The MotoGP™ championship was largely spared by the British weather during today’s qualifying practices at the Hertz British Grand Prix, where, in an incident-packed session, it was San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista who recorded his first ever premier-class pole position at Silverstone ahead of Ben Spies and Casey Stoner.
With rain starting to fall five minutes before the end, no one was able to trump Bautista’s time in the low 2.03’s, which displaced Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies onto second on the grid, who himself ran off track on a few occasions throughout. The front row is completed by this morning’s pace-setter Casey Stoner, who looked to be struggling with chatter on his bike once more in the afternoon session.
Spies’ teammate and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo heads the second row, after a mistake at turn 6 on his hot-lap meant he was unable to place any higher. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa lines up next to him in fifth, after having found a little bit more confidence in the new Bridgestone front tyre. Completing the second row is Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who looked full of confidence as he qualified as highest placed Ducati.
Seventh place is occupied by Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who managed to post his fast lap before crashing out at Vale corner in the latter stages. In eighth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso was unusually low down the order, after having impressed in free practice this morning. The top ten is rounded out by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, riding with an injured finger after a crash this morning, as well as Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who had a near carbon-copy crash to Hayden in the same corner at the start of the session. Both Ducati riders walked away unscathed. Best CRT finisher was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró in 11th.
The Qualifying Practice did not include local rider Cal Crutchlow, as he crashed his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine in the morning practice, injuring his ankle. He underwent medial checks at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, which confirmed he did not incur any fractures, but that it was sprained. Crutchlow is undergoing treatment at the hospital, and will have a final assessment tomorrow morning to see if he is fit to race.
Bautista’s pole position is the first time since the Assen TT race last year that Lorenzo, Stoner or Pedrosa have not started from first. At that race, it was also the San Carlo squad that took top spot with the late Marco Simoncelli.