Michelin riders pack the front end of the grid for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix, all six Michelin men inside the top eight qualifying positions. Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin)...
Michelin riders pack the front end of the grid for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix, all six Michelin men inside the top eight qualifying positions.
Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) were Michelin's star performers this afternoon, both men battling for pole position, but finally settling for second and third places, good for the front row. During the session Lorenzo became the first man to lap Phillip Island at below 1m 29s, the Spaniard ending the hour a tantalising 0.069 seconds slower than pole, Hayden just 0.091 seconds off.
Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) and James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) head the second row, while Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) and Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) lead row three. Michelin riders also dominated yesterday afternoon's wet session here, with Hayden fastest and Dovizioso second quickest.
"Qualifying went very well, with all six of our riders inside the top eight of the grid," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "Conditions were good this afternoon, with our riders able to run a good race pace as well as fast qualifying laps. This track is the most challenging in MotoGP, it is very tough on tyres, so it takes a lot of work to find the best balance between tyre performance and endurance. Also, while the track wears the left side of the tyres a lot, there are very few right-handers, so it's a big issue to have good warm-up on the right side of both the front and the rear tyres to give riders a good feeling through the right-handers. Most of our riders are close to making their race tyre choice, they just have to choose from one or two of their allocations."
Lorenzo was confident he could get pole position, but was eventually edged out by local hero Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici). "I felt really good today - great track, great bike, great tyres," said Lorenzo who has scored four poles for Michelin this year. "I had a good pace and expected to be fastest but it wasn't quite possible, Casey rode an amazing lap. I am optimistic for the race, and I think it's going to be a very exciting race."