2009 Brno MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result - Pole Record Beaten Without Qualifiers

Results and recap of qualifying practice for the MotoGP class at Brno:

Valentino Rossi took pole in the MotoGP class at Brno, getting under the existing pole record set on a 990cc Yamaha with qualifiers. The Italian edged out his team mate Jorge Lorenzo, who had previously got close to the pole record on a bike set up in race trim. Lorenzo took a shot at beating Rossi's pole mark, but misjudged the final laps on softer tires, failing to pit for fresh rubber. Rossi also had a go at beating his pole time, but a surprise crash while on a hot lap left him no time to return to the pits and try again.

Dani Pedrosa completes the unsurprising front row, still relatively close to the two Yamahas, but behind Pedrosa, the gaps start to grow. Toni Elias was 4th fastest, ahead of Colin Edwards and Andrea Dovizioso. No one else was within a second of polesitter Rossi.

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1'56.145    
2 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'56.195 0.050 0.050
3 3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'56.528 0.383 0.333
4 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'56.817 0.672 0.289
5 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'56.954 0.809 0.137
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'57.108 0.963 0.154
7 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 1'57.775 1.630 0.667
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'57.803 1.658 0.028
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 1'57.811 1.666 0.008
10 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 1'57.994 1.849 0.183
11 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1'58.087 1.942 0.093
12 88 Niccolo CANEPA DUCATI 1'58.208 2.063 0.121
13 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1'58.298 2.153 0.090
14 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 1'58.331 2.186 0.033
15 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 1'58.477 2.332 0.146
16 84 Michel FABRIZIO DUCATI 1'58.680 2.535 0.203
17 41 Gabor TALMACSI HONDA 1'58.749 2.604 0.069
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Now that there are no qualifiers (tires), what exactly is the difference between a "race trim" and the "trim" that is used during qualifying?

In Brno, for various reasons including the abrasive surface, it seems that the harder of the two Bridgestone compounds will be used during the race by most riders. But what if, let's say, the weather were unusually cool, which might necessitate the use of the softer tire? In such a scenario, what exactly would differentiate a bike in "race trim" vs. qualifying?

Are the engines tuned to a higher spec? If so, to what extent? (We would be talking about manipulating the electronics at this point, yes? As the engines for the race are already "sealed?")

Is anything else different? Chassis? Suspension? Brake pads? Would there be different chassis/suspension settings given that there are no separate qualifiers? (Were distinct chassis/suspension settings required when there were qualifiers?)

Wondering, when Lorenzo talks about his hope that his fast race pace (during practices) might possibly allow him to get away in the race, given that Rossi has now established a faster "pace" during qualifying, what, other than tire compounds, would still account for the assumption that Lorenzo still maintains the faster race pace? Are the specs for race so different (apart from tire compounds) that, under this distinct spec, Lorenzo can be assumed to hold a clearly superior pace? Or is it simply a matter of noting that Lorenzo has just had more consistently lower times (greater number of laps) during practice?

The differences are that the bike is running with minimal fuel but the fuel consumption turned all the way up. The electronics are adjusted to make power rather than preserve fuel. Apart from that, the suspension is altered slightly to allow the softer tires to grip more, but those changes are minimal. Most of it is in the electronic settings, so the bikes are making more power. 

actually, suspension changes during final qualifying runs are quite severe which is why soft "race" tires still get ripped up after just 3-4 laps. we've gone from qual tires to qual suspension.

looking forward to a great race at one my favourite tracks.


Yeah, I actually spend way too much time on the various MotoGP.com PDFs...

I was more interested in your take as it seemed to me universally-accepted, even after Qualifying, that Lorenzo had the superior race pace. Even he was quoted as indicating, again after QP, that he hoped to be able to get away, given his race pace.

I'm just wondering what justifies this assessment when he no longer is the one capable of the fastest time. Unless the set-ups for race vs. qualifying are so different that his lower - and more consistently lower - P1 and P2 times would merit a view of being the favorite, the latest P times (QP) would imply that Rossi should now be regarded as having the best ("race" -- if there aren't glaring differences in "trim") pace.

Again, granted, Lorenzo had better pace in P1 and P2, but not in the latest QP, and if there aren't significant, material differences between "race" vs "qualifying" trims, then what would account for the seemingly preponderant perception that Lorenzo has the superior "race" pace?

Not shrilling for either Rossi or Lorenzo. Just trying to connect perceptions/expectations to bases for those perceptions/expectations.

I won't pursue this any further, so you needn't feel obligated to reply here, David.

imho, there's no mystery or formula. just look at previous rounds' so called "race pace" against results. there's a ton of stuff that's being tested during the practice periods, especially given there's only 2 + wup. lorenzo may be working on his race trim against the clock while rossi is working on feel and "greeeep".

the teams arrive, they have their own agenda's and the racing doesn't start until sunday.

i love the race time surprises. where was pedrosa's race pace at laguna? it was at race time :)