Qatari GP: Fiat Yamaha qualifying report

LORENZO HEADS ALL-YAMAHA FRONT ROW ON SUPERB MOTOGP DEBUT Fiat Yamaha Team new recruit Jorge Lorenzo, at 20 the youngest rider on the grid, took an incredible pole position on his MotoGP debut in Qatar tonight. The Spanish rookie is the first ...

LORENZO HEADS ALL-YAMAHA FRONT ROW ON SUPERB MOTOGP DEBUT

Fiat Yamaha Team new recruit Jorge Lorenzo, at 20 the youngest rider on the grid, took an incredible pole position on his MotoGP debut in Qatar tonight. The Spanish rookie is the first rider in ten years to take pole position at his debut premier-class race and heads the first all-Yamaha front row since Sachsenring in 2002.

Following on from an impressive opening night yesterday, Lorenzo continued with more of the same in the first session this evening and finished second. As a result he headed into this evening's Qualifying session as one of the clear favourites for a spot on the front row and, with 20 minutes to go, he slotted in a Michelin qualifying tyre and went straight to the top of the time sheets. It was a night for the rookies as pole position was briefly surrendered to fellow Yamaha new-boy James Toseland, but Lorenzo's final qualifying lap was too good for his competitors and a time of 1'53.927 saw him smash the previous pole record by over a second.

Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi finished the evening in 7th place which will see him start from the front of the third row, whilst Lorenzo will lead the front row ahead of the two Yamaha Tech 3 riders, with Toseland in second and Colin Edwards in third. Tomorrow's race, the first ever World Championship night race, gets underway at 2300 local time.

Jorge Lorenzo

"Only in my dreams did I imagine being on pole at my very first MotoGP race; I can't believe it! This is something great for all of Yamaha; there are three Yamaha riders on the front row and this shows how hard they have been working. Tonight my M1 was working very well and with the Michelin qualifying tyres it was excellent, but also our race pace is very good. Tomorrow will of course be very difficult; it's my first MotoGP race so there is a lot to think about, but I am excited and of course we will try to do our best and see what happens! The team and Michelin have done a great job over the winter so this is a thank you to them. I will try to get a good start and I will have to concentrate very hard on the first lap when the tyres are cold, and then we'll see what happens. Tomorrow is another day however and for the moment I just want to think about this and celebrate a special night\ for me and for Yamaha."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager

"Like Jorge says, tonight is like a dream for us and we couldn't ask for more. We've done a great job with Yamaha and Michelin during the winter and the rider has adapted very well to a MotoGP bike. Also the team have done very well setting up the bike for him so well done and thank you to all of them. Today the Michelin qualifying tyres worked perfectly but we're also consistently fast with race tyres, so it's quite exciting. I want to thank Yamaha for doing a great job in the winter and giving us a very competitive bike, we're in good shape for the first race and now we are just waiting to see what happens tomorrow!"

ROSSI HEADS THIRD ROW FOR NIGHT-TIME QATAR SHOWDOWN

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's season-opening MotoGP race from the front of the third row, after qualifying seventh under the Qatar floodlights tonight.

The Italian lacked a little pace with his qualifying tyres this evening but a strong showing on Bridgestone race tyres in tonight's first practice session left him feeling nonetheless relaxed for tomorrow's race. After struggling slightly for grip yesterday the earlier practice session, run in slightly warmer temperatures, saw Rossi making significant improvements to his setting and finishing third fastest. Qualifying was something more of a struggle for the multiple world champion however and he was unable to break into the top positions, but he is confident that a good start and a strong first lap will see him in a position to fight with the protagonists in tomorrow's 22-lap race.

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo took an impressive pole position in his first ever MotoGP qualifying session, leading an all-Yamaha front row from Tech 3 riders James Toseland and Colin Edwards. Tomorrow's race, the first ever MotoGP night-race, will start at 2300 local time.

Valentino Rossi

"After the test we knew that we weren't going to be in perfect shape for the qualifying; we tried a few modifications but we weren't able to completely fix the problem and so I couldn't challenge for the front row. This aside however, I'm pleased with the progress we made today and our race pace is much better than yesterday. We're still missing a couple of tenths from the front but we have a few small modifications planned and I think we're in okay shape for the race. The third row isn't great but we know that the Bridgestone tyres work very well straight away and so if I get a good start then I hope I can challenge at the front. The bike is feeling good, we've found some more grip compared to yesterday and for sure I can say that we're in better shape than last year. Congratulations to Lorenzo because he was very impressive tonight and this shows that our bike is very good. It's only the first race and I'm quite relaxed; I feel good on the bike, I can ride it exactly how I want to and now we're just waiting for tomorrow."

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

"I think that we've done a good job today. Valentino and the whole team had a very good reaction to yesterday's problems and we improved our race pace considerably, so we're very happy about that. We knew that our job with the qualifying tyre would be more difficult tonight and all things considered seventh is not so bad. It's a starting point for us and now we will make progress in the future. Congratulations to Lorenzo for his pole position and to Yamaha for filling the front row; it's going to be a very interesting beginning to the championship!"

-credit: fiat yamaha

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Jorge Lorenzo , Davide Brivio