Lorenzo demonstrates pace at damp Le Mans

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow‘s Grand Prix de France from the first and third row of the grid after taking third and seventh place respectively in today‘s qualifying session.

Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo faced cold and cloudy conditions during an intense 15-minute qualifying session at Le Mans, that saw Lorenzo and Rossi qualify on first and third row for tomorrow‘s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.

After dropping under the 1‘33 mark with a 1'32.647 lap in FP3 and being right on the pace during FP4, Lorenzo had a slightly cautious start to the qualifying session. As the first man to leave pit lane he enjoyed some free track and slowly built up the pace. He took the top spot with his third flying lap, a 1‘33.369, before being pushed back to third place when the pace quickened.

The conditions were difficult on the track, you have to be careful with slicks and stay confident.

Jorge Lorenzo

With a little less than seven minutes to go he came into the pits for a fresh set of rubber. One and half minutes later Lorenzo was back on track and had just enough time left for two more hot laps. He waited until the last moment to show his pace on the extra soft front tyre, posting a 1‘32.846 on his final lap moving him up from fifth to third.

It was an eventful day for teammate Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion was quick to follow his teammate to be guaranteed some free track space. He consistently improved his fastest time of the session on his first three flying laps, but was unable to join the top tier and held twelfth place as he came in for new tyres.

With five minutes remaining he started his second stint, and set another personal best lap, moving him up to ninth. He gave his all to clock a 1‘33.352, shooting him up to the top six, before being demoted to seventh in the final stages of the session. The Doctor still had some time left for a final push, but he was unable to improve and remained seventh.

Jorge Lorenzo: "The conditions were difficult on the track, you have to be careful with slicks and stay confident. We were lucky on the last lap to have 99% of the track dry and I pushed quite a bit. It was a pity that I didn‘t ride any good laps and was slower than I was in FP3. I made a mistake in sector three and lost probably half a second, but I was lucky not to go outside of the track and ride a very good sector four, which put me on the first row. I was hoping to stay at least in third place, because it‘s always important to be on the front row.

There were a lot of riders who hadn‘t finished yet so I stayed in front of the big screen to watch them. I made a very good lap time in Jerez, but this time I couldn‘t do it. It was my own fault, but at least we managed to stay in the top three. I prefer a dry race for tomorrow, I think almost everybody does, because it‘s more fun and safer."

Valentino Rossi: "I had hoped to stay a bit more at the front, on the second row, but we were unlucky. It was a very important free practice because we had a new tyre and had to try a new setting, because I wasn‘t fast enough and it was difficult this morning. Unfortunately it rained and I wasn‘t doing so bad, but I couldn‘t try my bike on the dry, so I had to start on a different bike during the qualifying and that‘s always difficult. At the end I arrived in seventh place and I think with some more kilometers I could have done better.

We can improve the pace, because this new setting is better, but for tomorrow it will be hard because the first three guys on the front row have a very good pace. We have to try the maximum to stay with them. This morning we suffered because we were always on a used tyre. We understood that the modifications we had done were not right and for this afternoon we changed a lot. I‘m still not fast enough but I think with more laps in, I can go faster and we hope for good weather. I‘m ready for tomorrow morning, I‘ll try to have a good warm up and be ready for the race."

Massimo Meregalli - Team Director:  "The qualifying session doesn‘t reflect our real capabilities. Jorge couldn‘t do a perfect lap but still qualified on the first row, which is a good place to start the race. This third position and the pace he had in FP3 show how strong he and his setting are and these are really good signs for tomorrow‘s race. It will be a bit more difficult for Vale, who will be starting from the third row. His final results have been compromised due to the weather during FP4, but we know his capabilities and his racing attitude, so we are confident. We hope to have good conditions for the warm up tomorrow morning, so we can check some last details, and a dry race in the afternoon. We look forward to another great battle."

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event French GP
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Le Mans Circuit Bugatti
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo
Article type Qualifying report
Tags yamaha