Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best qualifying experience of the year this afternoon.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has taken second on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon after an intense 15 minute battle at the Motorland circuit this afternoon. The defending world champion was the first rider to set a time this afternoon, putting down a 1’48.241 to set the early pace at the front.
He went on to improve with a 1’48.201 before relinquishing the top spot to Stefan Bradl with nine minutes remaining and returning to the pits for a fresh rear qualifying tyre.
Teammate Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best qualifying experience of the year this afternoon, taking fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, just 0.158 seconds from pole position. The nine-time world champion waited in the pits for a minute at the start of the session, allowing the traffic of riders to leave before entering a relatively empty track space to focus on a lap time.
He immediately fired off a 1’48.415 before improving again with a 1’48.366. Rossi then returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was back out again with five minutes remaining. The improvements continued as he began to threaten for provisional pole with red splits, dropping to a final time of 1’47.962 to take fourth on the grid, just 0.005 seconds behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
Jorge Lorenzo (2nd | 1'47.814 | 8 Laps): “I knew I made a really good lap and I hoped to be in first position but I knew the other riders would be very close or in front of me. Finally for ten tenths of a second I lost it. I tried my best but I made a mistake in the first corner and lost one or two tenths so lost pole position. One thing is to make one fast lap, another is to make fast laps for the whole race. In the last practice before qualifying we found something extra for pace so we are stronger in one lap and also for the pace for the race. If the race remains in dry conditions it will be a good race.”
Valentino Rossi (4th | 1'47.962 | 8 Laps): “I have a good feeling and I’ve improved my pace a lot and braking ability also. We have also improved the rear grip over long distance. I’m so happy because it was a great qualifying for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The level was very high and we were just one tenth from pole position, so we are all together. We have to see what the conditions are tomorrow; for sure today they helped us. With a few less degrees we are more competitive with the Yamaha. My pace is very similar to Jorge and Marquez and Pedrosa but we know that they are very fast so to try and stay with them I have to improve again tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager: “Qualifying again in P2. It was much tighter than the last two races which is important. Normally this is not our favourite track, but it looks like we found something here today. The race pace will be slower than today but we've improved a lot this afternoon. We are thinking about tomorrow now because the race distance is long.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director: “Today went pretty well even if we lost an important session this morning due to the track conditions. We have been able to make a big improvement so we are very close. We can start tomorrow with Jorge in front row and Valentino in second which is important. We still have a couple of things to adjust but we are positive. Looking at what we have done from yesterday to today, I think we are able to make something better for tomorrow morning and we will be ready for the race."