Pedrosa Takes Czech Pole, Spies 2nd!

Paul Carruthers | August 14, 2010

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa led an action-filled final qualifying session for tomorrow’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at the Brno Circuit, the Spainard earning his third pole of the season and 16th of his career after knocking Ben Spies from the top spot with just a few minutes left in the session. Still, Spies held on for second and will make his first front-row start after the best MotoGP qualifying performance of his young career.”It was a great qualifying session and to be back on pole position is fantastic after such a long time – the last time was in Italy at the beginning of June,” Pedrosa said in a team release. “We’ve done a very good job so far this weekend and we have established a good pace for the race, but we still need to keep a clear mind, stay focused, and try to be ready for any conditions because the weather forecast for tomorrow is very uncertain. Anyway, the team did a very good job today and I hope if it’s dry we can have a strong race and go for the victory. I won’t really be approaching the race tomorrow with a particular strategy. In this championship you have to find your own limit because there are a lot of riders going fast and you can only concentrate on your own performance and do the best you can. So I really hope to do a great job tomorrow and at least to be back on the podium.”Pedrosa lapped at a best of 1:56.508 to top Spies and his 1:56.846, the Texan still pleased to be starting from the front row for the first time and coming so close to his first pole position.”Went into qualifying kinda blind because the weekend started out kind of slow,” Spies said. “We made progress with the bike, but I didn’t think we were in contention for a front row, let alone a pole position. Went out and did a couple of laps and saw that I was P1, P2 and I thought that everybody was about to start going faster, but I saw there was only four minutes left. I tried to do a better lap, but on the first sector when I could see I wasn’t on a good lap, I put the brakes on. I’m happy with the team and we made some changes with the bike and I’m comfortable with it. We’ll just hope for some dry weather and try to ride as hard as we can, but it’s going to be a tough race tomorrow.”Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, meanwhile, will be trying to win his seventh GP of the season and he will do so from the front row after ending the session in third. Lorenzo crashed at the very end of the one-hour session in turn 11, but escaped without injury.”This wasn’t the best practice session of the year for us,” Lorenzo said. “We made some modifications that didn’t work and it was especially a problem in the front, which was closing on me a lot. I wasn’t fast and I was having to take too many risks. Then I made a mistake and the bike went flying! I really hope the engine is okay for tomorrow. Luckily I am not hurt and I was able to get up straight away. We are still on the front row and we can’t always be on top! I think tomorrow will be a tough race, but we will see how we can improve our setting and see what happens.”Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner will start the race from the head of the second row after qualifying fourth despite suffering from grip issues. He will be joined on row two by Valentino Rossi, the Fiat Yamaha rider visibly upset after crashing in turn 13 not long after Lorenzo’s crash. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso will complete row two after ending the session in sixth.The remaining two Americans will sit on row three with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards leading Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, with Hayden also taking a tumble in the session. Row three will be completed by rookie Hector Barbera on the Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati.Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi rounded out the top 10. Capirossi’s teammate Alvaro Bautista didn’t take part in the session after crashing in the morning session and hurting his back. He is expected to race tomorrow, however.

Final Qualifying

1.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:56.508

2.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:56.846

3.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:56.865

4.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:56.868

5.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:57.059

6.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:57.117

7.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:57.222

8.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:57.635

9.                  Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:57.960

10.                  Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:57.981

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.