2011 Silverstone MotoGP Qualifying Practice Results: Thrilling Contest Decides Front Row

Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Silverstone:

Casey Stoner has secured his fourth pole position of the season, holding off a very strong challenge from Marco Simoncelli. Stoner was fastest on race tires, but it was Jorge Lorenzo who topped the timesheets early, putting in a very fast lap after just 25 minutes. Lorenzo put in a resolute defence, but in the end was no match for either Stoner or Simoncelli. Simoncelli attacked with 45 minutes to go, posting a very strong time, only to be parried with relative ease by Stoner, the Repsol Honda securing pole with a time well over a second under last year's pole record.

Both Lorenzo and Simoncelli tried to take back pole from Stoner in the final minutes, but though they were just a fraction faster in the first half of the lap, they were losing nearly three tenths of a second in the final sector, Simoncelli taking 2nd just under two tenths slower than Stoner, Lorenzo 3rd just over two tenths slower.

Ben Spies will head up the second row of the grid, the Texan over six tenths behind the Repsol Honda of Stoner, and the last man within a second of the Australian. Dovizioso sneaked into 5th, ahead of a surprising Karel Abraham on the satellite Cardion AB Ducati. The Czech rookie was the first of the Ducatis, ending up just ahead of Nicky Hayden in 7th, the Kentucky Kid himself just a fraction ahead of the battling Texan Colin Edwards, a strong result for a rider who broke his collarbone just last week.

The news was bad for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, though, as Cal Crutchlow crashed very early in the session, falling heavily on his shoulder and fracturing his left collarbone, suffering a concussion as well. Crutchlow was flown to a local hospital, where he will be examined and probably undergo surgery to have a plate fitted today or tomorrow.

Qualifying through up two big surprises at Silverstone. The first are the gaps: the first 4 riders are within a second, the 5th is just over a second off pole, and places 6 and beyond are over two seconds back of Casey Stoner. And the other big surprise is down in 13th, where Valentino Rossi is laboring 3.761 seconds off the time of Casey Stoner. This is Rossi's first time at Silverstone, but the nine-time World Champion has usually learned tracks quickly. Nearly four seconds off the pace is a long way back for Rossi.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 2'02.020    
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 2'02.208 0.188 0.188
3 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 2'02.237 0.217 0.029
4 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 2'02.677 0.657 0.440
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 2'03.212 1.192 0.535
6 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 2'04.151 2.131 0.939
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 2'04.304 2.284 0.153
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 2'04.508 2.488 0.204
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 2'04.520 2.500 0.012
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 2'04.589 2.569 0.069
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 2'04.919 2.899 0.330
12 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 2'05.164 3.144 0.245
13 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 2'05.781 3.761 0.617
14 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 2'05.862 3.842 0.081
15 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 2'06.256 4.236 0.394
16 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 2'07.911 5.891 1.655


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Speaks volumes of the difficulties within the Ducati camp. This on a bike with no new parts thrown at it at all. Well done young man. What a bummer for Crutchlow and the local race fans. People say Pedrosa is fragile, no more so than the next man in my opinion, just highly unlucky. What has happened with Tech3 goes to show how easy it is to break bones falling from motorcycles.

Collarbones: Such a common fracture in motorcycle racing... Are these guys falling off a lot more now? I don't remember so many people crashing in practice sessions.

I think he has had more parts than Stoner had in the last 3 years. He has already had a new "frame" with another on the way, electronics upgrades, and an engine upgrade. Also, Karel and Nicky are going pretty well this weekend. Rossi's poor pace this weekend is all on Rossi and his team.

It was painful to watch Rossi so far down the field, will be interesting to see what VR and Ducati will have to say about that performance.
But it was even more painful to see Crutchlow break his collar bone, maybe there was too much pressure on him for his home race?

Seems to be the same story every week for the factory Ducs, setting a good pace in practice but cannot improve on it in qualifying. The top 5 or 6 bikes improve the pace drastically and the Ducati can only pickup a couple tenths. It is frustrating to see them labor on, working hard as possible yet the bike never gets all that much better while Honda and Yamaha find buckets of tenths. Great job Karel and AB team however! Nick got to push harder, bin it or win it!

Man I feel bad for Cal as well, what a shame. You know he's just got to feel terrible about it. Hope that he recovers quickly and gets back to the grid. I don't know about the rest of you and I hate to say, but something like this was almost predictable. Reading all of Cal's quotes on the run up to Silverstone I got the feeling he was a bit too excited and amped up for this one...well how can you blame him. Maybe the combination of adrenaline, wanting desperately to secure a top grid position, and those damn Bridgestones got the best of him this time. Just terrible though. Anyway, young guy still. He'll bounce back and be at the front soon enough.

How bad does Ducati look so far this season? Jeremy Burgess said in a recent interview that they didn't learn from their mistakes, only their successes. Remember how poorly they treated Marco Melandri, bringing in Sete Gibernau to test his bike, coz they had a world championship under their belt? That arrogance has caught up with them now hasn't it?
The greatest motorcycle racer of all time is struggling mightily on their bike. Not much swagger left in that garage now is there? The longer Rossi struggles the worse Ducati looks. They have only themselves to blame.

Lol, yes agreed. Love Ducati but they do not look so good at the moment. I think they will come around though. Finally listening to their riders and scrapping some their pride will pay off. Speaking of Melandri, remember Ducati sending him to therapy??!! What a kick to the coin purse that must have been! No wonder the guy jumped ship. Stoner looked like a magician, in retrospect, and they would barely listen to him.

Instead I think so far Rossi and his crew don't look all that great. Which is saying something, since few riders have ever shown racecraft superior to Rossi, a guy who proved again and again that he can win from anywhere on the grid.

With Capirossi aboard, Ducati was winning races before Stoner took it all in 2007 (and don't forget that out of nowhere Bayliss won the last race in 2006). As I mentioned in another thread, with Stoner riding it the Ducati was always competitive. So I'm a little bit skeptical of the claim that this year the Honda is suddenly *so much* better than the Ducati. Especially since Rossi is not the first guy to have trouble competing on it. Stoner showed the bike is fast enough.

It's going rather a long way back to cast aspersions on how Melandri (whom I like) was treated. Who knows what the dynamics of that garage were? And Melandri had an absolutely miserable time -- so bad it would test the patience of any factory team. It was embarrassing for all concerned.

Anyway here's hoping the rain stays away for the race tomorrow.

I don't know, to compare the results from the 990 to the 800 bikes is a stretch. The characteristics are so different. Each bike demands a specific riding style. Even when Casey was winning he has admitted many times that a standard level of comfort and trust in the bike was hardly there. Sometimes it was good and sometimes no clue how the bike was gonna be. I think the 990 Duc was more reliable later in it's life but even so, that bike was a mess when they rolled it out and it took a while to figure out how to make is competitive. Capirossi may be older but he is no slouch and if the 800 was as simple to ride as the 990 appeared to be, shouldn't he be closer to the front? I think he is the only guy to ride both bikes and the difference is clear.

I find it most strange that people have such a 2005 view of Rossi in 2011 despite his lack of 2005-esque performances. It's an outdated view and very last decade.

If a GOAT ever did exist (and it's really impossible to tell if there ever has been given different eras) then I wouldn't think he would be riding like Rossi has so far this weekend.

GOod job, Ben! Cal… fffff…

David -
perhaps an article on which racers & airbag/leather systems are in currently in use? I understand Alpinestars has a system, unclear who on the grid is using what.

Thanks for all the great reporting and info - very much appreciated!

Mat Oxley wrote an interesting article in Roadracing World regarding the issues Rossi is having with the Ducati, mentioning the fact that the Ducati engine spins in same direction as the wheels vs the Yamaha which spins oppo which minimizes total gyro effect.

One wonders if the gyro effect is strong enough to mask chassis/suspension adjustments to a certain degree?

I seem to recall that Nicky has stated that sometimes small changes on the Ducati have big affects, and big changes may may only have small affects on occasion. Not a happy place to be when only short amount of time available to ride/test > measure / debug > predict/change > re-ride/test ..

As "cool" as the Carbon fibre chassis maybe, it is unclear to me as to how well:

A. Carbon fibre (English spelling as the race is in the UK! :-) ) is understood from an Engineering perspective vs Aluminum in terms of stress response/flex/damping?

B. Ability to manufacture one-off pieces to design specs, and repeatability - eg, 2 or 4 chassis front "sub-frames" built to a new design - are all 4 chassis within 1% (?) response to each other? Rossi and Hayden each have 2 bikes (+ spare parts) -
if the chassis vary .. more headaches.

Stoner said in an interview that with the Duke, when he switched from his Nr. 1 bike to Nr. 2, the bike could feel totally different although having the identical setup.
With the Honda, he said, they can reproduce the same feedback with the same setting on the spare bike.

It appears that Ducati can't produce a MotoGP bike that fully reproduces its behaviour, so their factoring tolerances apparently aren't tight enough. I don't know whether this problem is restricted to the carbon sub frame only or the entire bike.

Anyone else notice in the Motogp.com Qualifying session video feed, at about 5min13sec mark, in Casey Stoner's pit box, one of the laptop's desktop background seems to be Scott's image of the extreme-lean-angle Casey Stoner from Catalunya? (Albeit with the watermark cut off probably due to quasi-legal issues). See for yourself! So you know someone from Casey's crew loves motomatters.com!!!


The guys at Honda asked for a copy of that photo to use as screensavers / desktops. They liked it a lot, as did a bunch of other people who all bought prints of the shot from Scott!

Yep, Ducati were making good progress, going off the last race, however two very frustrating weekends in a row with mix conditions and trying to make huge leaps all together have proved their downfall this weekend, will get back on track but badly need some consistent good weather at the weekends or secret testing, this isn't the first time Rossi has had a nightmare..
Karel raises an interesting question, the old duke clearly worked very well at a select few tracks and this appears to be one with Both Nicky and Casey going well last year(the latter after a chronic start) and Karel a great qualifying this.. However I suspect that Rossis bike is a mixed misunderstood(at the mo) experiment as they try to get things in order. Alex Briggs said that the wet set up is a soft dry set up so Rossi has neither at this track or any I suspect.

Gutted for Cal, was looking forward to seeing him tomorrow. If next year is more of the same the sport is for a lean period..

Casey fastest on soft rubber, but Simo fastest on race rubber?? have I got that right?? And Lorenzo not far off, might actually be a decent race...

No my understanding is that Stoner was also fastest on race rubber. It may be a moot point given the strong likelihood of them running wets tomorrow.

Karel did a great job in comparison to the bottom half of the field. But lets not forget he's 2 seconds off the pace. im sure if i'd really say that any ducati is going great at this track

No disrespect jp but I don't think anyone has pushed aside the fact that Karel is 2 sec from the front. It is a matter of relative success. Karel is a rookie on a satellite Duc and put the thing on the 2nd row. That is a great job. The guy he is two second off of is the 2007 world champ who just passed Kevin Schwantz in all time GP wins. No one expects KA to finish on the box but to be the fastest Duc and start ahead of the factory boys is a fantastic achievement.

Anyone else feel that unless Marco has worked his starts 24/7 he'll get passed off the line by Lorenzo and Spies again? That may prove to be a weakness of Marco or maybe he just bogged the bike last weekend. Also Rossi+Ducati=Rossi being a non alien. I predicted last year that Rossi would not win a race this year and I got blasted on here for it but every weekend that goes by I'm looking closer to being right. At this point I think Rossi would be more competitive on a Tech 3 Yamaha.

Where is it?? I'm hanging to hear what you've got to say about yesterday David.

It's here. The practicalities of the situation (I'm staying with my parents, an hour from the track) mean that the round ups are a little late. 

What is it about the final sector that everyone besides casey is losing so much time? I mean from 4th on back you see them with blues till final sector and bam greys. Is it that deceiving of a section?