Four in a Row For Lorenzo with Pole Again in Estoril
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made it clear today he wasn’t ready to give up his record of dominance in Estoril. This afternoon’s qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Portugal saw the reigning World Champion place his YZR-M1 on pole position for an incredible fourth consecutive time.
The threat of rain again this afternoon saw all riders on the pace quickly, looking to score a fast lap before the weather changed. Lorenzo started the session the fastest rider, then spent some time duelling with team mate Spies for second and third before delivering a decisive 1’37.161 to secure pole. The achievement means Lorenzo now has the record for the Spanish rider with most pole position starts in all GP classes in the modern era with 43. This is also his 17th MotoGP pole position start, equalling Dani Pedrosa, a record for Spanish riders in the premier class.
Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Spies was also on full attack this afternoon. After a challenging start to his first dry sessions on the Estoril circuit yesterday, Spies made big steps forward in today’s qualifying. The Texan’s crew worked hard from the morning’s free practice session to deliver a competitive set up that gave Spies the opportunity to challenge the top riders for grid position. Having spent some time in the one hour heat contesting the second place spot with his team mate, Spies eventually settled for fifth at the end and a second row start for tomorrow’s race.
Position 1st - Time 1.37.161 - Laps 29
“Today has been complicated; I’ve got it just by a tenth in the end, managing five good laps with the softer tyre. The most important thing is the race though, not that I have 43 pole position starts. This track is strange to ride on, quite old with lots of holes so you have to ride with care. I need a good start tomorrow, be focussed, intelligent and have good luck. The bike is improving, it’s much better in fast corners but we could be faster on the straight.”
The most important thing is the race though, not that I have 43 pole position starts.
Position 5th - Time 1.37.866 - Laps 29
“It was a good session for us; we definitely made the bike better after we’ve been struggling a bit this weekend. I knew we were capable of it if we got the bike working with the right set up. We’re not 100% but I’m happy to be in the middle of the second row. Hopefully we can get a good start and put together a good race. I’m definitely feeling a lot better after qualifying than I did yesterday.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The first pole of the season so of course we are very satisfied with it. We know Jorge is good here at Estoril but our mission is to be on the podium and keep our unbroken podium finish run alive. Of course to have pole is nice but tomorrow is the race, it will be a difficult one so it is important to start well.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“A good improvement today, Ben delivered an impressive qualifying session. Now we have a rider on first and second row which is a good starting point for the race. Here it is not easy to overtake people so it is very important that we have these positions. Jorge started yesterday determined and he finished qualifying today the same way with a really impressive result.”