Jorge Lorenzo snatched the first pole position of 2013 for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team with a stunning performance under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow secured a sensational second place with blistering pace and the final slot on the front row for the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar went to Dani Pedrosa for the Repsol Honda Team.
I’m really happy, for three or four laps we pushed to the limit.
When the shootout for pole position started Lorenzo was right at the sharp end as was Crutchlow but Lorenzo came out on top setting the fastest time of 1m 54.714s to that of the British rider’s best lap of 1m 54.916s. Pedrosa was off the pace for the majority of the 15 minute session but found something at the end to enable to set a best lap of 1m 55.151s while a stunning ride from Andrea Dovizioso puts the Ducati Team man in 4th place (1m 55.160s).
Stefan Bradl starts from 5th tomorrow with the LCR Honda rider on setting a best lap time of 1m 55.477s and one place ahead of Marc Marquez who was somewhat off the boil today with the Repsol Honda rider only managing a best time of 1m 55.645s. Valentino Rossi was not impressed with his performance at the end of the session with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider starting from 7th with a best lap of 1m 55.711s while GO&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista starts from the middle of the third row (1m 55.870s). Bradley Smith had a very good qualifying and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie set the 9th best time of 1m 56.315s with the final spot in the top ten being secured by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone 1m 56.523s.
Starting from 20th place will be Danilo Petrucci on the second of the Came IodaRacing machines with NG Forward Racing rider Claudio Corti in 21st place and Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera secured 22nd place. Bryan Staring will start from 23trd place for the GO&FUN Honda Gresini CRT effort with Michael Laverty bringing up the rear on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine.
Securing the first pole position of the year was something special for Lorenzo who was delighted with his performance. He said, “I’m really happy, for three or four laps we pushed to the limit. I knew Cal was really fast over one lap so I had to push to the maximum. I’m very happy with this pole position. The important thing is that the Yamaha works here at this track. I think for the first time of the new qualifying format it has been very positive and for the fans it is very good to watch. For the riders you are a little more nervous and you have less time to make a fast lap.
I knew I was competitive but the ten minutes before the qualifying we had some problems with the set up of the bike so it was more difficult to make the time. We had to change to yesterday’s setting. The important thing is to make a good start tomorrow. The last simulations I made were better than yesterday so I’m quite confident for the start. If there are problems in the first laps we have to be patient and wait for the middle of the race,” Lorenzo added.
Crutchlow carried over his pace from practice into qualifying and is confident about tomorrow race and said, “It is a very positive way to be starting the first race from the front row of the grid and thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I had a great bike underneath me tonight. I was confident going into QP2 of being able to challenge for the front row because I was fastest in FP4 and the bike felt like it was working really well. I must admit the 15-minute format is really exciting and I think it is great for the Championship and for the fans.
Pedrosa was happy to have grabbed a front row start after encountering some problems during the free practice sessions. He said, “Today we were able to improve a lot and take a front row start for tomorrow. It is important to start high up the grid whenever you can, because there are some very fast riders up against us. We still need to improve a few things with the bike and I hope that we can have a good race. The key will be to choose a good tire compound and find a strong pace."