Today’s MotoGP qualifying was held in warm and sunny conditions with the Indianapolis track temperatures over 50ºC.
With Ben Spies taking his first ever MotoGP pole position and here’s what 16 of the 17 riders had to say after the session.
Ben Spies -1st “This is a great feeling for me to get my first MotoGP pole position and for it to come in front of the American crowd and here at Indianapolis with all the history makes it even more special.
And I’m glad for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team too.
This team helped catapult me into this position and I’ve been trying to give as much for them as I can, even though I’ll be moving to Yamaha’s factory team next year.
I’ve got to say I really put it on the line this afternoon.
I’d come so close at Brno a couple of weeks ago to getting my first pole position and I really wanted to finish the job on home soil.
And being on the front row with Nicky too is pretty incredible for MotoGP racing in America.
There was no way coming into this weekend that I thought this result was possible.
Bur I’ve been able to do it and now I’m going to concentrate on getting a good start and giving it everything in the race.
I’d love a podium and my best result at home but I’m not going to get ahead of myself.
But right now I’ll certainly enjoy today.
” Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd “This was a really difficult session because it was so hot and the track was very slippery and bumpy, it was hard to know what to expect! Luckily we managed a good lap and I’m happy with second place, Ben’s lap was amazing so well done to him.
A good start will be really important tomorrow because there are many fast riders behind and I think it will be a tough battle for everyone.
Our setting is good and we are happy with the choice for the tyre so we will try our best and see what we can do here in Indy.
”Nicky Hayden – 3rd “I finally got my first front row with Ducati – it only took a year and a half! We’re really happy for it though especially because it’s so important for tomorrow’s race.
If I want to be running up front tomorrow I have to be there from the start and I told Juan [Martinez – Nicky’s crew chief] before the session that we were due a front row and today was the day to get it.
We found a decent setting on race tyres and when we put the soft compound in the jump was so big it felt like the kind of qualifying tyres we used to have.
To have two American’s on the front row is great for MotoGP in this country and for everybody who supports it over here.
Hopefully it brings out a big crowd tomorrow and we’ll do our best to put on a good show.
”Andrea Dovizioso – 4th“I’m satisfied with the front of the second row, especially because our race pace is fast – so I’m confident for tomorrow.
It will be important to make a good start.
I think it will be a tight group going into the first turns, and Spies and Nicky will be very determined in front of their home fans, but actually the fastest person in terms of race pace is Dani.
He has a margin of two or three tenths compared to us so it will be a tough race because there isn’t much grip and you need to ride smoothly to exploit what grip there is – this can be difficult to do in a race situation.
The team did a good job today, we improved the stability at the front a lot and we made a big improvement with the electronic set-up – especially with the traction control.
I think the tyre choice will have to be the hard compound, and this means we look in pretty good shape for the race.
”Dani Pedrosa – 5th“We improved our times quite a lot from yesterday and made some good progress with the machine set-up and race pace.
In the final moments of qualifying though we couldn’t go any faster on the softer tyre and so we have to settle for the second row – which isn’t perfect – but still I think we can make a good start and compete at the front tomorrow.
With these high track temperatures it looks like the harder option tyre will be the one to go with and we have a decent pace on this tyre, although I don’t know if all the riders will make the same choice.
Tomorrow it will be a very tough race physically, and also for the tyres because it will be very difficult to control the tyre temperature in the race.
I’m sure the American riders will be very strong, and also the riders who are normally at the front, so here maybe we will have more rivals to consider.
Still, my feeling with the hard Bridgestone is good so I think we can do a good race tomorrow.
” Casey Stoner – 6th“I’m not very happy with this afternoon’s qualifying session, we expected to be a little faster.
During the session we struggled to find the grip with the hard tyre so we spent a lot of time trying to fix it and unfortunately we tried a couple of different things and then when we switched immediately to soft tyres we had trouble with the setting and we didn’t have a lot of feeling.
I’m a little disappointed for sure but I think we can expect a little bit better race pace, so I’m confident enough for tomorrow.
I think we should have a bit better race pace than some of the riders in front of us today.
”Valentino Rossi – 7th“We worked hard today to try to recover the feeling we’ve lost and we have made some improvement.
Unfortunately I crashed at the worst point in the session, with the soft tyre in and doing some fast laps but with not enough time left to try again.
It could have been worse because I thought I would end up much further back than seventh, so we can be happy for this.
This track is very bumpy and I really think something needs to be done to some parts of it to improve it.
I don’t know when the last time I crashed twice on one day is but for sure it was many years ago, back in the 90s perhaps! Luckily I am okay, nothing is hurt and this is the most important thing.
I think tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day because me, Pedrosa and Stoner are all behind the front row which is unusual.
It could be fun!” Marco Simoncelli – 8th“To be honest after practice this morning I thought I could have gone faster than this but I am quite satisfied to be in eighth place.
Unfortunately the track conditions this afternoon weren’t as good as this morning because of the heat and I struggled more.
The race will be an hour later tomorrow but the track temperatures will be more or less the same so we need to improve and hope that our rivals suffer in a similar way to us.
I am confident though and I have set myself the target of finally finishing in the top five so I’ll be doing my very best to achieve that.
We have definitely taken a step forward from Brno and I just want to keep improving at each GP.
”Colin Edwards – 9th “Honestly I expected to be a bit higher up than ninth and after this morning I felt I could get into the mid-40s and be on the second row.
But it was really hot out there this afternoon and it made the track quite slippery.
When you put the soft tyres on you expect to go a fair bit faster but I didn’t really improve much at all.
Normally I’d expect to shave off three-quarters-of-a-second but I just didn’t have the grip in the heat.
On the hard tyre for the race we’ve got a good setting and I’m confident of a strong race.
I’ve had a good pace on the hard tyre all weekend so a top six and my best result of the season is not out of the question.
I’d like to congratulate Ben too because his performance today was just fantastic.
He did an awesome job and it is great for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team too.
” Loris Capirossi – 10th“We saw a little bit more promise in the qualifying; it was like the sun started to shine on us.
We had struggled a bit in practice and we tried to fix things and improve the feeling and it seemed like we have started to do that.
We are still struggling a bit with front feeling, but the whole team has worked really hard to fix this and we are pretty close to a solution now.
My bike is not very good on top-speed here and we don’t know why, we have compared the data from last year and we are a bit slower so we will have to try and do something about that.
I am quite happy with this afternoon because we improved a lot from this morning and yesterday.
The rhythm we have is not too bad and if we can do the same in the race I think we should be ok.
I am positive for the race and will start will full throttle – I’m just going to go for it.
”Álvaro Bautista – 11th “We had a good qualifying and I was able to follow a pack that included Rossi, Dovizioso and Pedrosa and I didn’t lose too much time to them on every lap, so that was good for me as I needed to get an idea of how I was doing in comparison to other riders around here.
After that I tried to push myself a bit more, but I still had a bit of a problem with rear grip and it made things a bit hard.
We made some small changes to the bike and improved things quite a bit.
At the end I tried to follow someone to get more reference points because they are so important here, but there was nobody to follow so I had to work alone and set my times by myself.
I think our set-up for the race is not too bad and if I get a good start tomorrow and get into the group in front I can stay with them.
”Marco Melandri – 12th“We have worked hard but things are still not working out for us.
I am having so much trouble with the engine management system and I still can’t find the rear grip I need to accelerate out of the corners.
I can’t ride as I would like and I can’t generate any corner speed.
It seems like my strongest weapon has now completely deserted me.
I am so slow in the middle of the corner and I’m not comfortable on the bike.
I’m really disappointed because I was expecting a very different season to this.
”Hiroshi Aoyama – 13thIf you look at the conditions I am here with, I really did not expect such a result today.
The gap to the other riders is not big though, neither in front, nor in the back.
All possibilities are open, to the front, but also to the back.
We have to be realistic.
I was quite at the limit today, but I think after a two months break this was not a bad start and I am happy about that.
”Aleix Espargarò – 14th “Pity for the fall, I was pushing hard to try to get a good position on the starting grid, but I lost the rear tyre and I slid on the asphalt.
I immediately tried to get back on my bike but it had got some damage during the fall.
Unfortunately when I return in the box I hadn’t got new qualifying tyres.
I tried in all the way to lower my lap time and improve my starting grid position but with no good results.
The good thing is that the gap from the tenth position is less than two tenths.
This gives me a huge charge for tomorrow race.
”Mika Kallio – 15th “Fortunately I feel better than yesterday, but I was not able to greatly improve my position on the starting grid.
Unfortunately due to my yesterday’s not perfect conditions, I hadn’t got the right feeling with my bike.
We worked hard with my technician during qualifying session and tomorrow during the warm up we will try some solutions that should allow me to be faster in all the sectors.
The gap from the tenth position is not so big, I’ll give everything to offer to my Team a good race result.
” Randy de Puniet – 17th“Before coming here I knew that it was not going to be easy for me because of my injured leg and this track layout is not helping my physical condition.
I had the same experience last year when I raced with a broken ankle.
Then, from the beginning of the weekend, we have had some issues on the bike and we have been trying different adjustments so far, but I do not feel comfortable enough yet.
I have tried hard to close the gap to the others but I am struggling a lot especially on the brakes.
We still have tomorrows warm up to fine-tune the bike because my target is to score as many points as possible”.