Teammate Valentino Rossi had a challenging outing and secured eighth.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo scored a front row position in this afternoon‘s qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teammate Valentino Rossi made a considerable improvement on the practice sessions, dropping into the mid 1‘32‘s to take eighth.
Lorenzo was on typical form for the 15 minute qualifying heat, ensuring he was the first man on track as the session began. His first flying lap of 1‘32.715 saw him shoot up directly to provisional pole, but his hold was short lived. As the rest of the field crossed the line, he dropped to fifth before quickly retuning to the box with nine minutes on the clock.
Our competitors were very explosive and fast, especially during qualifying on one lap.
When he returned to the track less than a minute later the pace had quickened and Lorenzo had dropped back to sixth. He responded by delivering another hot lap, bettering his time to 1‘32.611 to secure fifth place on the grid for the race, but again wasn‘t able to hold the spot and slipped back to sixth.
He came back in to the pits for a third time with a little more than four minutes on the clock for a quick stop, to commence his final try with three minutes remaining. This time the Spaniard made it count, his time dropped to a 1‘32.186 in his final push, enough to secure third position on tomorrow‘s grid.
Valentino Rossi endured a challenging qualifying this afternoon, as he was unable to find a set up with his YZR-M1 to challenge the frontrunners.
Rossi left pit lane directly behind his teammate but came back in before completing his outlap. After a quick stop, he headed back out to set a first flying lap of 1‘32.511 for third. Eager to claim a front row starting place, he gave it another try but was unable to improve and returned to the box for a second time with less than six minutes remaining.
One minute later he was back out for his third outing, but despite giving his all his time was not enough to move up the grid. The nine-time World Champion will start tomorrow‘s race from eighth on the third row.
Quotes after qualifying
Jorge Lorenzo: "Our competitors were very explosive and fast, especially during qualifying on one lap. It‘s always difficult to beat them during the practices, not just at this track, but in general. I was a little bit afraid before putting in the last tyre, because I was in sixth position. Luckily for me I managed over the weekend to save one more tyre and in the third try-out I was able to improve my time by half a second and that gave me first row. This is vital, because tomorrow Marc can go very quickly from the beginning and it‘s important to be as close to him as possible. It will be a long race, I think we have a good pace and we didn‘t improve the bike as we expected, but we still have the warm up to try some things."
Valentino Rossi: "Yesterday I was very slow and a bit worried, and we didn‘t start with a good base setting. Today the situation has improved, especially my pace is not so bad. In FP4 I was in fourth position and I raised my level and my potential a lot and also the life of the tyre is longer, but unfortunately in qualifying I wasn‘t strong enough to start from the second row. I hit traffic, made mistakes and I have to start from the third row. This is a big problem because I‘m not very fast here and we still have some problems with the bike that we have to improve, we have to make a step for tomorrow. I think fighting for the podium tomorrow will be hard, because Marc and Jorge are very strong, but at this track like at Sachsenring also Dani is very fast, so it will be difficult."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: Starting from first row is a good result from Jorge. He showed a strong pace during the race simulation we did this morning. There is still some room for improvement, but we expect tomorrow to be a tough race. Valentino ran into some traffic and as a result couldn‘t do better than the pace he showed today, even though we made a step and the bike improved from yesterday. Starting from eighth place makes it more difficult, especially at the beginning of the race, but we know what he‘s capable of. We will try to prepare something for tomorrow‘s warm up to see if we can gain a few more tenths and then we will give everything we have at 2pm.