Dani Pedrosa earned his second pole position of the season at Mugello by a slim margin over Jorge Lorenzo.
MotoGP riders enjoyed another clear, sunny day at Mugello as they took to the track for Saturday’s qualifying session. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa posted a masterful lap time of 1’47.284, taking his second pole position of the season. Current championship points leader Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha Factory Racing posted the second-fastest time and Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera rounds out the all-Spanish front row.
“We definitely made another step forward today and to get the pole position here is great, although to always be on the front row is what really matters to me,” said Pedrosa. “It will be a very hard race for sure, it’s very hot out there and the race pace will be also very high looking at the lap times this afternoon. I’m quite happy with the set up of my bike, we’ve had better grip today and I’m pretty confident, but we have to keep very focused and push at the maximum because Lorenzo has an incredible pace.”
Lorenzo dominated much of the session, until in the final minutes when Pedrosa started to set consistent 1’47 lap times. The Honda rider notched his winning lap on the final pass, earning pole and honors for the best lap at the Italian circuit. Lorenzo pulled into the pits just before the end of the session, visibly frustrated and missing out on one final lap before time expired. Barbera posted his best qualifying result of the season so far, earning his first front-row start.
“In the lap before the last I felt a loss of power in some corners,” explained Lorenzo. “On the final lap I was red until the last corner then I felt the power drop much more so I had to enter the pits and stop. I made some good laps, although not completely perfect and I felt I could make a better one. It’s going to be a very tough race for everyone so we have to stay calm and save some energy for the end.”
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden heads up the second row followed by Pedrosa’s teammate and defending world champion Casey Stoner in fifth. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow maintained the sixth-fastest time.
Hayden continued to assert his presence at the front of the pack at Mugello, coming out of practice sessions where he finished with a third-place lap time. Stoner, a consistent contender for pole position all season, missed the front row for only the second time this season. Crutchlow sat as high as second place during qualifying, but also went down and slid into the gravel at one point late in the session. The British rider showed he has the chops to keep pace with Lorenzo and Pedrosa out front, if he’s able to remain upright through the race come Sunday.
Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso will start from the third row, followed by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl in eighth and Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies in ninth. All three riders held top three times during the session and will be well within striking range of a podium finish in the main event. Spies encountered difficulty similar to Crutchlow, going down in the same turn as the Tech 3 rider. Luckily both Yamaha pilots were unharmed.
“I’m a little bit disappointed because I made a silly mistake pushing too hard too soon on a brand new front tire,” Crutchlow said after the session. “Maybe it hadn’t reached optimum working temperature but it was a stupid mistake and it cost me at least the front row.”
As in practice, lap times were incredibly close, with just fractions of a second separating qualifying position and the top nine riders with laps within 0.865 of Pedrosa’s winning pace.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro leads the CRT field in 12th with teammate Randy de Puniet following in 13th. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards struggled once again to keep pace and sits in 19th going into Sunday’s race, a disappointing placement for the rider who went into the Italian round optimistic that changes to his machine would put him in contention to lead the CRTs.
2012 MotoGP Mugello Qualifying Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’47.284
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’47.423
3. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’47.545
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’47.671
5. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’47.689
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’47.749
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1’47.751
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’47.857
9. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’48.149
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’48.502
11. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’48.894
12. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’49.387
13. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’49.450
14. Michele Pirro (FTR) 1’50.263
15. Yonny Hernandez (BQR) 1’50.610
16. James Ellison (ART) 1’50.812
17. Mattia Pasini (ART) 1’50.953
18. Ivan Silva (BQR) 1’51.242
19. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1’51.348
20. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda) 1’51.473