2012 Sepang MotoGP Saturday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single-tire supplier after qualifying at Sepang:

Lorenzo Sets Scorching Sepang Pole Record

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo left it until the last moment this afternoon to smash the Sepang track record with a scorching pole position run ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Malaysia, his third successive pole in a row. The Championship leader had shown good pace from the start of the session but dropped off the provisional front row as a flurry of late laps saw a number of riders including Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa take the top spot. As the last minutes ticked away Lorenzo reclaimed the top spot from Pedrosa with a stunning 2’00.438 then immediately followed it with a flying final effort to deliver a new pole record for the Sepang circuit of 2’00.334.

Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies was quick to get on the pace in the session, climbing to fourth just off the front row and looking threatening to break into the top three. As the session wound down a succession of hot laps and pole position changes from rivals saw him drop to fifth and then sixth for a second row start on tomorrow’s grid.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 1st Time: 2'00.334 Laps: 23

“We made a very good lap at the end of the session with the new ‘qualifying’ tyre. In the middle of the practice we struggled a little bit because we had a bit of chattering and the rear tyre wasn’t working as well as it had been in the morning session. We need to still work a little on our pace as it’s not extremely good yet but we have some options for tomorrow. Let’s see what happens, it’s going to be a long race in difficult conditions.”

Ben Spies

Position : 6th Time: 2'01.185 Laps: 22

“Qualifying was good, we had good pace in early in the session but when it came down to putting in that one fast lap we didn’t quite have enough. We also wanted to bring the bike back in one piece and not a broken one like we’ve done a few times this year. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and getting stuck into the race.”

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

“Pole again, number 51! It hasn’t been the best qualifying session of the year so to get pole at the end is great. We had some problems initially and Jorge had to go in and out a few times. He did his qualifying stints on the soft front tyre which is quite unusual so let’s see what we can solve to make us better for tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“Another impressive pole position from Jorge, he really wanted to show everyone that he’s not here to get second place if he can help it. Overall no major problems so far this weekend and there’s pretty good pace on both sides of the garage. A lot is going to depend on the weather conditions tomorrow; it’s going to be a really tough race. Hopefully we will see a great spectacle!”

Front row start for Pedrosa in 2nd with Stoner on the second row in 4th

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa will start tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix from 2nd place on the front row, his thirteenth front row start of the season, as he pursues Lorenzo in the chase for the 2012 World Championship. Team mate Casey Stoner will start from 4th, missing out on the front row by just two tenths of a second.

In an intense Qualifying session, which fortunately remained dry, the riders traded the top four spots throughout the session in the end Dani lost out on pole by just 0.194 seconds to Championship rival Lorenzo. With less than half a second separating the top four riders, Casey was unfortunate to miss out on the front row as he fights to return to full strength in just his second GP after his absence from three races due to injury.

The weather will play an important role in tomorrow's 21 lap race as the race will start at 16h00 local time - a time when rain showers are a common occurrence.

DANI PEDROSA 2nd 2'00.528

"It was hard because we had a lot of chattering this afternoon and it was very difficult to get a clean lap as in some areas the bike was chattering too much, even in the straight! Nevertheless, we managed to get on the front row again and the second position is good. The pace is high and after missing FP2 yesterday because of the mixed conditions, this morning we've been working hard on the race pace. I just hope that we don't have this chattering for the race. The weather can play an important role too, so we'll have to see what happens tomorrow afternoon".

CASEY STONER 4th 2'00.811

"It's been a really disappointing weekend, but especially today. We've had pace all weekend and the first session looked promising but we've had problems with the brakes and some other small issues. Every step we take to try and improve the bike, we make it worse and it's becoming very frustrating. Our potential is much higher than where we are currently at and now we go into the race without any real direction. Physically I'm not sure how I am going to be as we haven't been able to complete many laps this weekend, our pace is there and I just hope that we can make some small improvements in tomorrow's warm up".

Dovizioso secures front row at scorching hot Sepang

Andrea Dovizioso extended the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's outstanding qualifying record in 2012 by securing the French squad's 10th front row start of the season at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this afternoon.

For the sixth race in succession, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will be represented on the front row after Dovizioso battled for pole position throughout a closely fought qualifying session in searing heat and humidity at Sepang.

Dovizioso's silky smooth riding style helped him adjust brilliantly to slippery track conditions after earlier rain and his fastest lap of 2.00.567 put him on the top of the timesheets in the final stages of the session.

But in-form Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were able to improve their pace in a dramatic finish.

Dovizioso's best pace was only 0.039s behind Pedrosa in second and having made significant progress in improving rear grip with his YZR-M1 machine, the Italian rider will start tomorrow's 20-lap race confident he will be in the hunt for a seventh podium finish.

Cal Crutchlow was reasonably satisfied with his afternoon's work, despite seeing his sensational run of four successive front row starts come to an end this afternoon.

The British rider will start from the middle of the second row in fifth position after a stunning last lap of 2.01.178 put him inside the top six on the grid for the 14th time in 16 races.

After battling for the podium right down to the last lap in the previous two races, Crutchlow is optimistic he will be in contention for the top three again to boost his hopes of securing fifth position on the overall World Championship standings.

Andrea Dovizioso 3rd 2.00.567 – 19 laps:

“I am very happy with today's front row because it is confirmation of how strong we have been all weekend. I have to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because in every session we have made progress with the set-up of the bike and for qualifying we made another big improvement. It is always good to be on the front row bu t the pleasing aspect is my race pace. I am very close to Lorenzo and Dani and my goal will be to stay with them for as long as possible tomorrow. With more rain earlier it meant the track was quite slippery, but normally when that is the case I am very fast and again today I have proved that. Hopefully it will be a dry race tomorrow but if it is raining then it will be the same for everybody and nobody has an advantage because we haven't tested on a full wet track.”

Cal Crutchlow 5th 2.01.178 – 21 laps:

“After qualifying on the front row at the last four races I should be pretty disappointed with fifth position and I am. To be honest I am not happy with the performance of the bike and I had the same issue that struck in qualifying last weekend in Japan. I had a big vibration and all the changes we made to improve the situation didn 't work. It felt like I had zero grip and we can see the problems on the data but we still haven't been able to identify what is causing the vibration. We have a lot of work to do tonight and I will be sitting down with my crew and analysing a lot of data to come up with a plan for the race. If the situation remains the same for the race it will be really difficult and demanding. As always I will try my best and the main goal will be to claw back some of the points I lost to Alvaro and Valentino with the bad luck in Japan.”

Rossi improves pace, Hayden makes third row

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix left several question marks for both Ducati Team riders, who will have to decide during tomorrow’s morning warm-up session which tyre to use in the race.

Nicky Hayden, ninth today, will try some changes in order to reduce the chattering that bothered him today.

Valentino Rossi, eleventh, managed to lap at a decent rhythm with the hard tyre in qualifying, but having missed the chance to do more than just a few consecutive laps, he’ll try again in tomorrow morning’s twenty minute session before making a final decision.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (2:01.526)

“It hasn’t been an easy day. In qualifying I lost some time due to a couple of issues I was having with the clutch and rear brake. Then we made a few little changes and got going better, but I had so much chatter that both of my hands are still tingling. I think a lot of guys are dealing with it, but it’s really making it difficult for me in the fast corners. I was able to do an okay lap, but the pace is really fast. I made one little mistake on what turned out to be my best lap, and that probably cost me two or three tenths. We’ve got a couple decisions to make for tomorrow, and we’ll see what we can do.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 11th (2:01.783)

“We were going pretty well at a certain point this afternoon, as I was able to do some laps with the hard tyre at a low-2:02 pace. We were pretty optimistic for the end, but when we put on the soft, it triggered a lot of chatter and I wasn’t able to improve enough to be further up the grid. Anyway, we’re not too far from Hayden, Barbera, Bautista and Bradl, so we’ll see. The warm-up will be very important for choosing the tyres. With the soft, it will certainly be necessary to slow down a lot in the second part of the race because today, it was already sliding a lot after just three or four laps. With the hard tyre, in theory we should suffer more at the beginning and then… we don’t know yet. Tomorrow we’ll try to understand. Finally, there’s the rain variable, which could shake everything up. We’ll see what time it comes.”


There was disappointment for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista following this afternoon's qualifying practice at Sepang, where he was unable to improve on the tenth fastest time of the session due to a late crash. It was a shame for the Spaniard, who showed signs of improvement this morning during free practice and he would surely have qualified higher up the grid if it weren't for that setback. Michele Pirro cut a happier figure on the other side of the garage after closing the gap to the leading CRT pair on track and qualifying on the fifth row of the grid.

Alvaro Bautista (10th 2’ 01” 640) “This morning we tried to improve our feeling with the bike from yesterday but we only partly managed it. In the afternoon we continued to work in the same way but rear traction was still an issue and the small progress we made wasn't enough to improve our position before the crash. There were a lot of riders on track at the same time and nobody wanted to give anybody else a tow so we lost some time there and when I tried to push again the tyre temperature had dropped and I lost control. Luckily I wasn't hurt but the bike needs rebuilding and I am sorry to the team for the extra work. It will be a tough race tomorrow but I am confident that we have found some solutions today that should work. ”

Michele Pirro (15th 2’ 04” 152) “We set a good lap time today and closed the gap to the top but their pace was very strong. We are the third CRT behind the two Aprilias and now I am ready to give my maximum in a tough race. We still have some vibration problems that I am not comfortable with but if we can fix them then I am sure we can do well. It is important to be physically prepared here at Sepang because it's such a long race but I feel fit and I'm determined to get a good result to dedicate it to Marco.”

Fausto Gresini “Alvaro's crash was disappointing, especially because it means we will be starting from so far back at a circuit he likes a lot. We'll see what we can do tomorrow but I can't deny that I'm a little concerned. Michele did improve, however, and he is the third CRT on the grid which is a good sign for tomorrow. Physically he is in shape to keep his pace up over race distance so I am confident he can do a good job tomorrow.”


Sepang, 20th October: the second day at the Malaysian Grand Prix was invariably humid and hot with premier class riders chasing the best set up after yesterday’s useless afternoon due to the inclement weather. Even LCR Honda’s racer Stefan Bradl had to cope with the lack of track time and the demanding ambient conditions managing to get the 8th spot on the grid (2’01.491).

At the end of the 60-minute tough qualifying session the MotoGP rookie riding the RC213V is disappointed he is not higher up the grid after showing good form in the previous rounds but yesterday’s chattering issue stop Bradl from riding his Honda properly.

Stefan: “Today’s qualifying was extremely tough for us because we did not improve our set up before the afternoon session. This morning we have tried to find the right way to reduce the chattering because I could not entry the corner and we are losing too much in the middle of the corner and we are struggling to find the solution because we never had such a big chatter issue in the past. In these conditions I do not have enough confidence and this cost me a lot of time that’s why I am too slow in those areas. In the beginning of the session on used tyres it looked like we were capable to reduce the chattering problem but as soon as we went out on new rubbers the problem was still there. The guys are working hard to adjust the bike ahead tomorrow’s race and I am confident”.


De Puniet just behind his team-mate in thirteenth

After dominating free practice at Sepang Dani Pedrosa was the clear favourite for pole position when qualifying practice got underway this afternoon but Jorge Lorenzo had other ideas, producing a late charge to dislodge his fellow Spaniard from the top of the time sheets. Andrea Dovizioso also produced the goods at the end of the session to deny Casey Stoner a front row start but nobody could match the pace of Lorenzo, who produced a new pole record of 2'00.334.

The bumpy track surface here was the bane of practice for most of the riders and the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team were no exception, although it didn't stop them from continuing their dominance of the new CRT category. Aleix Espargaró qualified as the fastest CRT in a time of 2'02.842, just 2.5 seconds off pole in twelfth place. His team-mate Randy De Puniet was less satisfied with his performance despite lining up just one place behind in thirteenth.

12th Aleix Espargaró 2.02.842 (19 laps): "I am really happy with the result today. We put the new engine in this morning and it made quite a big difference but we have had a lot of chatter this weekend and I think that's the case for most riders. The strong point of our bike is in corner entry but with so much chatter we're losing ground in this aspect to the prototypes. We have done a great job and the lap times are good despite the two long straights here, where we also lose out a lot to the prototypes. I have a decent advantage over my team-mate, probably the biggest we have had for a while. I lapped alone and set a good pace for several laps so we're in good shape for the race. It will be very tough because of the heat so we have to be mentally prepared for that."

13th Randy De Puniet 2.03.389 (21 laps): "There seem to be a lot of riders struggling with front-end chatter here and having spoken to a few of the guys who were here for preseason testing it seems the track conditions are very different to back then and a lot more bumpy. We have been trying to make the bike more stable but I am really struggling for front-end feel, I don't know why. I can't keep my speed up through the corner and it is damaging my confidence with the bike, We haven't stopped working to fix our problems and we will keep going in the warm-up tomorrow. Hopefully we can find something."


The Pramac Racing Team and his rider, Héctor Barberà, achieved the 7th spot on the grid in today’s qualifying session at the Malaysian Grand Prix scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 GMT.

Setting a best lap time of 2’01.294, the Spaniard will start from a promising third row, putting in for a strong performance for tomorrow’s 20 laps race.

Héctor struggled a little with some chattering problems, but these small issue seems to be no cause for concern for the Pramac Racing Team, that tomorrow will use also the twenty-minute warm up to adjust the bike set up, trying to help Héctor to fight for a brilliant result.

Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider – 7th place in 2’01.294

“I’m very happy about today. The Sepang circuit is one of my favourite tracks and I always went quite fast here. I achieved a good result in today’s qualifying session, finding a good pace. The 7th place of today, allows me to arrive on the grid tomorrow, with confidence to battle for a great race and it was what I needed. I’m feeling good on my Ducati and I know we can hunt for one of our best results, in this 2012 MotoGP season.

Today I rode with the same lap times I set during the winter test (even if during the preseason test we found different weather conditions compared this weekend) and this improved a lot my confidence for tomorrow’s race.”

Chatter limits Edwards during qualifying at Sepang

Colin Edwards and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team do not shine as they would have wanted to during the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix´s qualifying session after the great performance throughout all free practices.

The American rider has proven to have a constant fast lap time to be able to fight with the top CRTs. The warm up tomorrow morning will be key in order to solve the chatter problems that have complicated the Texan’s afternoon.

Colin Edwards – 18th (2´04.941)

“We had so much chatter when we came here to test compared to now. We changed the gearing at the beginning of the session because this morning it felt too short and bike was too busy, so we went a little bit longer and lengthen the swingarm a little bit and created a lot more chatter. We went for a soft front, still had strong chatter, I was having to ride the bike differently, couldn’t carry the lean angle. We have a couple of ideas to work on during the warm up, let see how it goes.”

Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief

“We had higher expectations for today’s qualifying session but chatter problems have limited our performance during the afternoon. The race pace is good but during qualifying we miss those three or four tenths on the fast lap in order to be closer to the front of the grid. Tomorrow morning we will work on reducing the chatter in order to be ready for the race.”



The third free practice and the qualifying session of the MotoGP class were held today, for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Considered the good weather conditions of the morning, the third session was used by Rolfo and his crew in order to work on the balance of the bike, making different tests, and to make some steps forward with the rear grip of the ART machine.

In the qualifying practice, Roberto tried out some new choices for the set up of the CRT machine in view of the race of tomorrow. The rider ended the session in nineteenth position, and tomorrow he’ll start from the seventh row of the grid.

Roberto Rolfo #84 - 19th with 2'05.100

“I’m not really happy with the final position in these qualifying session. I was hoping for a better placement. During the sessions we had at disposal, we managed to improve, but we still have some trouble in the last part of the track, where we lose quite a lot, compared to the other parts. I’m struggling in the final part of turns and I can’t take full advantage of the power of the bike. Today it was useful to have other riders as reference, so that I could understand better the last few corners of the track, but we still have some work pending in order to be more competitive. In the warm up we’ll try out some other solutions to try and improve our pace, so that we can stay with the other CRT machines. We have some margin to move forward, we just have to make it effective with the objective to be fighting with the other CRT riders.”

Abaja will start from the 5th row in Malaysia

The less dramatic qualification practice was held at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia today. The Czech rider Karel Abraham achieved the time 2:03,774, which means only the 14th place and the 5th row on the starting grid. The loss on the poleman and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo is 3,440 sec.

Karel Abraham

„I´m not happy about today again like it seems normal recently. I feel I do my best at the moment. Driving this bike is very crazy and risky sometimes and it´s very hard to find the way how to deal with it. I know I´m quite fast on breaks compared to the other riders and that makes our loss. I want to finish the whole championship in the best way and without any injury and heavy crash. I hope for a good start tomorrow. “

Marco Grana, šéfmechanik Cardion AB Motoracing

„Today wasn´t a good day for us. We made some changes on the bike setting, especially the improvement of the rear in the morning. Karel felt better about it, but he is still not confident with the bike. We again lose too much on the breaks. We are trying to find the solution for tomorrow at the moment, but it seems not to be that easy unfortunatelly.“ Abaja will start from the 5th row in Malaysia

The less dramatic qualification practice was held at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia today. The Czech rider Karel Abraham achieved the time 2:03,774, which means only the 14th place and the 5th row on the starting grid. The loss on the poleman and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo is 3,440 sec.

Karel Abraham

„I´m not happy about today again like it seems normal recently. I feel I do my best at the moment. Driving this bike is very crazy and risky sometimes and it´s very hard to find the way how to deal with it. I know I´m quite fast on breaks compared to the other riders and that makes our loss. I want to finish the whole championship in the best way and without any injury and heavy crash. I hope for a good start tomorrow. “

Marco Grana, šéfmechanik Cardion AB Motoracing

„Today wasn´t a good day for us. We made some changes on the bike setting, especially the improvement of the rear in the morning. Karel felt better about it, but he is still not confident with the bike. We again lose too much on the breaks. We are trying to find the solution for tomorrow at the moment, but it seems not to be that easy unfortunatelly.“

Late push from Lorenzo sets new qualifying record at Sepang

Round 16: Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying Practice

Sepang, Saturday 20 October 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium (Symmetric), Hard (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)

Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 30-31°C; Track 38-37°C (Bridgestone measurement)

QP - Dry. Ambient 31-32°C; Track 38-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo set a new Fastest Lap record of 2’00.334 on his last qualifying lap at Sepang International Circuit to claim his seventh pole position of the season.

Lorenzo’s record lap was enough to depose Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to second on the grid for tomorrow’s race by 0.194 seconds, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizoso qualified third and 0.233 seconds off Lorenzo’s time. The top CRT qualifier in Malaysia was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro who qualified in twelfth place with a time of 2’02.842.

Track conditions were similar to yesterday, with track temperatures around 40°C and less than ideal grip levels due to heavy rain overnight and between today’s sessions. Teams assessed both options of front and rear tyre today, with the combination of the softer rear and harder front slick ultimately being the most widely used for qualifying. If similar weather conditions are experienced tomorrow the softer rear slick will be the popular race tyre choice, with front tyre choice coming down to which riders prefer the greater braking stability of the harder option versus the advantage in edge grip offered by the softer front slick.

Morning warm up for the Malaysian Grand Prix starts at 1140 local time (GMT +8) tomorrow with the twenty-lap main event commencing at 1600.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“Grip levels didn’t seem to improve much today, probably because of the earlier rain and so every rider preferred the softer rear slick for FP3 and Qualifying as good rear drive is important to setting a fast lap time at this circuit. Unless temperatures increase significantly tomorrow, the softer rear slick will be the most popular option for the race. Front tyre choice among the riders is trending towards the harder option, though with the track not providing high levels of grip, some riders may still select the softer front slick for better feel from the edge of the tyre in corner entry.”


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