but has been coming under severe pressure by Marquez in the last few rounds. Meanwhile JiR Moto2’s Alex de Angelis and Pons HP 40’s Aleix Espargaro wil round out the second row in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Marc Marquez: “The new swingarm I am using makes things easier, especially turning. So far everything looks okay, but we will see how the grip feels in warm-up, because it looks like there’s some wind and weather coming.”
Aragon Moto2 Qualifying Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Suter) 1’53.296
2. Julian Simon (Suter) 1’53.980
3. Scott Redding (Suter) 1’54.004
4. Stefan Bradl (Kalex) 1’54.075
5. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’54.174
6. Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex) 1’54.220
7. Jules Cluzel (Suter) 1’54.289
8. Pol Espargaro (FTR) 1’54.358
9. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’54.385
10. Andrea Iannone (Suter) 1’54.390
11. Thomas Luthi (Suter) 1’54.413
12. Simone Corsi (FTR) 1’54.518
13. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’54.574
14. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) 1’54.599
15. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) 1’54.619