Dani Pedrosa on pole after crash strewn Indianapolis qualifying

Dani Pedrosa claimed his third pole position of 2012 after an incident-packed qualifying session in Indianapolis this afternoon that was red flagged twice following huge crashes for Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden.

A best lap of 1.38.813 secured the Repsol Honda rider pole in a dramatic session that ended with reigning world champion Stoner and factory Ducati rider Hayden undergoing treatment in the circuit’s medical centre.

Pedrosa edged out compatriot Jorge Lorenzo by just 0.100s with Italian Andrea Dovizioso completing the front row on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine.

British rider Cal Crutchlow will start the 28-lap race from seventh after his best time of 1.39.549 left him 0.736s off Pedrosa’s pace.

But the headlines will be dominated by questions about the state of the track surface at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The earlier Moto3 session was twice red flagged and there was a repeat in a crash strewn MotoGP qualifying that took place in gloriously sunny conditions.

Grip levels have always been a hotly debated issue at Indianapolis but the session was only eight minutes when Stoner suffered a vicious high-side at Turn 13 while on his fourth lap.

The Australian had started the session in blisteringly fast form and a lap of 1.39.465 had put him in first position by 0.4s ahead of Texan Ben Spies.

Stoner was flung violently off his Repsol Honda RC213V machine and once he came to a rest he immediately signalled for medical help after making a brief attempt to climb to his feet.

The 26-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, was placed on a stretcher and transferred by ambulance to the circuit’s medical centre where he underwent assessment for a suspected fractured right ankle. It was later revealed that Stoner had not suffered any fractures but he will need further medical checks before being passed fit to ride tomorrow. The session was red flagged four minutes after Stoner’s crash to remove part of his rear wheel that had been smashed on impact.

Stoner’s best time still put him sixth on the grid, even though he only completed three laps.

Spies saw his hopes of claiming pole position ended by a horrible high-side with 12 minutes of the session remaining. He was on a flying lap and inside the top three when he lost the rear of his factory Yamaha YZR-M1. He eventually climbed to his feet and he was able to return to the track to claim fourth.

The drama wasn’t concluded and eight minutes were left on the clock when the red flags were out again after another sickening crash. The victim this time was home favourite Nicky Hayden who lost control of his factory Ducati GP12 a few metres after Stoner’s incident at Turn 13. The 2006 world champion appeared to be momentarily knocked out but by the time he was transferred to a nearby ambulance he was moving and conscious. There has been no update as yet on the Kentucky rider’s condition.

Valentino Rossi probably can’t wait for the end of his factory Ducati nightmare after he qualified in a lowly 11th place. He was a massive 1.9s off pole position and even Frenchman Randy de Puniet was faster on the Aspar Aprilia CRT machine.


1 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.5 1’38.813
2 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 335.5 1’38.913 0.100 / 0.100
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.0 1’39.235 0.422 / 0.322
4 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 333.1 1’39.279 0.466 / 0.044
5 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 334.2 1’39.437 0.624 / 0.158
6 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 334.6 1’39.465 0.652 / 0.028
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 331.0 1’39.549 0.736 / 0.084
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 333.3 1’39.748 0.935 / 0.199
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 334.0 1’40.072 1.259 / 0.324
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 317.8 1’40.437 1.624 / 0.365

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt