LORENZO TAKES FANTASTIC FIFTH POLE, ROSSI ON SECOND ROW IN LAGUNA Jorge Lorenzo took an impressive fifth consecutive pole at Laguna Seca today, the 40th of his career across all classes. His recovering Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi ...
LORENZO TAKES FANTASTIC FIFTH POLE, ROSSI ON SECOND ROW IN LAGUNA
Jorge Lorenzo took an impressive fifth consecutive pole at Laguna Seca today, the 40th of his career across all classes. His recovering Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi continued to struggle a little with the physical demands of the American track and will start from sixth tomorrow.
Lorenzo, who also took pole at this race last year, was fastest in this morning's free practice and looked in sublime form from the start of the qualifying session, moving to the top after just a few laps. He spent the middle part of the session fine-tuning the setting of his M1 ahead of tomorrow's race and relinquished the top spot for some time, before turning his attention back to lap times with eight minutes remaining and retaking the lead. His only real challenger for pole was Casey Stoner, who edged the Mallorcan back into second with four minutes remaining but the championship-leader produced a stunning display on his penultimate lap to better the Australian's time by 0.191 seconds and take his fifth pole in a row.
Laguna Seca is proving less forgiving to Rossi on his return from injury than Sachsenring was last week and the World Champion struggled physically around the 3610m track today. The biggest problem for him this afternoon was in the shoulder he injured back in April, in which he still lacks power and suffers in the hard braking areas. That said the Italian is confident that some small changes in tomorrow's warm-up can help him to find a few more tenths and he will do all he can to race competitively in tomorrow's 32-lap race.
"Pole position isn't the race but it does help so I'm really happy to have got this fifth pole. Everyone is working very well and this shows it once again. I didn't think it would be possible today because Casey was so fast but I decided to give it a try and pushed as hard as I could and here we are! I don't know what to expect tomorrow, it will be a hard race for sure because Dani and Casey are very strong, but we will do the best we can to fight to the end and at least make the podium. I'm excited because it's always a special race here with a great atmosphere."
"We didn't go too badly today but we need to improve our setting a little bit to get closer to the leaders. Lorenzo and Stoner are very fast but after that there are a few riders quite close together, including me, so it's not too bad. I think it's going to be very difficult tomorrow because this track is a lot harder for me than Sachsenring, but I hope I can do a good race. There are a few corners where we know we can be a bit faster so tomorrow morning we will try to make some small changes to the setting to allow that, then I need to get a good start. My leg feels better than yesterday, which is good, the problem today is the shoulder because my left one isn't strong enough to compensate completely for the lack of power in my right one and now I have some pain in both! My hope for tomorrow is to be able to finish the race without too much pain and to do the best we can in the circumstances."
"Earlier on this season I said maybe it was better if Jorge wasn't on pole because it was less pressure that way, but now we have had five in a row and I have to say that we're very happy! He was very comfortable out there today and our bike is working very well, so at the end of the session he decided to go for the pole. That last lap of his was incredible; I don't think we expected him to be that fast! It's going to be very close tomorrow and it's a long race, we expect a big battle but we will do our best to be on the podium."
"We still have some work to do before the race but I think we're in better shape than it looks! We need to find some small improvements and then we need to decide about the tyres for tomorrow. The pace isn't too bad but to really be in the race we need to find a couple more tenths. This track is quite hard on Valentino's body and at the end of the practice he was suffering with his shoulder especially; it's nore demanding than Sachsenring. It's going to be difficult for him to finish the whole race tomorrow in top form but we have to remember that this is our second 'recovery' race and all things considered it's going okay."