Valentino Rossi took a moment at the start of the session but last minute hot laps from his rivals moved him to fourth.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo kept the pressure on today ahead of this weekend’s upcoming MotoGP title showdown, taking second on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.
He returned to the track with just over six minutes remaining however the problem remained so he was forced to return to the pits again to switch to bike two. He was back out for the final moments and despite a less than perfect set up was able to drop his time further to a 1’30.577 to secure second position on the front row.
Valentino Rossi took a moment at the start of the session to allow the pack to exit, offering clear track for his first hot lap attempt. The nine time world champion then got down to a 1’32.295 before returning to the pits for a fresh rear tyre.
Back on track and the last minutes saw him pick up the pace, dropping under the 1’31 mark with a 1’30.920. The time was good enough to hold provisional third on the front row until a flurry of last minute hot laps from his rivals moved him to fourth.
Jorge Lorenzo (2nd / 1'30.577 / 7 laps): “One thing is qualifying, the other is the race. We tried our best for pole position but unfortunately bike number one had an issue when we had our second attempt at a fast lap. We went to the second bike but it was an older engine with a different character and it didn’t feel the same. If we make a good start tomorrow we can overtake Marquez and see what we can do in the race.”
Valentino Rossi (4th / 1'30.920 / 9 laps): “I wanted to try for the front row but in the end I wasn’t able to which was a pity. Starting from the fourth position is not so bad. My lap time is quite good, I can go under the 31" mark so I am quite happy. Now we have to work hard and we have to decide the rear tyre for tomorrow so we can stay with the top three. With the soft tyre I was faster but everyone is now worried about it lasting for 30 laps. The hard is safer but we also have to go fast.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager: “A very hot qualifying as usual. I think qualifying on the front row is again great. We expected to be faster but our best bike had a technical issue. We need to investigate this. For me the pace is very important, the pace Jorge had in free practice four was very impressive. If he can do that tomorrow in the race he can fight for victory.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director: “So far we have done a good job. We have speed and consistency so we are ready for tomorrow. We know that it is not going to be an easy race and there is a lot of pressure on everybody. What we have done so far makes us confident and having both riders on the first two rows is important here. We will finalize the settings of the bikes tomorrow morning in warm up and make a decision on tyre choice. We are looking forward to the finale!”