Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo continued yesterday’s blistering form this afternoon at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, taking second on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio d'Italia.
After a change of rear rubber he was back out with six minutes remaining and looked certain to retain pole with an even more impressive 1’47.226 lap. Unfortunately a late effort by rival Dani Pedrosa improved the lap time by just 0.069 seconds, taking pole and relegating Lorenzo to second.
Valentino Rossi was caught up in a busy track from the start of the short session and struggled to find a clear space to record his best lap time. The Italian rose initially to third with an impressive 1’47.832 and looked good for a front row until a flurry of late activity pushed him to seventh position on the third row for tomorrow’s race.
Jorge Lorenzo (2nd, Time 1'47.226 - 8 laps): "We still suffer a little bit when the weather is hotter, we don't have the same grip. Even with this issue we have been competitive though, in the free practice and also in the qualifying. I was surprised to be so fast in the first lap when I made a 47.6.
I was also surprised about the lap time from Marquez on his first try and also the lap time from Dani. I thought the 47.2 lap was enough for pole position but Dani was faster so it wasn't. The important thing is to make a good start tomorrow, to get in front and to go away if possible.
If not possible, the race is long and we have to be consistent. We have to improve some small details but in general the bike is better here than at the other tracks.”
Valentino Rossi (7th, Time 1'47.872 - 8 laps): “The practices are not so bad because we have a good pace for the race which is important. As always in the qualifying we suffer more than the others.
They use the slipstream of the others and are able to go a bit faster than me. Unfortunately I have to start on the third row but I’m quite happy because my pace is quite good so I think with a good start I can do a good race. We will see tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager: “A very exciting qualifying. We have a very good pace and Jorge did two fantastic laps. Dani was in seventh or sixth and panicking a bit, I think he had to do it in the last lap and he was one tenth faster.
Anyway, tomorrow is the race, we would of course like to be on pole but tomorrow is a different story. Tomorrow we get the points so we concentrate on that and make sure we have a good pace.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director: “It has been a pity that we lost pole position for just a fraction of a second when we led for most of the practices and we had a very strong pace, Jorge is very fast and consistent.
Valentino has also a good pace and showed it in the last free practice. I think tomorrow is going to be a really tough race but I think there are all the ingredients for Yamaha to be in the front and fighting for victory.”