On his twenty-sixth birthday Jorge Lorenzo was the life of the party at a sunny Jerez circuit, the Spaniard guiding his Yamaha Factory Racing M1 to pole position with a scorching time of 1’38.673.
Third quickest in qualifying was Marc Marquez on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, the rookie the only other rider able to lap in the 1’38 bracket in QP2 and finishing 0.298 seconds off pole. Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera continued his impressive pace from yesterday, qualifying directly for QP2 and posting a best lap time of 1’39.980 to claim P10 for tomorrow’s race and highest placed of the CRT riders.
Barbera was able to qualify just 1.3 seconds from pole position by utilising the extra-soft rear slick option that is available only to CRT riders here at Jerez.
With the sun beating down on the circuit, track temperatures soared to the highest level seen in Jerez in years, reaching a peak of 53°C in Qualifying Practice 2. Generally, harder slick tyre options are preferred in hotter conditions as harder rubber compounds are able to sustain higher temperatures, however, the demand for superior edge grip at the Jerez circuit resulted in all riders setting their best times on the softer rear slick options.
Tyre choice for tomorrow’s race should be similar to what was used in qualifying, with rider comments indicating that the preference for rear edge grip and front-end stability will result in combination of the softer rear with the harder front slick options being widely used.
Tomorrow’s twenty-seven lap race commences at 1400 local time (GMT +2), with the riders taking to the track for morning Warm Up at 0940.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department: “Today we experienced very hot track conditions, the warmest we’ve had in Jerez for at least five years and this presented challenging track conditions for the riders.
Despite the hot conditions which usually result in riders choosing harder compound rear tyres, riders found they had better bike balance using the combination of the softer rear and harder front slicks and I believe this is what we will be used by most riders tomorrow.
Similar track temperatures are forecast tomorrow, so riders will apply the lessons learned today about grip levels in the very hot conditions to get the best performance from their tyres during the race.”