Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo will start tomorrow’s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France from the front row of the grid in second position. The reigning World Champion was denied pole by just 0.030 seconds in the afternoon 15minute quick fire qualification heat. Lorenzo led from the start of the session before relinquishing the top spot to rival Marc Marquez with eight minutes remaining. A flurry of activity followed with most riders pitting at the same time for fresh rubber before the hectic final minutes began. Despite twice dropping under the pole time through the second sector in the final laps Lorenzo final time puts him in second for race day.

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

After a strong first day yesterday Valentino Rossi experienced a less than perfect qualifying session this afternoon, struggling to make his YZR-M1 work to the best of its ability on the cooler Le Mans circuit. With a best qualifying time of 1’34.009 The Italian will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix from the third row of the grid in eighth place, 0.822 seconds from pole.

Jorge Lorenzo 2nd, Time - 1'33.217

“Our pace is very good, much better than Jerez where I did two laps and then in the third or fourth lap it was impossible to keep the same pace. Here in this track with the improvement we made with the bike it’s much more easy to keep a constant pace so I’m much more satisfied. I tried to make a perfect lap, it was ok, but Marc was just slightly faster than me. I don't know what will happen if it rains tomorrow because we haven’t tried it in the wet. Last year it was ok, but every year it’s different so I don't know what to expect. I would prefer a dry race. If it rains though it can be a possibility to recover some points if we don’t make a mistake.”

Valentino Rossi - 8th, Time - 1'34.009

“Unfortunately today was a worse day compared to yesterday. We started quite badly this morning because we had some problems with the rear tyre so we struggled very much in the practice. We had a lot of question marks so we wanted to try the same setting this afternoon. In fact the tyre had a problem because this afternoon it was not so bad. My rhythm and pace for the race is quite good, unfortunately especially Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa are a bit faster. Like the other races, in the qualifying I am unable to do what I want, when I try to push more I create some problems with the bike. The other riders are better than me to use the extra grip from the new tyre, so I have to start from the third row. My rhythm is not so bad so we have to try to fix something so we will see tomorrow.”

Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“It was an exciting qualification. This afternoon in free practice the rhythm was very good. In qualifying the temperature dropped a bit because rain was supposed to be coming so it was not as easy as we thought it would be and also for the safety aspect. Anyway, the lap time is very good with the 33.2, Marc just beat him with a 33.1 but tomorrow is the race and he’s on the front row with no crashes so let’s see what will happen.”

Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“It's a pity to lose the pole for just 0.030 seconds but anyway I think the pace was very good. Also in the free practice Jorge did a good long run so I think we are ready to fight. For Vale unfortunately we couldn’t improve the set up as he wanted. We are still checking the data and hopefully tomorrow morning the warm up will be dry and we will find the right set up. He is a good fighter, to start from the third row is going to be difficult but not impossible for him.”

Yamaha Factory Team