2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: One Man Dominates Tight Qualifying

Results of qualifying practice for MotoGP at Laguna Seca:

Jorge Lorenzo has taken a stunning pole at Laguna Seca, scorching to a lap of 1'21.202 in the final seconds of qualifying to consolidate his position at the top of the timesheets and holding off a late challenge from the Repsol Hondas of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. But though Stoner and Pedrosa were a tenth of a second off Lorenzo's pole time, the closeness of the final minutes belies the dominance which the factory Yamaha rider displayed from the first minutes onwards: Lorenzo was into the 1'21s on just his third flying lap after the start of the session, going on to post a string of 1'21s in his first two runs almost effortlessly, a pace that neither Pedrosa nor Stoner could match consistently.

Casey Stoner starts from 2nd, after a last-gasp attempt saw him claw his way up from the second row to sit beside Lorenzo, while Pedrosa finshed in 3rd. Of the two Repsol Hondas, Pedrosa has the better race pace, almost matching Lorenzo, but only for a few laps. Stoner's race pace is much worse, the Australian still struggling with grip issues and unable to find a direction for setup. Ben Spies heads up the second row tomorrow, and could have been even further forward had it not been for a crash with 5 minutes left to go. Spies was sitting in pole at the time and on a fast lap, but he ran out of front-end grip and slid out with too little time to get back to the pits and take another shot.

Marco Simoncelli will start from 5th on the grid, after winning a session-long battle with Andrea Dovizioso by just 0.035 seconds, leaving the third Repsol Honda man sitting on the end of the second row. Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, matched his best qualifying of the season, and will head up the third row of the grid to start from 7th. Rossi's race pace, however, is less encouraging, posting times in the low 1'23s, nearly a second and a half off the time of Lorenzo. Hector Barbera sits in 8th,  just ahead of the other Marlboro Ducati of Nicky Hayden. Hayden is sticking with the old GP11 for this weekend, in the hope of securing a better result at his home race, while Rossi is now concentrating on the new GP11.1 for the foreseeable future. Cal Crutchlow rounds out the top 10, finishing just ahead of his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'21.202    
2 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'21.274 0.072 0.072
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'21.385 0.183 0.111
4 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'21.578 0.376 0.193
5 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'21.696 0.494 0.118
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'21.731 0.529 0.035
7 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'22.235 1.033 0.504
8 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'22.238 1.036 0.003
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'22.271 1.069 0.033
10 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'22.385 1.183 0.114
11 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'22.520 1.318 0.135
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'22.669 1.467 0.149
13 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'22.893 1.691 0.224
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'22.937 1.735 0.044
15 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'22.961 1.759 0.024
16 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'23.876 2.674 0.915
17 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'24.156 2.954 0.280
18 23 Ben BOSTROM HONDA 1'25.291 4.089 1.135


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Does anyone know if Spies was on a soft rear when he set his fast time? I thought he was still on a hard tire.

Jorge is going to be a force to be reckoned with tomorrow.

He was on the soft rear, in fact that he had just pitted for a new soft and was on his first or second lap, I believe, on the new soft when he went down.

No one was going take Jorge's pole today I don't think, But I really think Ben would have kept his front row position if he as able to keep pushing.

If Ben gets a good start tomorrow I bet he is going to be on the podium. He's hungry!!

Should be a good race, it's great to see Yamaha take it to the Honda boys! Makes the championship that much better.

True grit and unbelievable consistency from Jorge after that mutha highside.
Last gasp heroics from Casey who was looking at the second row before he pulled it out the fire. A glimmer of improvement from Rossi on the Duke.

Fingers crossed, another exciting race could be on the menu.
What a great track.

On their fast laps, both Pedrosa and Stoner seemed to make up some good time in the final section of the track. If that advantage can be used to get in front it could be used to stop Lorenzo or just make it interesting for final corner passes.

to be the brave journo to ask Rossi how difficult it would be to do a 1.21.488 on the bike?

Should be a great race on the morrow!
Tight, narrow track, Rossi had an organic "push to pass"
button in 2008, showing either lava in his veins or
cajones made of titanium .. Casey didn't back down ..
made for an epic RACE
Tight turning Yamahas vs balanced Hondas ..
JL & Spies vs Stoner, Pedrosa, Dovi & Super Sic (look out)
Colin .. are the satellite tuning forks *that* off factory spec -
2nd at LS2006 or the pack of wolves running even faster?
Unfortunately the Ducs are trucks ..
Will Rossi try a LS2008 street fight? He may be up to it,
but even the GP12.800cc, oops, I mean GP11.1 -doesn't
want to cooperate ... stubborn redheads are always trouble!
Maybe Nicky can find some special mojo to sling the
GP11 around the track at a righteous clip .. way
cool to be your teammate especially if he's riding
*next year's* kit! Go NH69 !!

No, it doesn´t tell us how much TC Jorge is using but how it is working in general (Yamaha?). TC is off when a rider is accelerating after the start and is beeing switched on by the software when a downshift is executed. In this particular case Lorenzo didn´t shift down after simulating the start process (no TC on) and accelerated to hard in the first left corner.

I'm nor usually a Jorge fan but he looked completely at ease turning extended runs in the 1:21s. It was noticeable how he seemed to be riding effortlessly and the Hondas, especially Stoner, were having to struggle to get to those times once or twice. It was pure 250 corner speed, both his and the Yamaha's specialty.

Is there anyone out there besides Rossi that can pull a Rossi on Lorenzo tomorrow? I don't think so unless a Honda finds something in warm up. I'd like Spies to be up there but Jorge seems to be in the zone and ready for all comers. Nicky? Better left unsaid.

How 'bout that practice start highside? He should wear the astronaut helmet, it was pretty high! Was it a map choice mistake or a brain fart or did the BS rear really cool down in the few seconds he was waiting for riders to go by before he launched?


I am a Stoner fan, but Pedrosa is the only person with a chance of beating Jorge. Stoner almost never does well in a race if he has not been super fast in practice. However Pedrosa often pulls out another 0.5s in the race (like he did at Sachsenring). But I think even that isn't very likely. The championship will be 5 points after tomorrow.

it was ironic for spies to crash in front of Yamaha wall...
just sayin'

Should Bostrom run his AMA bike in the MotoGP race? he was only .4 slower in the times?

Makes Roger Lee look mighty fast with a 1:23 somthing in last years quali.

to go with his undoubted wow so far this weekend - that highside was fierce. I love to watch this man ride, he exudes corner speed like no other.

There's never been anything wrong with the Yamaha this year at all really has there? The last four races have shown us the M1 & RCV are little changed from 2010- mature designs and all that. As with any G.P machine it's about finding the right combination of parts to make the thing work. Every machine has an optimum performance window to find.