01 June 2013 - 09:09
And it's Dani Pedrosa on pole...finally!
If you happen to be an avid MotoGP follower, you will know that we are already four races into this season, with this weekend's Italian GP being the fifth. Out of those four races, Dani Pedrosa has won the last two (at his home circuit with ease, and at Le Mans with some effort), but hasn't started a race from pole position this year. Even up until the dying moments of the qualifying session, it didn't seem like Pedrosa would stand a chance of taking the top spot here either. If that made you switch to another channel though, you missed out on quite something.
After spending most of his qualifying time poking around in 7th place, Pedrosa, nearing the end of Q2, probably realised that the fastest qualifying lap record at Mugello (set by Pedrosa himself last year) had been broken by Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who had ruled practice as well as qualifying all along. That did not sit well with Repsol Honda's No.1, and did he reply in some fashion.
Last lap, with Yamaha almost certain of having at least one rider on the front row (with Rossi - sporting a rather quirky helmet at his home circuit - settling for 7th place ahead of Nicky Hayden and Alvaro Bautista), witnessed Pedrosa notch up a scorching lap time which beat Lorenzo's newly-set circuit record by less than a tenth of a second. That's only a whisker away, but it means that Pedrosa will finally start from pole for the first time this season.
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, nursing a grievous neck injury, battled his way to the 3rd spot on the grid, as Cal Crutchlow - carrying a fractured leg - secured 4th, despite tumbling again in Q2. Surprisingly, LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl made sure he wasn't enamoured by rookie magic as he finished qualifying in 5th, ahead of Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez. Marc won't be complaining though. He must be considering himself fortunate to be in one piece after crashing in each of the practice sessions, falling off the bike at 300kph+ on one occasion.
Right then. Three different teams on the front row on Sunday - Repsol Honda, Yamaha, Ducati. Who do you put your money on?