Grey skies threatened rain, but unlike earlier practice sessions the track remained mostly dry for MotoGP qualifying at the Jerez circuit. Qatar winner Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha Factory Racing secured pole position by a fraction of a second over fellow Spainard Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda. Scoring the final spot in the front row was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden in third. Reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner qualified fifth, while Valentino Rossi languished in 13th.
Though there was no rain during the session, the remnants of earlier downpours lingered, making conditions precarious for the riders. “We are very happy with this pole position because it was a strange session,” said Lorenzo. “There were a lot of water patches and it was very dangerous. You had to pay a lot of attention, it would have been easy to crash and get injured.”
Lorenzo and Pedrosa exchanged position a number of times before the end of the session, but the 1’39.532 lap time set by the Yamaha ace secured his second consecutive pole position in 2012 MotoGP. Pedrosa improved his start position dramatically from Qatar where he lined up in seventh. Hayden pushed from the middle of the pack late in the session making him the only Ducati rider in the top ten.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow led for much of the first half and was able to stay in good position taking fourth place from defending world champion Stoner of Repsol Honda. Crutchlow crashd his bike with 18 minutes remaining, and though unharmed, was unable to regain his top position. “That was quite an eventful session to say the least,” commented Crutchlow, ” I’ve got to be happy with fourth position considering I had the crash. I made a silly little mistake because I hit one of the damp patches and crashed out. It was a high-side but I wasn’t even on the throttle.” Stoner led the pack for a brief period as well but soon lost it to Lorenzo.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies secured a second row start position, finishing sixth, after pushing hard in the final laps. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista came out strong and held top four positions early on, but fell to seventh and eighth respectively. LCR Honda Moto GP’s Stefan Bradl followed in ninth while CRT rider Randy De Puniet of Power Electronics Aspar rounds out the top ten.
The dry conditions seemed to thwart the pace Ducati’s Rossi had set coming out of practice rounds. The Doctor managed to place 13th in qualifying – the slowest factory bike and bested by CRT rider De Puniet.
Yonny Hernandez of Avinta Blusens, Michele Pirro of San Carlo Honda Gresini , Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards each separately crashed during the session, but none were seriously injured and all but Edwards were able to place in the top 17.
2012 MotoGP Jerez Qualifying Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’39.532
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’39.667
3. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’40.563
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’40.570
5. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’40.577
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’41.090
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1’41.180
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’41.447
9. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’41.550
10. Randy De Puniet (ART) 1’41.700
11. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’41.724
12. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’41.871
13. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’42.961
14. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’43.135
15. Michele Pirro (FTR) 1’43.363
16. Mattia Pasini (ART) 1’44.308
17. Yonny Hernandez (BQR) 1’44.467
18. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda) 1’44.645
19. Ivan Silva (BQR) 1’44.717
20. James Ellison (ART) 1’45.724
21. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1’46.200