This afternoon Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo claimed third place on the grid for tomorrow‘s GP de Catalunya following a thrilling qualifying session that saw teammate Valentino Rossi take seventh.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo delighted his home fans at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this afternoon by claiming a front row start for tomorrow‘s GP Monster Energy de Catalunya, taking third on the grid.
With all twelve riders in Q2 within a second of each other, teammate Valentino Rossi pushed hard and made his move at the last moment. He will start tomorrow‘s race from seventh position, two rows behind his teammate.
Eager to impress his home crowd, Lorenzo was the first to leave pit lane for the 15 minute qualifying heat. When he hit the track he shot straight to the top of the time sheets with his first flying lap of 1‘41.008 and immediately returned to the pits for his first stop.
We couldn‘t get the pole position today, by just a little.
With nine minutes left on the clock he came out on his second bike, ready for another time attack. Having been pushed down to third, the local hero fought back with a perfect 1‘40.646 lap for provisional pole position.
With a little less than four minutes on the clock he quickly headed back to the box to switch back to his first bike for a final push. Having dropped two places in the mean time, he gave it his all, but was unable to improve his time and remained third, 0.100s from pole.
On a one-stop strategy, teammate Rossi left his attack to the very end of the qualifying session. Riding in the midst of the twelve riders on track, the nine-time World Champion found some clear track space. His first flying lap moved him to seventh, but he fell back two places as all the riders clocked their times.
Rossi pushed hard on his second flying lap with a 1‘41.257, temporarily reclaiming seventh spot before making his way back to pit lane for a fresh set of tyres with less than seven minutes of the session remaining.
Two minutes later he headed out on his second stint. Unable to improve with his third flying lap, he picked up the pace in a last effort to better his starting position. The flag signaling the end of the session had already come out when Rossi was on a final clear run, delivering a 1'41.058. This moved him up from ninth to seventh, 0.512s from pole, to take the first slot on the third starting row.
Jorge Lorenzo: "We couldn‘t get the pole position today, by just a little. We had three tyres saved for qualifying but unfortunately on my last try I made a mistake in turn three, I went too fast and a bit wide. In this corner, when you arrive wide you get a bounce and the bike becomes unstable. I had to put the bike up straight a little bit and lost three-tenths there. It was a pity, because it was a good lap on the rest of the track, but I‘m very happy about my lap, because with this bike it‘s not easy to ride a 1‘40,6 in a single hot lap.
We finish in front of our main competitors, who are always very quick in the one-lap shoot out. I‘m very happy to be on the first row, for tomorrow that‘s the important thing, and I think we have a good pace for the race. This morning I rode 1‘41.1s for ten laps, but tomorrow at two o‘clock it will be more difficult to be on this pace. I hope to have a similar, or just a little bit slower, pace as I had this morning."
Valentino Rossi: "I‘m quite satisfied with the set-up and the turn of events of today. Yesterday we found a good balance for the last exit and we have a good setting, so I feel confident with the bike and today was not so bad. I have a good pace with a used tyre and for tomorrow that will be very important. I expect we will have to make some improvement for tomorrow, we have some work to do in the warm up and apply some small modifications. For the race, as always it will be important to make a good start and stay within the top positions in the first laps. After that I will try to understand the pace for the second half of the race when the tyres start to slide a bit."
Massimo Marelli - Team Director: "In general it has been a positive day for us. Jorge will start from the first row and is the first rider with a medium tyre. He has been fast and consisted in all the sessions, which is a really good sign for us. Vale has improved a lot compared to yesterday and feels well on the bike. He'll start from the third row, but we know what he‘s capable of. We will work throughout the night to go over the information and data that we collected today. We will make some last minor adjustments for the warm up, but we are up for the challenge tomorrow. The race is going to be long and tough but so far we have done a good job and this gives us a boost in confidence."