Casey Disappointed With Catalunya Qualifying But Confident Of Race pace
Everything is ready for the Catalunya Grand Prix after the second day of practice held today, which shaped the starting grid, where Casey Stoner will start from the first row and Andrea Dovizioso from the second. The Australian rider saw Marco Simoncelli snatch the pole position from him in the second-to-last lap and he had no chance to counterattack.
In the free morning session, Casey Stoner was again the fastest, improving in the first laps the times he set yesterday. His team mate at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso, finished fifth.
The Repsol riders clearly dominated most of this afternoon’s qualifying session. Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso only needed four laps to set the first and second fastest time, respectively. Both Repsol Honda Team rider improved in this first lap their best registers of the whole weekend.
As the clock was ticking, Casey Stoner kept the lead of the classification, setting his fastest time in his seventeenth lap, with 1 minute, 42 seconds and 429 thousandths. This time allowed the Repsol Honda Team rider to lead the session until the last minute, when Marco Simoncelli overtook him by 16 thousandths. Stoner did not have time to launch a counterattack so he settled for his position in the first row of the starting grid.
The Italian rider of the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso, was able to keep a good pace during all the qualifying session, which allowed him to improve his first fastest lap four times. With his last register, Dovizioso improved in nearly 9 tenths his fastest time in the free practice and finished 21 thousandths behind the third position.
FP3 – 1:42.691, 17 laps, 80 km.
QP – 1:42.429, 24 laps, 113 km.
“I’m disappointed with qualifying, we had good pace and should have been able to go a lot faster on new tyres. In my first run of the session the bike wasn’t working so well, the tyres weren’t warming up as expected with that set up and I had a lot less grip on the soft tyre, which we couldn’t understand why.
We tried changing inner pressure but it made it worse and we weren’t able to do anything with the last tyre which I’m very frustrated with because I almost did the same laptime with the soft and the hard tyre.
Front row is obviously where we want to be but I’m annoyed as we spent the whole session working on the tyres and not improving the bike set up. For tomorrow we’re confident with our race pace on hard tyres if the weather stays dry, it’s just upsetting to have a qualifying session like this”.