Randy de Puniet starts the fifth round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship at the Circuit de Catalunya from 13th position on the grid, in turn securing CRT qualifying honours.
The Frenchman has been a CRT pace setter aboard the Aspar-prepared ART machine this season, but is yet to turn it into a 'victory' for the prototype-production based machines.
Nonetheless, de Puniet is pleased with the set-up on his Aprilia-engined bike, even if he admits he will need to take particular care of tyre wear come race day.
“It is very important to be the best CRT, so I am happy about that,” he said. “However, we shouldn't lose track of the fact that the most important moment is tomorrow when we start the race. We have tried loads of things in search of the best setup. I wasn't completely satisfied with the rear traction, so that's why we made so many changes today.
“With fifteen minutes to go I decided to put on the soft tyres and I improved my times considerably as a result. I am satisfied with the result today, but I still believe that we need to take another step forward to find more rear traction. Tomorrow in the warm-up we will try to improve things a little more and I hope to be at my best. It's going to be a long race, in which we will have to pay attention to tyre wear.”
Team-mate Aleix Espargaro, meanwhile, will start just behind de Puniet in 15th position, the local rider – who grew up close to the Circuit de Catalunya – keen to consolidate his leading advantage in the unofficial CRT standings.
“I would have liked to have finished a bit higher up the order. We have worked hard all weekend, but we still haven't found anything to give us more grip on the rear. The heat is forcing us to ride with the hard tyre tomorrow, and the positive thing is that we have good pace with that and are closer to Randy.
“The race will be a long one, we will need to be able to manage it in order to try and get into the fight to be the best CRT. I hope that it will be a straight fight between my teammate and I, as we have both done a good job this weekend. We have been told that maybe temperatures will drop tomorrow, and even that there is a chance of rain. We will try to be ready to race in any conditions."