Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

2009 Catalunya 250cc Qualifying Practice Result - Pipped At The Post

Results of the 250cc Qualifying Practice at Barcelona:

Pepe World's Hector Barbera snatched pole away from title favorite and fellow Spaniard Alvaro Bautista in the final minutes of qualifying for tomorrow's 250cc race at Barcelona, after Bautista had looked to have it firmly in the bag. Bautista in turn had taken the fastest time from Gilera's Marco Simoncelli, but after a crash at Turn 1, Simoncelli lost too much time to put in a concerted attack on pole. The Italian still ended up in 3rd, and on the front row.

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2009 Catalunya 125cc Qualifying Practice Result - Front Row Surprises Galore

Results and summary of Qualifying for the 125cc class at the Catalunya Grand Prix:

The polesitter for the 125cc race may not be a surprise, but the rest of the front row is almost shocking. Julian Simon dominated the session, as he has for most of the year, taking the top time early and improving throughout qualifying. His dominance was challenged but not bested by Pol Espargaro, the local boy on the local bike, but the Derbi rider came just 2/100ths of a second short of taking pole from Simon.

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2009 Catalunya 250cc FP2 Result - Bautista Leads Italian Pair

Alvaro Bautista was fastest in the final session of free practice for the 250cc class at Catalunya, retaking the lead in the final seconds of the session. Bautista pushed Mattia Pasini, the previous leader, down into 2nd place, after the Italian had looked like holding the top spot to the end. Marco Simoncelli finished 3rd fastest, ahead of Hector Barbera.

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2009 Catalunya MotoGP FP2 Result - Lorenzo Smashes Lap Record And Crushes The Field

Jorge Lorenzo destroyed the competition during the second session of free practice, with a final five minutes in which he smashed the race lap record and put in a run faster than anyone else on track. With nearly 5 minutes left in the session, Lorenzo first took pole from team mate Rossi, taking nearly 0.6 seconds off the Italian, then dropped under 1'42 with a lap of 1'41.899. To put that into perspective, last year, that time would have put the Spaniard in 7th place on the grid, ahead of 12 other riders all using the now abolished super-sticky qualifying tires.

Andrea Dovizioso set the 2nd fastest time, jumping ahead of Valentino Rossi in the final minutes of the session, though the Repsol Honda rider had been quick for much of practice. Rossi was left down in 3rd, just under a second slower than his team mate and now title rival Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi had taken the lead in the second half of the session, and led until usurped by his team mate.

Dani Pedrosa finished in 4th, the Spaniard managing his pain much better than yesterday, when he was well down the order. Pedrosa even led in the first half of practice, until Rossi took the top spot away.

Strange things happening over at Ducati, however. Casey Stoner was a lowly - for Stoner - 7th on the timesheets, and was never a factor, even spending a large part of FP2 outside the top 10. Likewise, Nicky Hayden's gains from yesterday seemed to have disappeared into thin air, languishing down in 17th place until the final minutes, when he leapt up the standings to eventually finish 10th. Hayden was once again not the second fastest Ducati, as Niccolo Canepa found a little something to take him up to 9th spot. The Pramac rider had been pretty fast all session, so it was a clear improvement.

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2009 Catalunya 125cc FP2 Result - Simon Dominates Again

Julian Simon's domination of practice continues in Catalunya, pretty much as it has done since the start of the season. Simon was 0.627 than the closest rider, Scott Redding, the British Blusens rider spoiling the Spanish party. Just 0.01 seconds behind Redding, KTM's Marc Marquez and the Aprilia of Nicolas Terol took 3rd and 4th respectively, despite being tied on time.

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Aspar "Will Be In MotoGP In '10". But On What Bikes?

Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar team, has made his desire to field a team in MotoGP almost deafeningly clear. The former 80cc and 125cc World Champion has been trying for the past two years to line up a team in the premier class, coming tantalizingly close at the end of 2009 with Kawasaki, the deal finally falling through over arguments about what nationality the rider would be.

But in 2010, Martinez will finally achieve his ambition. After a press conference held with Mapfre, the Spanish insurance giant which sponsors the 250cc team, Martinez told the Spanish sports daily El Mundo Deportivo that he will definitely be in MotoGP with one machine in 2010, and a two-bike team in 2011.

Taken at face value, that's good news, but there is reason to treat the announcement with a sizable pinch of salt. Martinez told El Mundo Deportivo that he wanted to make the announcement here in Barcelona, even though he did not yet know which manufacturer he will be leasing bikes from next year. Going through the list of possibilities, even a single bike for Aspar's MotoGP project looks ambitious, if not entirely impossible. Honda has repeatedly said it will not provide any more than the 6 machines it already has on the MotoGP grid; Suzuki has said it cannot afford to increase its involvement, even admitting that they had come close to pulling out of MotoGP during the winter; Ducati has already expanded its delegation from 4 to 5 bikes, and that was only because of the demise of the Bridgestone test team after the introduction of the single tire rule; and Kawasaki has already withdrawn from the series, leaving just the rump of Hayate - despite Marco Melandri's outstanding results on the underdeveloped machine.

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2009 Catalunya 250cc FP1 Result - Debon Snatches Top Spot In Dying Seconds

Alex Debon set the fastest time in the first session of free practice for the 250cc class at Barcelona, but he only did so in the last few seconds of the session. Debon had swapped the lead earlier in the session with Alvaro Bautista and Mattia Pasini, but the Spanish veteran eventually came out on top with his last-lap flyer.

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2009 Catalunya MotoGP FP1 Result - Rossi Takes First Blood In Fiat Yamaha Duel

Valentino Rossi set the fastest time in a fascinating and surprising first session of free practice, but that was one of the least surprising aspects of the whole weekend. Rossi and Fiat Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo swapped the lead a number of times, but Rossi comfortably took the top spot by firing in an incredibly fast lap with 5 minutes of the session left. Lorenzo closed the gap in the final minutes, from half a second to just over 3/10ths, but could not match the Italian's pace. Casey Stoner was 3rd fastest, going fast despite a crash with a quarter of the session left, lowsiding out unhurt at the tight La Caixa corner.

A top 3 of Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner is hardly a surprise, but behind them, things were hugely shaken up. Andrea Dovizioso in 4th is to be expected, but Randy de Puniet's 5th spot is an impressive showing on the LCR Honda, while Nicky Hayden's 6th fastest time is almost downright shocking. Prior to the MotoGP round at Barcelona, Hayden told the press that he would be trying a radically revised setup to his Ducati GP9, and it looks like it has worked. Hayden was well inside the top 10 for most of the session, and was seen with a broad smile on his face in the pits after the session, the first time that's happened for a long time. It's very early days to be passing judgment, but so far the changes seem to have worked for Hayden.

Loris Capirossi continued his run of decent form, finishing 7th ahead of Colin Edwards, while Edwards' Tech 3 Yamaha team mate James Toseland built on his strong result at Mugello, taking 10th place.

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2009 Catalunya 125cc FP1 Result - Simon Off To A Strong Start

Julian Simon dominated the first session of free practice for the 125cc at Barcelona. Simon was quickest for most of the session, only briefly ceding the top of the timesheets to Marc Marquez and Nicolas Terol before snatching the fastest time back again. Fellow Spaniard and Aspar team mate Sergio Gadea was second, nearly half a second off, ahead of Nicolas Terol and Pol Espargaro.

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