Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa earned his fifth pole position of the season during qualifying at Valencia, setting the best lap time ever at the Spanish circuit. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo posted the second-fastest time and Pedrosa’s teammate, Casey Stoner, rounds out the front row.
“It was almost a perfect lap and I gave 100% because I knew I wouldn’t be able to improve any more as the tires were very good for the first lap and then the drop in grip was quite severe,” said Pedrosa. “I’m very happy with the pole position and the new record because Valentino’s old record was done with qualifying tires. We had only one dry session to test the new asphalt and we saw that the grip level is a little better but the tyres dropped down very quick.”
Conditions were much improved during qualifying compared to the dreary, wet practice sessions that kept many riders in the pits on Friday. Most were able to make up for lost time during the first half of the session, testing tires and set-up configurations in the dry rather than push for fast laps. Toward the end of qualifying it was mainly a battle between Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner, though LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also had brief showings within the top-three.
Crutchlow heads up the second row, followed by Bradl in fifth. Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso was sixth-fastest while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden will start from seventh position on Sunday. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista held to eighth with Pramac Racing Team’s Hector Barbera and Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar taking ninth and 10th respectively.
Leading the CRT effort, Espargaro only needs to finish ahead of his teammate, Randy de Puniet, to earn the highest overall placement among Claiming Rules riders for the season. De Puniet has an 11 point deficit to make up if he hopes to take the honor for himself.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi struggled to find a suitable pace and qualified in 11th position. He was followed by de Puniet in 12th and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham in 13th. Other notable placements came from Japanese test rider and replacement to the injured Ben Spies, Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who will start from 16th. Nakasuga contested the 2011 round at Valencia and managed to place sixth in a wet-weather battle. Former MotoGP rider turned World Superbike pilot, Hiroshi Aoyama, is filling in for Yonny Hernandez on the Avintia Blusens team and qualified a disappointing 21st.
MotoGP Valencia Qualifying Results 2012:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’30.844
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’31.195
3. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’31.428
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’31.512
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’31.757
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1’31.795
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’32.503
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’32.585
9. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’32.605
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’32.834
11. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’32.877
12. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’33.346
13. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’33.442
14. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1’33.453
15. Michele Pirro (FTR) 1’33.971
16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 1’33.979
17. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’33.980
18. Ivan Silva (BQR) 1’34.407
19. Roberto Rolfo (ART) 1’34.866
20. James Ellison (ART) 1’34.918
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (BQR) 1’35.363
22. Claudio Corti (Inmotec) 1’36.531