Lorenzo Steals the Front Row for Qatar
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo reminded everyone why he's the reigning World Champion this evening in the first qualifying session of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. The blisteringly quick session saw the fastest riders breaking further and further into the 1'54s as the clock counted down. With just a handful of minutes to go the Mallorcan put the hammer down, delivering a 1'54.947 on his 23rd lap to secure a front row start with third place on the grid. Lorenzo's team mate Spies was also sending out a clear message on the time sheets. The Texan gradually worked his way down the 1.55s and was threatening to follow his team mate into the 1.54s until a small mistake costing a tenth of a second resulted in a best time of 1'55.095, just 0.148 of a second off the front row. As a result he will start mid second row in fifth for the opening race of the season under the floodlights tomorrow night.
Position 3rd - Time 1'54.947 - Laps 26
There were some really impressive lap times out there tonight in the session. We are still quite far behind the front but our goal is to finish on the podium and that is in my mind for tomorrow. My race pace is pretty good; I think I can keep running 1'55.7s or maybe 1'55.8s. We will finalise our set up in warm up and try to achieve that tomorrow. Jorge
Position 5th - Time 1'55.095 - Laps 26
It was actually better to be fifth than fourth for grid position although I'd have liked to be on the front row! It wasn't a perfect session, I didn't nail a perfect lap time but you rarely do. I don't think we were too far off the maximum, maybe there were two tenths left in the bike and that's it. It's not so bad though, we have a good package to battle for the podium tomorrow. I did the best I could so not a bad start to the year.
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
A very hot qualifying session, we're happy to be near the front with both riders. Jorge is top three but very close in the times with fourth, fifth and sixth so it will be a tough race tomorrow. He feels ok with the bike and lap times were good. We're going to focus on tomorrow now, it's going to be a long hard race!
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
We will start the race in good positions with both riders, the race pace of both of them was very good so we are ready to go out there. Ben is quite satisfied with his bike set up, he made a small mistake and lost at least one tenth on his fast lap but he said the bike was working well with a used tyre so we have confidence for tomorrow. We will confirm the last details in warm up to be as good as possible for the race.