MotoGP: Pedrosa smashes lap record to take Pole Position

Repsol Honda championship leader Dani Pedrosa rode the lap of his life around the Montmelo circuit at Barcelona this afternoon to take Pole Position with the fastest ever lap of the Catalan track. The previous record was set five years ago by former HRC team mate Casey Stoner on a Ducati with a lap of 1:41.186 but Pedrosa smashed that to set a new best time of 1:40.893s.

Pedrosa, fastest man ever round Montmelo

Photo: Repsol Honda
The afternoon began with the FP4 session, times from this session don’t count towards the Qualifying session immediately following but gives riders chance to try different tyre combinations without the pressure of setting the fastest possible time. As such nobody posted a sub-1.41 minute lap as combinations of soft and hard Bridgestone tyres were used and at the end of the 30 minute session it was Pedrosa from Crutchlow and Lorenzo ahead of Rossi, Bradl, Marquez, Hayden, Espargaro, Dovizioso and Bautista.
Q1 sorts out the final two places for Q2 session with the top ten from FP3. With one CRT already in the top 10 it was up to De Puniet to battle the the Tech3 Yamaha of Bradley Smith and the Pramac Ducati’s of Iannone and Pirro to fight for the right to join the second 15 minute session. Iannone went fastest out of the box with a lap of 1:41.972 as Pirro and Smith got up to speed.
As the session progressed it was clear that the battle would be down to Smith, Ianonne and Pirro as De Puniet couldn’t match the pace of the satellite bikes. Smith took a deep breath and a ‘Hail Mary’ lap to set the fastest time of Q1 with a 1:42.607s his fastest time of the weekend, ahead of Andrea Iannone as they both progressed to Q2.
There was drama at the start of the much-anticipated Q2 session as Jorge Lorenzo had clutch trouble on his number one bike and immediately returned to the garage gesticulating animatedly. He soon gathered himself together and took to the track on his number two bike, immediately setting the third fastest time with a 1:41.717s lap to try and rescue his record of front row starts this season., but it was Pedrosa that stole the show with a display of controlled aggression and precision riding that underlines his championship potential.
Lorenzo snatched second from Crutchlow in the dying seconds only to see the Brit take it back on the very next lap with fabulous lap of 1:41.501, to reinforce the Brit riders quest for a factory ride in 2014. Bautista held third until the last lap before Lorenzo put in his fast final lap to pip the Spaniard ahead of a resurgent Nicky Hayden, Marc Marquez couldn’t quite rediscover the form of FP3 in 6th and Valentino Rossi qualifying in his almost accustomed third row placing. 
The Italian nine-time champion has much work to do tomorrow if he’s to get away with the front group and avoid a repeat of the debacle of Mugello…with Bautista in front of him on the grid. The race tomorrow will be a masterclass in tyre conservation, race pace will be in the mid-1:42s but the track temperature higher than the 50deg of today so choice of Bridgestone will be crucial. 
Q1 Times:
Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 330.3 1’42.607
2 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 338.1 1’42.660 0.053 / 0.053
3 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 319.2 1’43.186 0.579 / 0.526
4 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 331.8 1’43.330 0.723 / 0.144
5 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 318.5 1’43.659 1.052 / 0.329
6 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 318.9 1’43.983 1.376 / 0.324
7 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 320.9 1’44.362 1.755 / 0.379
8 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 317.3 1’44.369 1.762 / 0.007
9 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 319.3 1’44.603 1.996 / 0.234
10 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 322.0 1’44.630 2.023 / 0.027
11 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 318.9 1’44.913 2.306 / 0.283
12 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 317.2 1’45.441 2.834 / 0.528
13 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 313.2 1’46.302 3.695 / 0.861
14 77 Javier DEL AMOR SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 309.4 1’48.952 6.345 / 2.650

Weather Conditions:

  |   Track Condition: Dry|   Air: 30º| Humidity: 26%|   Ground: 52º

Q2 Times:
Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 339.3 1’40.893
2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 336.3 1’41.501 0.608 / 0.608
3 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 336.4 1’41.566 0.673 / 0.065
4 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 339.5 1’41.714 0.821 / 0.148
5 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 341.5 1’41.800 0.907 / 0.086
6 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 342.4 1’41.842 0.949 / 0.042
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 336.1 1’41.959 1.066 / 0.117
8 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 338.7 1’41.963 1.070 / 0.004
9 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 337.6 1’42.053 1.160 / 0.090
10 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 339.9 1’42.090 1.197 / 0.037
11 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 330.2 1’42.548 1.655 / 0.458
12 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 324.4 1’42.878 1.985 / 0.330

Weather Conditions:

  |   Track Condition: Dry|   Air: 30º| Humidity: 27%|   Ground: 52º


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