story and photos courtesy MotoGP
MotoGP points leader Dani Pedrosa stole a last-minute pole position to cap off a dramatic qualifying session for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM in Mugello today. 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 in any practice session so far this weekend 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.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow will start fourth, still riding with a broken leg, 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. Crutchlow on the other hand had crashed in the Q2 session, yet cited that it had a positive side, as he found out he preferred the set-up on his second bike.
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 ten 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. Gresini CRT runner Bryan Staring managed 22nd position on his 26th birthday, one spot ahead of Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama who had endured two accidents earlier on in the day.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 1:47.157
2- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1:47.226
3- Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati 1:47.628
1st CRT 12- Aleix Espargaro SPA ART 1:48.765
Moto2™ championship leader Scott Redding will start on pole position for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello, with the Marc VDS Racing Team rider sharing Sunday’s front row with Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami and Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter, who achieved 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% front row record for 2013. German Schrotter was highly pleased with third position, having first contested a World Championship race in the 125cc 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 tenth place.
Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon lines up behind Rabat in seventh, ahead of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis in eighth, and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres in ninth. There was a double fall during this session for Mattia Pasini and Louis Rossi, leaving the NGM Mobile Racing and Tech 3 riders 19th and 24th quickest.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Scott Redding GBR Kalex 1:52.958
2- Takaaki Nakagami JAP Kalex 1:53.123
3- Marcel Schrotter GER Kalex 1:53.221
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 beat 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 once again returned to the top courtesy of his late 1’57.603 lap time. Team Calvo’s Viñales is well placed to defend his lead in the title race, whereas Rins starts on the front row for the fourth time in three races so far this year. Row 2 will be occupied by Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom and Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira.
GO&FUN Honda Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli will be the leading Italian rider on the grid from seventh spot, hoping to defend off the start line from Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil (who missed second practice due to labyrinthitis, an inner ear complaint), Ambrogio Racing’s Danny Webb (who returns after suffering concussion at Le Mans) and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez. In 31st spot, Mahindra’s Efren Vazquez continued to suffer pain from his broken right collarbone.
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Jonas Folger GER Kalex KTM 1:57.603
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 1:57.669
3- Alex Rins SPA KTM 1:58.046