Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) produced a brilliant performance at scorching hot Catalunya this afternoon to put himself in pole position for tomorrow’s Catalan MotoGP. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V), who started the last race at Le Mans from pole, ended the day a close fifth fastest, just 0.361s off pole.
Conditions could be very different for the race, however. While track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon, latest weather forecasts suggest that tomorrow will bring significantly cooler temperatures and possibly rain as well.
Stoner was a close second to pace-setter Pedrosa in this morning’s final free practice session, then found some more speed for qualifying.
The reigning World Champion spent much of the hour experimenting with the two rear tyre choices and despite having to contend with some chatter issues he was able to better title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by 0.146s, good enough to give him his second pole position of 2012.
After the session Stoner announced that he isn’t especially confident of victory tomorrow, but added that he is “definitely in it to win it”.
Two weeks ago Stoner finished third in the rain-soaked French GP, which lost him the World Championship lead to race winner Lorenzo. Stoner had won the previous two races at Jerez and Estoril and is aiming to score his third win of 2012 here at Catalunya where he dominated last year’s race.
Pedrosa missed out on a front-row start when he had a moment at the entry to turn ten during his final run. The Spaniard got his RCV crossed up on the brakes and had to run wide, which spoiled what should have been his fastest lap and consigned him to the second row. Nevertheless the former 125 and 250 World Champion is happy with the progress he has made over the past two days and believes he can be a contender tomorrow if his crew can make a few final tweaks to his RC213V.
Casey Stoner and Honda Back on Top at 2012 Catalunya MotoGP
Both Ducati Team riders will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow in the Catalan MotoGP, with Nicky Hayden in the seventh spot and Valentino Rossi ninth.
The Italian said he was satisfied with the good setup work done on his GP12 for qualifying today, enabling him to lower his lap time by over a second compared to yesterday, and perhaps more importantly, to maintain a decent and consistent race pace.
Hayden found a good feeling in the third free practice session, and after making changes to adapt the bike to the higher temperature, he turned in a good performance in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:42.029)
“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s. We’ll start seventh tomorrow, which isn’t great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it’s been all year. We’ll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:42.175)
“I’m pretty pleased because we improved the bike’s setup and we made the third row, which was our goal for today, even if I really lose a lot in the last part of the track, especially on entry in the last two corners. Anyway, we can also be pretty satisfied with our race pace because I was able to ride well and consistently, even on a used tyre. The forecasts say it could rain tomorrow, and of course we know that we can do well in the wet, although it could also be good for us even if we just get a bit cooler temperatures.”
Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes has taken the lead in the British Superbike Championship after two podium finishes at Sunday’s fourth round at Snetterton in Norfolk.
The consistent Aussie has taken six podiums from the opening eight races of the year putting him on 124 points at the top of the table; one ahead of Tommy Hill with Shane Byrne third on 108. Brookes and Byrne have eight podium credits apiece with Hill currently on 12.
Brookes battled with Michael Laverty at the head of proceedings in the early lap of race one in blistering hot conditions, but having used the best of his tyre, the Australian had to eventually settled for a solid third behind race winner Tommy Hill, with Laverty second.
A few set-up changes for race two saw Brookes settle in slowly, and although he remained in third place for the duration of the 16-lap encounter, he did come strong at the end.
“The team did a great job this weekend and even though we had a few set-up issues to work around to get the best of the rear Pirelli in the hot conditions, if third is our worst result on days like this I’ll be very happy. It’s more podium credits, which at this stage is nearly more important until we reach the cut off point, but it’s nice for our sponsors to see themselves at the top of the Championship table and proves the overall package of the new GSX-R1000 is working really well.”
Alastair Seeley was forced to bounce back from a frighteningly high-speed crash in Friday’s second qualifying session, which saw extensive damage to his GSX-R1000 after it went on fire. His crew did a great job rebuilding the bike overnight, but lady luck didn’t play her part in return for the effort on race day.
Josh Brookes and Tyco Suzuki Lead the 2012 British Superbike
Team Suzuki News Release
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in today’s second race of the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship from Miller Motorsports Park in America.
Camier made a good start and was in 11th position when the race was stopped due to another rider crashing on the track and spilling oil.
After a lengthy delay to clean the circuit, the race was re-started with the riders in the positions where the initial race was stopped. – meaning Camier started from row three in 11th place.
He again got a good start and pushed his way into the top-10, before getting involved in a long battle with Sylvain Guintoli.
Camier eventually had to settle for 11th, finishing just over 15 seconds behind the race-winner – a positive performance considering his initial grid position of 20th.
Camier had a good start in race one as well, but got involved in a mid-field battle that eventually saw him bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R home in 13th.
John Hopkins had a torrid race-day on his return to the team from injury. He crashed out of race one after his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R hit a kerb and slid from underneath him, fortunately he walked away uninjured. In race two Hopkins suffered with a technical issue that caused him to lose power. He battled all the way to the line to try and secure a points-scoring position, before eventually bringing his machine home safely in 16th. He was disappointed with the results, but pleased to have completed such an exhausting race with no ill-effects from his recent injuries and confident of making big steps when the championship returns to Europe.
Today’s races were held in bright and sunny conditions with air temperatures pushing up to 20°C. Current World Champion Carlos Checa won the first race on a Ducati, with Marco Melandri taking victory in the second on a BMW. Max Biaggi on an Aprilia strengthened his position at the head of the riders’ Championship by taking third place in both races.
Suzuki’s Leon Camier just misses Miller World Superbike Top-10
Honda’s radical Fury is a chopper like no other. Not only is it easily the most distinctive custom honda has ever built, but it’s comparable to one-off custom-house choppers costing ten times as much—except that it probably works and rides twice as well.
Long, lean and mean, stretching nearly six feet from axle to axle, this machine is a real head-turner. And once you settle into the saddle, turn the key and fire up that big 1312cc V-twin, you’ll know this is the bike you’ve been dreaming about.
The soul of a chopper. The heart of a Honda.
There’s no mistaking that the Fury is all about the way it looks, sounds and feels—and the way all these sensations make you feel when you’re riding it. But like all Hondas, the Fury is also a showcase of engineering, boasting innovative features like Programmed Fuel Injection, custom-cast wheels, specially designed shaft drive, and, of course, that monster 1312cc V-twin. Call it the perfect marriage of style and substance.
1312cc V-twin Engine
Powerful 1312cc, 52-degree V-twin engine with a single-pin crankshaft and dual balancers has plenty of torque, and the feel only a V-twin can deliver.
2012 Honda Fury Motorcycle
The Ducati Team is preparing for Sunday’s Catalan Grand Prix at the wonderful Circuit de Catalunya, which hosts the second of four MotoGP races held in Spain this season.
The circuit is one of Valentino Rossi’s favorites, having served as the scene for nine of his victories, and while Nicky Hayden has only achieved one podium finish at the track, he also appreciates its fast, open layout.
In addition to working on a race setup, the riders and the Ducati Team engineers, headed by Filippo Preziosi, will try to confirm that the development work on the Desmosedici GP12 is heading in the right direction. On Monday, they’ll also take part in a post-race test.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“Two Sundays ago, we got a nice result because we took advantage of the wet track, a condition in which we know we can be competitive, but we’re aware that we must continue improving in normal, dry conditions. Some of the things we tried in the Mugello test last week seemed promising. It will be interesting to try them on a different track, and with must less time to set the bike up, to see if they’re really a small step forward. The Catalunya circuit has always been one of my favorites, and although it’s hard to imagine another podium, we must still do our best to finish with the front riders.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Although I’ve struggled a bit at Catalunya the last few years, I do like the track, and it’s one of the calendar’s great GPs. It’s pretty wide, open and fast, and it’s really important to have good edge grip, especially in the last bit with all the long right-handers. Luckily we got some good weather in Mugello and were able to test a few things with setup, and I look forward to taking them to a race to see if we’ve really done any progress.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“First of all, I’d like to extend a thought to the people who were affected by the earthquake that struck the Emilia Romagna region, which we’re all deeply attached to, and in which Ducati and its workers are located. As for our work, we’ll continue giving our all. We’re going to Catalunya, which is a fast track with big, long corners that require good grip. It’s a good opportunity to check the work we’ve been doing. At Le Mans we confirmed that we’re competitive in the wet, but our main goal is still to reduce the gap to the front in the dry.”
WSBK, Miller Motorsport Park, USA, 29 May 2012
Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes scored eighth and fifth place finishes today in the USA and in doing so went equal second in the table. His team-mate Loris Baz was also in the points twice.
Having qualified third on the grid, despite struggling for a time to match his usual practice excellence at a circuit that proved challenging for man and machine, Sykes was unable to overcome a less than ideal race set-up in the first race, which went to a full 21-lap distance.
He led for the first four laps but eventually dropped back as he was unable to make corner entries as fast as many of his rivals. He finished eighth.
Race two was started then stopped after three laps when another rider’s machine hit the kerbstones and in the resultant crash spilt significant quantities of oil on the track surface, causing a long delay to the eventual 18-lap restart.
Tom was second off the grid for that race but he was forced back to fifth and had to battle hard to the end with Eugene Laverty to keep his fifth place.
Loris Baz, being eased into his relatively new role as replacement rider for the injured Joan Lascorz, rode sensibly to take a point for 15th in race one and go one place better in race two. He had been 17th in qualifying.
In the championship Max Biaggi leads with 160.5 points, Marco Melandri and Sykes share 142.5 and Baz’s three points in America put him 20th in the rankings, with 11 points in total.
Two Good Points Scores Keep Sykes Close To World Superbike Lead