LORENZO CONTINUES FRONT-ROW RUN; SECOND ROW FOR ROSSI IN DRAMATIC BRNO QUALIFYING An extraordinary qualifying session in Brno today left Jorge Lorenzo in third and Valentino Rossi in fifth for tomorrow's Czech Grand Prix. The Fiat Yamaha riders...
LORENZO CONTINUES FRONT-ROW RUN; SECOND ROW FOR ROSSI IN DRAMATIC BRNO QUALIFYING
An extraordinary qualifying session in Brno today left Jorge Lorenzo in third and Valentino Rossi in fifth for tomorrow's Czech Grand Prix. The Fiat Yamaha riders were luckily unhurt despite both crashing out within moments of one another on their final flying laps.
Heavy storms overnight had changed the nature of the track and Lorenzo was not feeling quite as comfortable with his front-end set-up as he would have liked this afternoon, losing time in the latter half of the circuit. Despite this he was still sitting in second position when he headed out for his final run, with his sights set on a tenth front row of the season. He looked on course to improve his time when he made a small mistake at turn eleven and was sent flying across the gravel trap, luckily getting up straight away unhurt. The championship leader had done a good enough job to hold on to third on the grid and he will line up next to fellow Yamaha rider Ben Spies tomorrow, who took his first front-row in MotoGP, with Dani Pedrosa on pole.
At his third race back after injury, World Champion Rossi was looking to return to the front row for the first time and he looked like he might do just that as he steadily improved his times over the course of the session, feeling good with the set-up of his M1. On the first flying lap of his final run he was just a fraction off provisional pole time and pushing hard when he made a small mistake at turn 13 and lost the front end, sliding harmlessly off track and luckily doing no further damage to either his leg or shoulder. The Italian was disappointed to remain on the second row but he is confident of a strong showing tomorrow when the race gets underway at 1400 CET.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd Time: 1'56.865 Laps: 20
"This wasn't the best practice session of the year for us. We made some modifications that didn't work and it was especially a problem in the front, which was closing on me a lot. I wasn't fast and I was having to take too many risks. Then I made a mistake and the bike went flying! I really hope the engine is okay for tomorrow, luckily I am not hurt and I was able to get up straight away. We are still on the front row and we can't always be on top! I think tomorrow will be a tough race but we will see how we can improve our setting and see what happens."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 5th Time: 1'57.059 Laps: 23
"I'm okay and I haven't made any of my injuries worse, so this is the most important thing. I was pushing hard and trying to make my best flying lap and I just lost the front, so maybe we're still missing a bit of grip. I was really angry when I crashed because I think it was possible to get second or even the pole position! Apart from the mistake though I'm very happy because I feel confident on the bike and I enjoyed riding today; I think for tomorrow I can be competitive. Warm-up is going to be important because we need to try to slightly improve my feeling with the front. We also need to wait to see what the weather does!"
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"We've had better qualifying sessions but it's not too bad, this track always changes a lot after it rains and we just need to adjust things a bit more. At the beginning Jorge was looking okay and his speed was good but he didn't feel the same as he'd felt yesterday with the bike; he had less grip in the front and we made some adjustments but things weren't perfect. The crash was unlucky; he lost the front although it wasn't totally clear what happened. Anyway he is okay so we're not worried and now we will try to improve his confidence in the front tomorrow."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"It was a good session until the crash! It's a pity because he was fast and he was going to improve his time and now we're only in fifth. But we've worked well and our setting is at a good level - we have room for some small improvements before the race but we feel like we're in good shape and Valentino didn't hurt himself, so we're looking forward to racing."