2011 Mugello MotoGP Qualifying Practice: Early Fast Lap Takes Pole In Rain-Stricken Qualifying

Results and summary of qualifying practice for the MotoGP class at Mugello:

Casey Stoner has taken pole for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, setting an early fast lap as the rain hit the Mugello circuit once again during a MotoGP weekend. After losing most of yesterday afternoon's session to the weather, the rain came in yet again on Saturday afternoon to call an early halt to proceedings, leaving the riders who made a fast lap early in the session well up the standings.

Marco Simoncelli made the early running, with Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner close to the Italian, but as the twenty minute mark approached, Stoner put in a scorching lap to take pole, smashing Valentino Rossi's record in the process, and even besting the fastest time of the weekend so far set by Jorge Lorenzo. Shortly after, the rain came, getting heavier as the session went on, destroying any hope of improvement on the grid, and leaving all of the riders sitting in the pits for most of the session.

The rain left Casey Stoner on pole, with Yamaha's Ben Spies behind him in 2nd, the Texan putting a fast lap in just before the rain started in earnest, just shading Marco Simoncelli into 3rd. Andrea Dovizioso will start from the head of the second row ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard looking annoyed that he could not capitalize on his fast time from the morning. Behind Lorenzo is a brace of Monster Tech 3 Yamahas, Colin Edwards impressive once again in 6th, his teammate Cal Crutchlow equally impressive in 7th, especially given that Crutchlow has never ridden the notoriously hard-to-learn circuit. 

Dani Pedrosa sits beside Crutchlow in 8th, with the Marlboro Ducati of Nicky Hayden rounding out the 3rd row. Behind Hayden sits an entire row of Ducatis, Hector Barbera ahead of Karel Abraham, and Valentino Rossi down in 12th, a major disappointment in his home race, at a track he loves.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'48.034    
2 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'48.479 0.445 0.445
3 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'48.485 0.451 0.006
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'48.694 0.660 0.209
5 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'48.756 0.722 0.062
6 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'48.974 0.940 0.218
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'49.021 0.987 0.047
8 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'49.398 1.364 0.377
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'49.509 1.475 0.111
10 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'49.663 1.629 0.154
11 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'49.678 1.644 0.015
12 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'49.902 1.868 0.224
13 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'50.156 2.122 0.254
14 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'50.460 2.426 0.304
15 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'50.651 2.617 0.191
16 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'50.742 2.708 0.091


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Lets hope for some good weather tomorrow, if dry, looks like we may have a good race. track looks super fast, I'm sure we would have seen 47's if not for the rain. Spies for two in a row?

Here is a link to the weather nearby Mugello http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Scarperia+Italy+ITTO2146. Their forecast has been accurate for Mugello so far. The prediction is for a clear sunny day for the whole of tomorrow.
It would be silly to predict the outcome of a race, however, I think Spies does not quite have the pace of Casey, Sic and Lorenzo. Of course what we do not know is how the rest of the session would have unfolded if the rain did not interrupt - perhaps Spies could have shown similar pace to the other three.
The faster times for Lorenzo and Sic in the morning were on soft rear tires and these times are very close to Casey's best lap.

Rossi looked absolutely dejected while sitting in the pits right before it rained. It seems his strength to keep putting on a positive face is waning. I personally feel gutted for him. I'm not his biggest fan, but it seems the gods (who are usually so favorable to him) have turned their back on him this year. It's a real shame for him and everybody.

I truly hope he gets his head around the Duc or the engineers can solve what he needs. A 9 times world champion being behind Barbera and Abraham (no slight to them) just doesn't seem right. Hopefully his racecraft can give him a smile by the end of the weekend!

Go Spies! He is gonna have his hands full with Sic and Stoner!

Nicky Hayden on 2011 vintage Duc slinging it around the track *faster* than
VR2012 (Vale Rossi on 2012) Duc!!
Yeah, I know, the 2012 800 cc is a work in progress, yada, yada, yada ...
and Vale is still getting acclimated to the Duc ..

Perhaps Nicky is picking up on Casey's comments as mentioned previously (courtesy of David!):

This was not the right direction, in Stoner's opinion, and he picked out Nicky Hayden as an example. "The biggest surprise for me this year has been Nicky," Stoner told reporters. "It seems like he was waiting for Valentino to come along and fix the bike and make it better for him to ride," Stoner explained, "but if Nicky just concentrated and rode like he did last year, he'd be having much better results than what he's had so far."

The Ducati, fiery Redhead that she is, has her own demands as to how she is to be riden !!

because Stoner's comments to Alex Hofmann about having found a setting that clicked on well used race rubber sounded ominous. He could've gone waay lower the a flat '48 if the weather didn't interrupt. Their speed is amazing. I remember attending the 1995 Italian GP and Mick turned mid '55s in qualifying.

Cmon' Jorge now's the time to show us your world champion class and make a run in this championship. That Yamaha still looks plenty good enough to me. Mugello has a history of providing good racing. Allah knows 2011 need it!

If it stays dry tomorrow the Ducatistas wont have anything to cheer about. Even if Sic kicks himself + some poor lad riding in the crashing line out of the competition there are still at least 1 or 2 Hondas and 3 or 4 Yamahas in front that are out of reach.

But if it rains ..., all bets are of. For some reasons the Duke works in the rain (except of course in Strugglestone). Just think about an all Duke podium!!

who are the riders to the other two yamaha's? crutchlow and edwards? Both hurting.. I would like to see how they do in the distant part of the race.. I see them running up close to the front pack then falling off.

If Ben can shadow the Hondas until the last third of the race I think he has a good chance for another win.

I hope Marco finally makes the podium this week (just behind Ben of course).

As long as it`s dry i can not see anyone beating CS in the race. But lets hope for
a good close race tomorrow even if Stoner does `check out` at the front.
After earlier practise, i thought Bautista and Suzuki were going to show stronger
in qualifying but sadly that was not the case.
As for the leading Ducati 1.5secs off the pace and Rossi nearly 1.9secs down on Stoner, they must be bitterly disappointed with their results so far this weekend
at their home circuit.
Crutchlow has well surpassed what i thought he could do this season, and a top six place is possible for the race as long as he keeps it shiny side up.

... are not a new phenomenon - just that no one bothered to pay attention to Stoner's comments in the past. This is what our local rag reported after Aragon last year: "With the Hungarian round scrubbed due to the new circuit not being built, round 13 of the championship was held at Motorland Aragon in Spain. But that was not an unlucky number for Ducati. Finally the team realised that fiddling around with chassis stiffness ratios and small chassis adjustments was not the way to go. Instead, they made the changes one would have expected from a professional team much, much sooner. Instead of tinkering at the edges, they took drastic steps, and Stoner promptly put the Ducati on pole and ran away with the race."
Are any of the Ducati riders at Mugello using that winning set-up?

as much as i am a stoner fan boy, looking at the doctor in his garage during qualifying had me feeling sorry and hoping that he and ducati will find something soon...in good time too!i wish though that he may just give due credit where its been deservedly earned by the erstwhile ducati winner, rather than the contrary. that said, may the gods of racing look favorably upon the ingenuity of the small factory called ducati and smile once again at the legend known as valentino rossi. we need good, close racing and he guarantees that in abundance on his good (and even not so good) day...

Here's some food for thought...I went over to MotoGP.com and compared the times from 2010 and 2011 @ Mugello. Last year for Ducati, Stoner's best lap was a 1:49.432 in QP. This year, Rossi's best time was 1:49.459 in the morning warm up. As for the Hondas, last year Pedrosa (Pole sitter and race winner) posted a 148.819 in QP while this year, Stoner (also pole sitter) posted a 14.034 in QP.

Now for an "apples-to-apples" comparison: last year for Ducati, a healthy Nicky Hayden qualified 4th on the grid with a 1:49.546. This year, a still-healthy Nicky Hayden qualified 9th on the grid with a 1:49.509. It seems to me that what we are seeing this year is that Honda has made gains over the past 12 months while Ducati has only managed to stay the same, in spite of significant activity in terms of factory development.

I meant to say "Stoner (also pole sitter) posted a 1:48.034. Sorry...poor proof reading on my part before posting.