Valentino Rossi will be starting tomorrow‘s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana from the back of the grid.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo set today‘s already hot qualifying session at Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo on fire, taking first place with a scorching 1‘30,011s lap, a new circuit best lap record. Though team-mate Valentino Rossi will be starting tomorrow‘s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana from the back of the grid, he put in a solid effort until a small crash ended his session, leaving him in twelfth place.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo left no confusion this afternoon about his intentions of winning this years‘ MotoGP World Championship, setting a magnificent lap for pole position at the last qualifying session of the year. With no pressure to get a front start in qualifying, team-mate Valentino Rossi was steadily improving his pace throughout the session, but suffered a small crash at the final stages and ended the day having set the twelfth fastest time.
It will be very hard, the bad news for the race is that Jorge rode to pole position, because we hoped he wouldn't start first,
Fully focused on the task ahead, Lorenzo was calm and collected as he emerged from pit lane as the last rider to head out in the last 15-minute Q2 of the season. Once out on the relatively empty track, he stayed true to usual form and immediately dropped under the 1‘31s mark with a 1‘30.996s for provisional third position.
With a little less than nine minutes of the session remaining, he hurried back to the pits to start his second time attack a minute later. His next flying lap was a sensational 1‘30,011s for pole position, enough to break the circuit best lap record, creating nearly half a second margin to his closest rival.
Lorenzo quickly headed back to box for a second stop, but neither he nor any of his competitors were able to come close to his superb lap time.
Team-mate Rossi took a moment at the start of the session before he mounted his Yamaha YZR-M1 and had his first attempt of setting a hot lap. The Doctor clocked a 1‘32.840s on his first try and bettered his time to 1‘31.471s in the second before returning to the pits for a fresh rear tyre.
Back on track with five minutes remaining, he used his third flying lap to warm up his tyres to be able to push to the maximum on the next lap. Having picked up the pace, the nine-time World Champion had set a new personal best time for the first two sectors, but a small slide down the track meant the end of his session.
Though he set the twelfth fastest time, Rossi will be starting the race from last place on the grid, having collected a total of four penalty points on his racing license.
"Today‘s goal was to qualify on first row, but there was a lot of tension. I expected that Andrea Iannone‘s bike with the soft tyre could steal the first row, so I put in the maximum effort at the track with the three tyres and that is what I did. I wasn‘t very satisfied with the first one, 1‘30.9s wasn‘t the lap time I expected, but with the second one the bike worked perfectly with the grip, the braking, the corner speed and the acceleration.
I rode better than on the previous lap and I got pole. It probably was my best lap in all my life and I‘m very proud, but the important thing is to start from front row, make a good start tomorrow, don‘t make any mistakes and avoid problems on the first laps and try to get the World Title. Today they didn‘t give out points, the contest is tomorrow and it‘s going to be a difficult, long and stressful race."
"I‘m OK, this is the most important thing. The day was not so bad, especially in the morning I was strong, but in the afternoon I suffered a bit more with the grip and I struggled a little bit more with a higher temperature. After, in qualifying, we didn‘t have the pressure to try to set the best lap so we tried something else. Some modifications I didn‘t like so I came back in and on my last lap it wasn‘t so bad, my first sections were quite fast, but unfortunately after that I made a mistake and I crashed, but this doesn't make a big difference for tomorrow because I will start last.
We have to improve the grip to improve the race pace. If it‘s cool, lower degrees can change a lot of things about the grip in comparison between a Yamaha and a competing bike. Maybe, if the temperature is a little bit less, I can go a bit faster. It will be very hard, the bad news for the race is that Jorge rode to pole position, because we hoped he wouldn't start first, but fortunately we don‘t have to think about that, it‘s not our problem, I just have to recover as much as possible."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: "It was an incredible pole lap! Jorge‘s times have looked good all weekend, but I think he even surprised himself with the incredible performance he gave today. Valentino struggled a little bit with grip in the afternoon free practice. It was a pity he suffered a small crash, because he was on his way to setting a personal best lap. It will be a very unconventional race for us tomorrow with one rider starting from the front and one from the back of the grid, whilst both of them are in contention for the championship win. These last 30 laps will be decisive."