Dani Pedrosa takes Indianapolis MotoGP pole amid string of big crashes
||Saturday, August 18th 2012, 19:18 GMT
Dani Pedrosa claimed his third pole of the 2012 MotoGP season in a dramatic Indianapolis qualifying session that saw huge accidents for Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden.
Stoner's fall came early on, when the world champion was on provisional pole. He had a huge high-side on the way out of Turn 13 and was initially thought to have fractured his right ankle, although the diagnosis was amended to torn ligaments after x-rays were carried out. A red flag was required shortly afterwards to clear up some of the debris from the horrific crash, which saw both Stoner and his Honda tumbling violently through the gravel.
Yamaha rider Spies then replicated the incident, landing hard on his back when on a lap that looked certain to put him on provisional pole by a large margin. Spies was able to get up and walk away, later rejoining to qualify fourth.
Hayden also fell in the same place and was briefly knocked unconscious. A second red flag was required as the Ducati rider was taken away in an ambulance. The American quickly regained conscious and escaped serious injury.
With final practice pacesetter Stoner sidelined, his Honda team-mate Pedrosa led the way for most of the hour, eventually setting a new qualifying record at 1m38.813s.
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo qualified second - despite struggling all weekend so far. For a while it looked like the Yamaha rider might not even break into the top five, yet he ultimately got within a tenth of Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso grabbed the final front row spot on his Tech 3 Yamaha, four places ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow.
Stefan Bradl completed the top five, with Stoner sixth in the order.
Valentino Rossi's tough season got worse still as he not only qualified way down in 11th place, but was beaten by top CRT rider Randy de Puniet's Aspar Aprilia.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m38.813s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m38.913s + 0.100s
3. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 1m39.235s + 0.422s
4. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m39.279s + 0.466s
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m39.437s + 0.624s
6. Casey Stoner Honda 1m39.465s + 0.652s
7. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m39.549s + 0.736s
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m39.748s + 0.935s
9. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m40.072s + 1.259s
10. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m40.437s + 1.624s
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m40.763s + 1.950s
12. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m40.803s + 1.990s
13. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m41.197s + 2.384s
14. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m41.295s + 2.482s
15. Mattia Pasini Speed Master Aprilia 1m41.370s + 2.557s
16. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 1m41.449s + 2.636s
17. Toni Elias Pramac Ducati 1m41.866s + 3.053s
18. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 1m41.978s + 3.165s
19. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Aprilia 1m42.553s + 3.740s
20. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 1m42.599s + 3.786s
21. Ivan Silva Avintia Inmotec-Kawasaki 1m42.768s + 3.955s
22. Steve Rapp Attack-Kawasaki 1m43.673s + 4.860s
23. Aaron Yates GP Tech BCL-Suzuki 1m44.312s + 5.499s