News 6 Jun 2010

MotoGP: Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner lead way at Mugello

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa scored pole at Mugello overnight.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa scored pole at Mugello overnight.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will start the 2010 Gran Premio d’Italia TIM from pole position, his second of the season, after a superb late lap deposed current championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo, from the top of the timesheet.

“It’s great to take pole here,” declared Pedrosa. “We’ve been working very hard through free practice and in qualifying this afternoon to improve things from yesterday.

“We’ve achieved this, so I’m satisfied. Lorenzo will be the man to beat tomorrow, but we are confident that we are in better shape than for the last race in Le Mans. I think it will be a fun race tomorrow.”

Lorenzo had taken provisional pole position with ten minutes of the session remaining, becoming the first rider of the weekend to get under the 1:49 barrier by four-thousandths of a second, but Pedrosa’s effort means Lorenzo will go for his third straight win of the campaign from second position on the grid tomorrow.

“I am very happy about how my bike is feeling at Mugello,” said Lorenzo. “I have a good race pace, the Bridgestone tyres feel good and I think I can make a fight tomorrow.”

Joining the Spanish duo on the front row will be Casey Stoner, who overcame problems with his Ducati Desmosedici that have plagued him all weekend to jump up from ninth to third in the final moments of this afternoon’s qualifying session, knocking his team-mate, Nicky Hayden, back to the second row of the grid.

“I’d love to say we’re ready for the race tomorrow, but the reality is we’re far from it,” explained Stoner. “It was a bit if a banzai lap in qualifying to be honest; we still need to find around six tenths if we are to be competitive with Jorge and Dani tomorrow.

“But, if we can find something in warm-up, then we could be in a good position.”

Hayden will start alongside Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet, who both enjoyed a positive qualifying session at a sun-drenched Mugello this afternoon.

Ben Spies will start his first MotoGP race at Mugello from seventh place, after an impressive weekend learning yet another new circuit, and Andrea Dovizioso will also be on the third row for his home race.

Aleix Espargaró continued to improve on his satellite Pramac Ducati to claim ninth place, his best qualifying position to date, while another rookie, Hiroshi Aoyama, rounded out the top ten.

A notable absence from the session was Valentino Rossi. The reigning World Champion was taken to hospital earlier in the day after a crash in the morning practice, and will have an operation this evening on a fractured right tibia.

“I didn’t see Rossi’s crash, but what I’ve heard about the injury doesn’t sound good,” said Pedrosa. “I just hope the operation goes well for him, because the first operation is always the most important.”

Andrea Iannone gave the home crowd something to cheer about at Mugello today, by taking pole position for the Moto2 race at the Italian circuit after a hectic qualifying session.

Iannone’s lap of 1:55.598 secured him the fourth pole of his career – his first in the new intermediate category – by a margin of 0.260s.

Joining him on the front row will be current championship leader Toni Elías who put in a hot final lap of the session to rise to second, having been much further down the timesheet for most of practice and qualifying.

Alex de Angelis and Jules Cluzel were separated by just five-hundredths of a second in third and fourth, as they completed the front row.

Shoya Tomizawa, who is lying second in the overall standings and 18 points off Elías going into tomorrow’s race, will lead the second row after setting the fifth best time, with Sergio Gadea, Gabor Talmacsi and Axel Pons also inside the top eight. Talmacsi had a fall towards the end of the session, which severely damaged his bike, but left the former 125cc World Champion uninjured

Thomas Lüthi and Julián Simón also set top-ten times, with the latter sliding out at the very end of the session but returning to his bike immediately.

Sandro Cortese will start tomorrow’s 125cc race from pole position, after stealing the number one slot on the grid from Pol Espargaró right at the end of this afternoon’s qualifying session. Espargaró was unable to respond, having crashed without injury with just ten minutes of the session left to run.

Bancaja Aspar team-mates Bradley Smith and current World Championship leader Nico Terol complete the front row, as both came within three-tenths of the top time.

Randy Krummenacher, Marc Márquez, Esteve Rabat and Efrén Vázquez will all be present on the second row after good qualification performances, although Vázquez experienced a fall at the very end of the session.

Johann Zarco and Tomoyoshi Koyama were inside the top ten, with British rider Danny Webb 13th. There were crashes for Adrián Martín and Luigi Morciano.

Click here for detailed results

Dani Pedrosa: “It’s great to be on pole here and we’ve been working very hard through free practice and in qualifying this afternoon to improve things from yesterday. We have achieved this, so I’m satisfied. Being on the front row is the important thing and we have to keep our concentration because to win the race is the target – we have to make it tomorrow! We were pushing very hard right to the end of the session and we were able to do a good final lap, but the most important factor is that we’ve been able to be consistent too. Lorenzo will be the man to beat tomorrow, but we are confident, the machine is working better here and we are in better shape than the last race in Le Mans . So tomorrow for the race we hope to maintain our performance right to the end. We still have to improve our race pace a little but I’m feeling very well here, I like this circuit, and I think it will be a fun race with a great atmosphere created by the fans. I didn’t see Rossi’s crash, but what I’ve heard about the injury doesn’t sound good. It’s a pity because all of us riders know how you feel when you are hurt, and I just hope that the operation goes well for him because the first operation is always the most important.”

Randy de Puniet: “I am a bit disappointed because I had the potential to start from the front row but I did lose some time at the end of my best flying lap because somebody crashed in front of me and after that I made a small mistake on turn five. We could have improved a couple of tenths there. Anyway considering the overall package we are very pleased about this fourth consecutive second row. We still have to fix something about the race tyres because we had some small grip issues on the maximum angle in this afternoon session but it looks like everybody has to face the same problem on race set-up.”

Andrea Dovizioso: “This morning we did a good job, improved the performance from yesterday and we finished second on the timesheets. In the afternoon however, the track conditions changed and, even though I pushed very hard, I couldn’t use all the potential of the bike. The gap to Dani and Lorenzo has increased a bit and unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the soft tyre at its best, which means tomorrow we will start from the third row. This is an area where I have to improve because starting in this position makes things more difficult for the race. Anyway I’m still confident for tomorrow. If we can stay with the front group of riders I think we can make a good race. Mugello is a very special place and I’m sure the Italian fans will give me an extra boost for the race. It’s a real shame about Valentino’s injury. It’s always very bad when a rider crashes like this and I’m very sorry for him. I wish him a quick recovery and send him all the best.”

Hiroshi Aoyama: “Today we finished in the top ten. This was a really good qualifying for us. We still have to be even stronger and have to keep improving, but the set-up and the bike did work well today and I was able to fight from the beginning. We learnt to understand the bike during this session better. I hope we will have a similar good or even better race tomorrow.”

Marco Simoncelli: “This afternoon went much better than yesterday and this morning. You could say we have finally seen the light and now we hope to improve a little more for tomorrow. I am satisfied and happy. At the end of the technical debrief we will make a few decisions about the plan for tomorrow’s warm-up and try to gain a few more tenths. The circuit and the atmosphere are both fantastic here, the only bad thing is the bumps. Obviously the incident with Valentino will take away from the show. Ever since I began watching racing I’ve never seen a race without him in it. I’m really gutted for him and all I can say is ‘get well soon’.”

Marco Melandri: “That was a really bad session for us and since we arrived at Mugello we haven’t found anything to make even the slightest improvement. We started out badly and only got worse. It will be a difficult race tomorrow but in the warm-up we’ll try again to find something. At the moment I’m not very confident and it will be difficult for me to even fight for the top six.”

Casey Stoner: “To start from front row is always a positive thing but even if I’d love to say this lap time shows we’re ready to race tomorrow, we’re far from it. To be competitive with Jorge and Dani and to run with them consistently we’re going to have to find six tenths at least. We’ve been trying a lot of things, including going back to last year’s forks, which I’ve got a lot of feedback from, but now we are just trying to get the bike turning well and reacting well over the bumps, things like that. Qualifying doesn’t really reflect our race pace – it was a bit of a banzai lap to be honest! Having said that we’ve got to be happy with a front row start and if we can find something tomorrow in warm-up we’re in a good position. We have some work to do tonight – I’m going to sit down with the team and see what we can come up with for the race. I feel sorry for Valentino because all three guys on the front row know what it’s like to be injured and miss races. It will be hard for him to even train so I wish him all the best with his recovery.”

Nicky Hayden: “Things haven’t been silky smooth in free practice and qualifying was tough too – I really had to dig deep and take a few chances because here on the Ducati I qualified at the back last year and I’d rather have crashed than do that again. So we went for it and almost got on the front row. Considering how the weekend has gone fourth is not a disaster but we need to make it better in the warm-up. The team has done a good job but still we need to soak up the bumps a little better because this track has got really bumpy in a few places. The good thing is our engine is really fast and that’s going to be important tomorrow. We’ll try our best and just give everything for those Ducati fans, I’m looking forward to seeing them out there. It’s a real bummer about Valentino because on the track he’s a warrior. He’s good for the racing, he’s good for the show and even though he never makes it easy for us we all respect him and nobody wants to see a colleague in pain like that. I’m sorry for him and his fans and just wish him to get well soon.”

Colin Edwards: “I’m back! And it feels so good to be back up near the front where I know I belong. In the early part of the season I knew I hadn’t forgotten how to ride a bike but nothing was really working and it has been a struggle. The first three races have been terrible but reverting back to last year’s set-up that we know works has given me a massive confidence boost and at least I know I’m not slowing down in my old age. It is still hard work but I certainly think it’s easier than the start to the season. I just feel way more comfortable, particularly with the front-end of the bike and at one stage I thought a place on the front row to wasn’t going to be out of the question. I could push like I wanted to and I feel confident for the race tomorrow. I’m ready for a fight and a good battle because all this year it feels like I’ve just been riding around and not being very fast. I feel sorry for Valentino and Yamaha and I wish him a speedy recovery because the championship is not the same without him.”

Ben Spies: “Coming to a track that is as different as Mugello, I’m quite happy with today having been so close to the second row. I’m a little upset because I did make a few mistakes on the fast lap and left a couple of tenths out there, which would have got me on the second row. But to be in the top eight with the limited track time I’ve had, I’m really happy and after Jerez and Le Mans it was good to bounce back and get back to normal. Now we’ll look at some data and try to figure out where to go faster. There are a couple places where I think I’m doing the wrong thing but overall it was good session . I definitely didn’t get the most out of the softer tyres but I stepped up a bit in qualifying and it wasn’t like I did that lap time on a perfect lap. But that happens and I’ll try and get a good start and stay in there on the first few laps and let the race come in and put my head down. It’s a shame for the championship and for Yamaha that Valentino is injured but I’m sure we’ll see him back soon and just as hard to beat.”

Loris Capirossi: “It’s been tough today, because a setting we found this morning didn’t work at all in the warmer temperatures this afternoon and we had a little problem with one of the bikes and we couldn’t use it. Overall we tried very hard today, but it just didn’t happen, so we will need to do something in warm-up tomorrow to make things better. I am upset with my position on the grid, but I think I can do much better than that in the race tomorrow and I will be going full-out to show it!”

Álvaro Bautista: “In this race I am fighting more with the pain than with other riders! I am still in a lot of pain and I can’t ride like I want to. I am not able to change direction quickly because I need more strength to do it quicker and I just don’t have that in my left side. I need to use all my body to change direction and this is very difficult and tiring. It is good that I can still ride though, I am three of four seconds off the pace but it is important to me to find some confidence and feeling in the bike. For the race I will do my best and try to finish. I need to get to the end of the race and get the full distance in and if that happens I might even manage to score some points.”

More to come.