Dani Pedrosa (r) topped Jorge Lorenzo (l) for his first pole of 2013. Dani Pedrosa (r) topped Jorge Lorenzo (l) for his first pole of 2013. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Pedrosa takes first pole of season

Written by  on Saturday, 01 June 2013 18:54

MotoGP World Championship leader Dani Pedrosa stole a last-minute pole position to cap off a dramatic qualifying session for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on Saturday. The Repsol Honda Team rider will share the front row with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who overcame a neck injury for a front row slot.

Until Free Practice 4 Pedrosa had not been quickest so far this weekend at Mugello but, shortly after Lorenzo had beaten his pole position record of 2012, overcame his compatriot with a best effort of 1:47.157. This left less than a tenth of a second between the top two, with Dovizioso cementing a front row position for the second consecutive race; this was notwithstanding the fact that the leading Italian was on painkillers after crashing on Friday. The top eight riders all enjoyed a short time on the provisional front row, but a flurry of changes made for an action-packed Q2.

In sealing the top spot and thus breaking his own pole record for Mugello, Pedrosa ends the stranglehold that has seen only either Marquez or Lorenzo take the top qualifying spot so far this season.

"Today it was a hard session at the end," Pedrosa told motogp.com. "I could not really find a space to do a lap time – many riders were behind me. I was not high up in the order before my last lap, but was able to do a great lap so I’m on pole tomorrow. The most important thing is that we have made improvements to improve the rhythm of the bike."

Pedrosa was seen during the session to shake an arm at Dovizioso, but has since moved to elucidate the action:

"He was trying to follow me. I understand his position. It was not only him, he was just one of them, but everything is alright."

Ultimately, Lorenzo missed out on the top spot by barely half a tenth of a second.

“I was surprised by my lap time, a 47.6 – that was really impressive and I didn’t expect it,” the Mallorcan began. “I also didn’t expect the lap time from Dani on the second try. I expected to be on pole, but that happens sometimes…and other times it happens the other way round. Anyway, I think second is a good position for tomorrow.

“We have to try and make a good start to lead the race at the beginning because we have strong pace on the first two laps. It is going to be really difficult, as Dani and his team have improved the bike so much and he has improved his riding style; he is stronger with every practice session, so it is going to be difficult for us to fight with Dani and the Honda, but we are going to try until the end.”

Dovizioso was thrilled to have earned a second consecutive front row position in Italy on Saturday, this time doing so in both his and Ducati Team’s home nation.

“The front row for us - at Mugello with the Ducati,” he smiled during an interview with motogp.com. “That is really important for all of the fans and all of the sponsors. Our target is to fight for the podium but our pace isn’t podium pace at the moment. I hope tomorrow will be colder because our bike will work better. For now, we’re on the front row and it’s good, so we’ll see what happens in the race.”

Dovizioso also shared his version of the incident with Pedrosa.

“I have a good relationship with Dani,” he explained, “so I have no problem speaking with him. He complained because too many riders delayed him, but I can understand him because he was fast and wanted a clear track to try and do the best…but when you haven’t disrupted his fast lap, he can’t say anything.

“In the safety commission, we have spoken a lot about riders being in the middle of the track when someone else is pushing – that is really bad and really dangerous – but that didn’t happen today. I was really clean and clear with him and off the line; it was bad for him because he wanted a clear track, but we are (all) on the track and trying to follow a faster rider to be on the front row.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow will start fourth, still riding with a broken leg and despite an early crash in Q2, as LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl pipped Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez for the middle slot on the second row; incidentally, the rookie had crashed in each of the first three practices - not least on Friday afternoon when he was fortunate to escape a high-speed accident - and had progressed to the shootout from Q1 for the first time.

Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi – riding with a turtle-inspired helmet design – was disappointed to have plummeted to seventh at the last moment, heading up Row 3 from Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

Michele Pirro achieved the first top 10 qualifying result for the Ducati GP13 Lab bike, leading the fourth row from Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who unlike on previous occasions had headed directly to Q2.

Failing to pass through to Q2 on his second bike, Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone will start his first premier class home Grand Prix from 13th place, although teammate Ben Spies has pulled out of the weekend as he continues to suffer pain with a pectoral muscle. Accompanying Iannone on Row 5 will be Randy de Puniet (14th) and Hector Barbera (15th) for their respective Aspar and Avintia Blusens outfits.

Sunday’s 23-lap Gran Premio d’Italia TIM begins at 2:00pm local time.

Moto2™ championship leader Scott Redding will start on pole position for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider will share Sunday’s front row with Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami and Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter, who achieves a career-best qualifying result.

Englishman Redding sealed the top spot - and his second pole, after Texas - with a best effort of 1:52.958, edging out Japan’s Nakagami who maintains his 100 percent front row record for 2013. German Schrotter was highly pleased with third position, having first contested a World Championship race in the 125 class in 2008.

Row 2 will be made up of Johann Zarco, Nico Terol and Esteve Rabat for Came Iodaracing Project, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 and Tuenti HP 40 respectively, but there was much frustration for Rabat’s teammate Pol Espargaro who had topped final practice but at the end of qualifying was bumped right down to 10th place.

Germany’s Jonas Folger will start on pole position for the Moto3™ Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello. The Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 rider pipped championship leader Maverick Viñales by less than one tenth of a second as Alex Rins completed the front row.

Folger, who is currently fourth in the championship standings, had led the opening practice session on Friday and now returns to the top courtesy of his late 1:57.603 lap time.

MotoGP Qualifying Results

 1

  Dani Pedrosa

 1'47.157

 SPA

HONDA

 Repsol Honda Team

  2

  Jorge Lorenzo

 1'47.226

 SPA

YAMAHA

 Yamaha Factory Racing

  3

  Andrea Dovizioso

 1'47.628

 ITA

DUCATI

 Ducati Team

  4

  Cal Crutchlow

 1'47.632

 GBR

YAMAHA

 Monster Yamaha Tech 3

  5

  Stefan Bradl

 1'47.737

 GER

HONDA

 LCR Honda MotoGP

  6

  Marc Marquez

 1'47.763

 SPA

HONDA

 Repsol Honda Team

  7

  Valentino Rossi

 1'47.872

 ITA

YAMAHA

 Yamaha Factory Racing

  8

  Nicky Hayden

 1'48.006

 USA

DUCATI

 Ducati Team

  9

  Alvaro Bautista

 1'48.355

 SPA

HONDA

 Go & Fun Honda Gresini

  10

  Michele Pirro

 1'48.564

 ITA

DUCATI

 Ducati Test Team

  11

  Bradley Smith

 1'48.706

 GBR

YAMAHA

 Monster Yamaha Tech 3

  12

  Aleix Espargaro

 1'48.765

 SPA

ART

 Power Electronics Aspar

  13

  Andrea Iannone

 1'49.265

 ITA

DUCATI

 Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team

  14

  Randy De Puniet

 1'49.266

 FRA

ART

 Power Electronics Aspar

  15

  Hector Barbera

 1'49.847

 SPA

FTR

 Avintia Blusens

  16

  Danilo Petrucci

 1'50.518

 ITA

IODA-SUTER

 Came IodaRacing Project

  17

  Colin Edwards

 1'50.701

 USA

FTR-KAWASAKI

 NGM Mobile Forward Racing

  18

  Claudio Corti

 1'50.729

 ITA

FTR-KAWASAKI

 NGM Mobile Forward Racing

  19

  Michael Laverty

 1'50.787

 GBR

PBM

 Paul Bird Motorsport

  20

  Karel Abraham

 1'51.089

 CZE

ART

 Cardion AB Motoracing

  21

  Yonny Hernandez

 1'51.239

 COL

PBM

 Paul Bird Motorsport

  22

  Bryan Staring

 1'51.981

 AUS

FTR

 Go & Fun Honda Gresini

  23

  Hiroshi Aoyama

 1'52.148

 JAP

FTR

 Avintia Blusens

  24

  Lukas Pesek

 1'52.345

 CZE

IODA-SUTER

 Came IodaRacing Project

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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