Le Mans Bugatti Circuit
Challenging Qualification at Le Mans for Yamaha
Today’s qualifying session at Le Mans for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of France was a tough session for Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies. Despite the threat of rain this morning the sun did finally break out, allowing the riders to make the best possible use of the softer tyres on track.
Lorenzo made another step forward in set-up, going nearly a second faster than yesterday’s free practice. The Mallorcan spent the session hunting for further grip and less wheelie from his Yamaha YZR-M1 as he battled for third position. A front row start was looking possible before dropping to fifth at the end of the heat and a second row start for the race.
Spies was also making improvements from yesterday, the American finding an extra 0.7 of a second in qualifying today. A flying lap at the end of the session was unfortunately interrupted by another rider obstructing him, leaving him in eighth place on the third row of the grid for the race.
Position 5th - Time 1.33.706 - Laps 30
“We start on the second row for tomorrow; we will try to keep our pace of 34.0 or 34.1 seconds. If we can do this then maybe we can fight for the podium. If other riders make some mistakes and are not fast enough and we are a little bit faster then it’s possible to fight for more. It’s our goal and this is what we are going to try for the race. I am optimistic though, I think we are not very far from Pedrosa or Dovizioso and if I can improve my riding and be a bit faster on the race and they struggle a little bit we can be with them.”
Position 8th - Time 1.34.206 - Laps 30
“it was an ok session for us; we got held up a bit on our quick lap but in all actuality I’ve been building up more confidence through the weekend and feeling better with the bike. We’re going to make a change for tomorrow and hopefully we can find something. We have pretty good pace for the race and I’m quite confident we can get some decent points.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“We are still running a bit behind. We improved our lap time in qualification but fifth position at the moment is the worst we have been in over a year. We need to find more grip on the track and less wheelie for Jorge. We will discuss now what to do and try for tomorrow, there are always possibilities.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We are still working to make Ben more comfortable on the bike; hopefully we can find something more for him tonight for his race set-up so he can ride to his full potential. We know he will continue to give 100% tomorrow and fight as hard as he can. On Jorge’s side he has already shown us that he can deliver in race conditions. We will continue to put all of our efforts in for the best possible Yamaha result.”