2012 Qatar MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Scintillating Battle Goes Down To Wire

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

Jorge Lorenzo has taken a sensational pole at Qatar, after a fascinating duel with Casey Stoner to decide the starting grid. Lorenzo's pole breaks Stoner's grip on the position since 2009, and a repeat of the feat he achieved in his rookie year.

It was clear from the start of the session that pole would be decided between the two protagonists for last year's championship. Lorenzo had taken an early lead, the Repsol Honda rider taking over from the Yamaha man after some ten minutes. After the teams switched focus from race setup to qualifying, Stoner took the first shot at pole, seeming to have a strong grip on the position. But as the minutes ticked away, the battle hotted up, Lorenzo taking pole back from Stoner, Stoner responding to recover it, before Lorenzo finally put in a fast lap to take control of pole.

Lorenzo was understandably elated, clearly reaping the rewards of a very strong Yamaha M1. Stoner, meanwhile, ran into the dreaded chattering which has plagued the Honda throughout the preseason, and had no response for Lorenzo. In 3rd, Cal Crutchlow demonstrated his outstanding form on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha 1000, getting close to Stoner's times and putting nearly half a second on Yamaha's second rider Ben Spies. Spies suffered a bizarre crash towards the end of the session, nearly sliding out in Turn 2, trying to hang on to the bike before losing the battle.

Nicky Hayden is the first of the Factory Ducatis, the American just over a second behind Lorenzo, and ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso and the second Repsol bike of Dani Pedrosa. Pramac Ducati's Hector Barbera will start from 8th, ahead of Stefan Bradl and Karel Abraham. 

Valentino Rossi struggled through a miserable qualifying to end the session over two seconds behind Lorenzo, his former teammate, and less than a second ahead of the fastest CRT rider, Colin Edwards on the NGM Mobile Suter BMW.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'54.634    
2 1 Casey STONER HONDA 1'54.855 0.221 0.221
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'55.022 0.388 0.167
4 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'55.512 0.878 0.490
5 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'55.637 1.003 0.125
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 1'55.858 1.224 0.221
7 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'55.905 1.271 0.047
8 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'55.983 1.349 0.078
9 6 Stefan BRADL HONDA 1'56.063 1.429 0.080
10 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'56.198 1.564 0.135
11 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA HONDA 1'56.521 1.887 0.323
12 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'56.813 2.179 0.292
13 5 Colin EDWARDS SUTER 1'57.644 3.010 0.831
14 14 Randy DE PUNIET ART 1'58.266 3.632 0.622
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ART 1'58.520 3.886 0.254
16 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ BQR-FTR 1'58.795 4.161 0.275
17 51 Michele PIRRO FTR 1'59.085 4.451 0.290
18 54 Mattia PASINI ART 1'59.195 4.561 0.110
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI IODA 1'59.664 5.030 0.469
20 22 Ivan SILVA BQR-FTR 2'00.493 5.859 0.829
21 77 James ELLISON ART 2'00.757 6.123 0.264


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Does anyone else remember Rossi saying Lorenzo doesn't know how to develop a bike? ....things that make you go hmmmm?

That the one getting chased down by CRT's this year would be non other than Valentino Rossi.

Anything can happen, such is the beauty of racing.

Should the Yamaha riders opt to gamble with the soft for the race and it hangs on it will be close for the first 5 spots.Should the data suggest the harder option for race distance,I have to go with Stoner.
Anyway,a cagey battle between George and Casey on the cards. Cal,Ben close initially.
The big issue is the start. The Ducati's have some serious grunt. Nick and a few other L-twin riders could really mess things up for the favourites for a couple of laps,thus bunching up the pack.
That in itself should produce much cut and thrust early on.
Honda/Pedrosa ? Rossi/Ducati ? Yeah,I watched Hector hang onto George as did Stefan early on,but its not illegal,its qualifying. Rossi should try it perhaps.
Another blow for him. His ex team mates in the form of Edwards and Hayden are just going for it. He should be too. Grab a tow,do something. His bike was fastest on the front straight by 20+ over Colin,yet he only topped him by .8sec over the lap time. Pride commeth before a fall and all. His ego won't allow him to follow. Everyone must follow him. The Ducati situation is becomming intollerable and its not all about the bike. Even Del Torchio has to admit it.

A good session - I was thinking they might barely make it in to the 1.54's - but sooo fast..

Cal is amazing, Rossi?? Damn what's up with my hero? Looks like Cal was wrong and Rossi was not sandbagging.

Looks like we're going to have some great racing this year - I hope so.

Let the games begin!

Cal Crutchlow: Wow! Looks like he's really got his game on!

Nicky Hayden: Impressive. I know that the 1000's supposedly suit him better than the 800's but I still can't help wonder what might have been if Honda had developed their 800 around him rather than Pedrosa in 2007.

0.878 seconds between first and fourth: At last week's World Superbike race the top FIFTEEN were within 0.820 seconds...

None of those WSBK riders would have been within the top 5 in MotoGP. The stat sounds interesting but really isn't meaningful except that it tells you that WSBK riders make more mistakes.

Looks like Qualifying was actually close to having "not qualifying" backs at the back of the CRT ranks. It will be a different game tomorrow when tire wear may make the race interesting for a long time. get to the front an get wide, or butter your bread later... lots of stuff to watch. perhaps the future attendance of MotoGP races will not decline as much without Rossi if he doesn't get it fixed... Melandri might still have the number of that psychologist.

With the soft tyres only lasting a few laps before going off I don't believe we'll see too many in the race. The Yamahas seem very well sorted, especially on the soft tyres.
The times in WUP with the bikes in race set up will be very interesting.
Bring it on!

Everyone kept talking about how Spies was hanging on to the bike but watching the replay it really looks like his hand was stuck. I can't imagine anyone consciously holding on to a bike while sliding next to it.

One thing I noticed was Rossi's FP3 time was three tenths faster than his qualifying time.

And there were those that thought Lorenzo would be disadvantaged moving to the litre bikes. ha ha.

Stars for me in no particular order and all for differing reasons. He of the low hanging fruit in 3rd. Bradl for his stellar adaption to the sophisticated MotoGP machines (held up by Rossi too when going for a time at the death) and Edwards, he and team have marched that thing on big time to be only 3 seconds shy here. Well done old man!

Rossi sandbagging......bawaaaa! I hope they get this sorted. I hate to see a champion go out like this. I'm not sure what's really going on there. Wish I was an Italian speaking fly on the wall in his garage though!

A lot of assumptions are being made on one qualifying session. I think you'd have to get through 3 races before jumping off the cliff.

The only thing I can think of is Gresini is using Showa shocks. They are the only team using the Showa shocks this year?

The LCR Honda of Bradl is using the Ohlins.