Spanish riders lockout the front row in drama filled qualifying session
Birthday boy Jorge Lorenzo romped to pole position for the Yamaha Factory team at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit during a drama-filled 15 minute qualifying session that saw Repsol Honda Pairing Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez finish in second and third places respectively despite a fall from Pedrosa in the final minutes of the session. Celebrating his 26th birthday today, Lorenzo was untouchable at the end setting a fastest time of 1m 38.673s to that of Pedrosa’s 1m 38.920s and Marquez’s best of 1m 38.971s.
I’m happy with this pole position, it’s a good present for my birthday!
When the checkered flag fell at the end of qualifying the rider in fourth place was Crutchlow setting his best lap of 1m 39.262s to start tomorrow’s Gran Premio bwin De España ahead of Rossi (1m 39.300s) while Alvaro Bautista secured the last place on the second row with a best lap of 1m 39.509s for the Go&Fun Honda Gresini team. Nicky Hayden will start from 7th place tomorrow for the Ducati Team setting a best lap of 1m 39.654s with Stefan Bradl in 8th for the LCR Honda team (1m 39.847s) and rounding out the third row is Andrea Dovizioso and the Ducati Team with a 1m 39.848s lap.
Randy De Puniet will start from 15th place on board the Power Electronics Aspar machine with lap time of 1m 40.466s while Avintia Blusens rider Hiroshi Aoyama set the 16th best time of 1m 40.654s with Danilo Petrucci next along for the Came IodaRacing Project with a best lap of 1m 40.852s. Bryan Staring ended up in 18th place today on the GO&Fun Honda Gresini CRT machine (1m 41.324s) while Claudio Corti (NGM Forward Racing), finished one place below with a best lap time of 1m 41.513s and his teammate Colin Edwards starting alongside after the American rider crashed out of the qualifying session and had to settle for a best time of 1m 41.536s.
Yonny Hernandez also had a fall today and starts from 21st place for the Paul Bird Motorsport and his best time of 1m 41.779s was good enough to see him start ahead of teammate Michael Laverty with his best of 1m 41.935s. Lukas Pesek (1m 43.220s) starts from 23rd for the Came IodaRacing team. Karel Abraham didn’t take part today as he struggles with his healing collarbone that he broke during qualifying for the previous round in Austin, Texas.
Lorenzo was delighted with sealing pole position on his birthday and also to have the final corner at the iconic Spanish circuit. He said, “I’m happy with this pole position, it’s a good present for my birthday! I knew the track was not perfect, it’s very warm and there were a lot of crashes in Moto2 and the previous qualifying. I just tried to make the perfect lap, unfortunately I couldn’t; I made a mistake in two braking zones and went wide and lost some tenths. Anyway, in the other corners I was really quick and at the limit so it was enough to make it.
It’s going to be tough tomorrow, normally the lap time you make for qualifying you can't repeat in another time because the tire drops. We hope to improve the bike a little bit to get more comfortable with pace. Anyway I think we can fight for the win or at least for the podium tomorrow,” Lorenzo added.
Securing a third place start was very welcomed by Marquez who said, “I'm pretty happy, because the session went better than I expected. We knew it would be a tough and difficult weekend, but I think we had a very good qualifying session and starting from the front row is very important. I know that Dani and Lorenzo are one step ahead at the moment, but I will still try to give one-hundred percent and ride my own race. It will be hard, hot, and very demanding on the tyres, but we will try to get a good result in front of the home fans.”