2011 Aragon MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Incident-Filled Session Sees Pole Taken By Comfortable Margin

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

Casey Stoner has taken pole position for tomorrow's MotoGP race at Aragon, his 9th of the year, after dominating most of qualifying. Stoner shot to the top of the timesheets from the start with a lap of 1'49.165, half a second ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, and was never really threatened throughout qualifying. A minor crash towards the end of the session left Stoner unhurt, outbraking himself into turn 7 and tipping over in the gravel, but the Australian went on to improve his pole time almost immediately afterwards, improving his own pole record from last year by nearly half a second.

Pedrosa will start from beside Stoner on Sunday, the Spaniard having pushed hard throughout qualifying, eventually also running off in an attempt to catch his teammate. Eventually, Pedrosa came up some three tenths short, forced to concede the position to Stoner. 

The Repsol Hondas are followed by the factory Yamahas, Ben Spies well ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The Texan looked poised throughout qualifying, earning his front row start, in contrast with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who has struggled on Saturday. A very hard lap at the end of the session saw Lorenzo make up a couple of positions, leaving the factory Yamaha man starting from the head of the second row on Sunday.

Lorenzo has two Hondas alongside him on the second row, Repsol's Andrea Dovizioso starting ahead of San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli with a lap just fifteen hundredths quicker than Simoncelli's. Two Ducatis head up the third row, with Nicky Hayden the first of the Marlboro Ducatis, and Karel Abraham of the Cardion AB team starting from 8th. The second San Carlo Gresini of Hiroshi Aoyama sits in 9th spot, while Randy de Puniet rounds out the top ten on the Pramac Ducati.

There was much interest in Valentino Rossi's Marlboro Ducati. The Italian had two bikes with the brand new aluminium chassis in the garage, he and his team having decided to leave the carbon fiber chassis behind and concentrate on the metal chassis. But the new chassis requires a new engine, and the sixth engine that Rossi took at Misano is the only one of his current allocation that fits the new chassis. A crash early in the session meant he and his crew faced a dilemma: take the spare bike out and start from pit lane on Sunday, or try to repair the bike as quickly as possible and delay the possibility of a penalty for as long as possible. In the end, they chose the latter option, sending Rossi out on the number bike, containing engine number 6. The time they lost did mean that Rossi only managed to qualify in 13th, and will start from the 5th row of the grid. With bad weather forecast for tomorrow, the likelihood of Rossi using a 7th engine before the season is out is getting bigger and bigger.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'48.451    
2 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'48.747 0.296 0.296
3 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'49.155 0.704 0.408
4 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'49.270 0.819 0.115
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'49.372 0.921 0.102
6 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'49.528 1.077 0.156
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'49.752 1.301 0.224
8 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'49.777 1.326 0.025
9 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'49.813 1.362 0.036
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'49.826 1.375 0.013
11 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'49.883 1.432 0.057
12 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'49.893 1.442 0.010
13 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'49.960 1.509 0.067
14 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'49.976 1.525 0.016
15 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'50.105 1.654 0.129
16 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'50.752 2.301 0.647
17 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'51.073 2.622 0.321


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Toni Elias is reining Moto2 champ and over 2.6 secs a lap off the pace. Even Karel Abraham who finished 10th in Moto2 last year is more competitive on bike with issues.

I guess it only goes to show how lucky we are to have 4 top riders in the field at one time (assuming Rossi's current form is temporary).

As for Qualifying, Stoner and Pedrosa's times were amazing.
Once again, Stoner did the least number of laps in QP, yet reeled of 9 laps under 1'50". Pedrosa did 7/22. No one else did more than 3. Rossi had 1.

I think a lot of the field will be praying for rain tomorrow.
Maybe Rossi's luck will return.

To be fair, it's worth noting that Lorenzo qualified faster last year also. More tellingly for race day, he did more fast laps under 1'50" last year .
I always like noting whether the times are sustained or just a single hot lap.

Say no more: The times tell all:

Stoner 11 Full laps 1:48.451
Rossi 13 Full Laps 1:49.960

HAYDEN (Hayden 2010 1:49.506) 1:49.752 ( 2011)

Stoner 2010 1:48.492

Oops...Sorry about that.. Been busy in South East Asia for past few days. Lots of travelling, late nights, early mornings etc.

You are correct :
Stoner 11 1:48.451
Rossi 13 1:49.960
HAYDEN Hayden 2010 1:49.506 1:49.752
Stoner 2010 1:48.942

the only thing it's telling us is ducati has made no improvment at all.. pretty sad

Crash, only at 13:th place and only Barbera (+ Capirossi who has quit already) behind of the Ducatis. Despite the new alu chassis there is no apparent improvement. This whole Ducati move seems to spell certain disaster for his career. I am starting to think that they are at the end of the line pretty soon.

Alex Briggs was very positive on Twitter, and the bike may well be an improvement. But they've had no testing, and have to test during a race weekend, making it difficult to tell exactly how things are going. It's clear that 2011 is a write-off, but it is still interesting to see just how things will develop in 2012. If Rossi is still in this position by Laguna Seca 2012, then the marriage will be over, and Rossi will be looking elsewhere for a ride.


Every race, they are supposedly better, and still are not delivering the goods.
I recall Stoner complained that Ducati were not spending any money at all during the season when he was riding for them. So, in 2011, how much money have Ducati and Marlboro thrown at the team for worse results?

As you have my spreadsheet, you can see that Rossi has completed 1,848 flying laps on a Ducati since November , 2011 compared to Stoner's 1,618 on the Honda. Rossi isnt exactly short of track time.

Wonder who would take Rossi after 2012 ? ...

As I remember it Rossi himself got 15 million Euro from Ducati when he signed.

Personally I am starting to doubt his ability on the Ducati. He has lost his confidence in the machine totally, the crash today is somewhat proof to that.

And he is reportedly starting from pitlane tomorrow, for conspiracy theorists, it is another lost race and he can still play hero by catching up. Lets give him this slack in 2011 by merits of his unbeatable (?) trackrecord. Come 2012 it is time to deliver, aim for the championship and podiums from the start. Nothing else will do.

In the hands of Stoner, the Ducati was a race-winning bike at the end of last season. At Valencia, Stoner beat all the Hondas. Then in the test, he went quickest on the Honda. Rossi was shockingly slow on the bike that almost won all the last few races. You can't say it's just the bike. Perhaps only riders near the start of their careers, who haven't learned different habits, can make the most of it.

"Perhaps only riders near the start of their careers, who haven't learned different habits, can make the most of it."

Is there no end to the theories that try to explain how Casey was so damn fast on the Ducati?

I think this one started when Abraham made a better-than-expected start to his MotoGP career, but that was starting from pretty rock-bottom expectations. In more recent rounds, I don't think he can claim to be getting the most out of it, so the theory is busted right there.

There's only one rider who can claim to have consistently got the most out of the Ducati 800, but he apparently gets the most out of anything (pole on the satellite LCR Honda in his second race, remember).

Great work from the Honda riders again in qp be interesting to see if Dani can stay with Casey and whether Casey's tyres will hold up, can't wait for the race. Also very impressive from Ben Spies, needs this kind of form every race weekend.
Presiozi's bike is a disaster and he has no idea how to fix it, he has lost control of the project.

Doesn't really matter how much the Ducati improves it is more a question of how much everyone else improves. Even the much maligned GSV-R Suzuki has improved, Ducati is treading water.
If Ducati improve to 2011 levels in 2012 then they will effectively not improve at all.

anybody sees stoner back on the ducati like i see?
ducati/malboro will eventually make the biggest offer in racing to persuade stoner back again and signing for life...ofcourse with the promise of heavy development work in-season and a private jet to ferry him, his wife and stoner jnr to and from races!

Casey is faster on the Honda than he ever was on the Ducati.
Honda is willing to give him whatever support he wants.
He's in the same livery/leathers as his hero, Mick Doohan.

"Casey is faster on the Honda than he ever was on the Ducati."

To be fair to Ducati, he did dominate on the 2007 screamer.

But I agree. I don't think Casey burnt any bridges with Ducati, but he seems to be much happier on the Honda. I don't think he's that driven by money (witness the amount he was on at Ducati) that they could tempt him back on to a bike with a history of seriously undermining all of its rider's reputation (ability).

Starting a race weekend from a reasonable base setting is something I think he appreciates much more.

I am willing to give Ducati / JB / VR a few more laps to find out if things are going to get better with their engineering changes, or worse, but it is good to see a frantic pace of prototype development in the premier prototype class. I am not willing to say that Rossi is, at this point in his career, able to adapt the way Stoner has. The times tell a story with Hayden doing slightly worse on a reportedly bumpier track. But the progress, for good or bad of the others says more than words on Stoner's ability to make a bike go.

Stoner looked unstoppable except for going down after his first lap into the 1:48's I believe. Hopefully someone else from the front row will find something to let them run with him and make it a race.

Also anyone else notice Dani shove a photographer in parc ferme after QP? Was that just fiery little Dani or what? He couldn't have been that mad at P 2.