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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.

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 1’20.978Laps: 34
“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.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – Position: 6thTime: 1’21.688Laps: 36
“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.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“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.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“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.”

Spies within touching distance of maiden front row at Laguna Seca

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies thrilled a large home crowd at Laguna Seca today, the Texan coming tantalisingly close to claiming his first MotoGP front row start at the end of a dramatic qualifying session.

Spies looked a serious threat for the front row earlier in the session when he jumped into the top three with just over 20 minutes of qualifying remaining at the spectacular California circuit.

He slipped down the rankings as the action intensified but looked on course to return to the top three as he produced a dazzling final flying lap. But he lost precious time when Mika Kallio crashed at the legendary Corkscrew sect ion in the critical final moments and ended up missing a maiden front row by just 0.062s.

Spies was still able to secure fifth on the grid with a best time of 1.21.679 and the reigning World Superbike champion is supremely confident that he can fight for a podium finish in tomorrow’s 32-lap race.

While Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner have been pretty much unstoppable at the top of the timesheets all weekend, Spies has looked a strong contender in full race trim and he finished leading American rider once again in a sun-soaked session.

Colin Edwards secured his best grid position since the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello after putting in a tremendous amount of work with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to find a comfortable race setting ahead of tomorrow’s 32-lap race.

The 36-year-old ended in eighth position with a best time of 1.22.21 7, the American still unsure whether he will use the soft or hard Bridgestone rear tyre for his all-important home race.

Ben Spies
Ben Spies
Ben Spies – Position: 5th Time: 1’21.679Laps: 33 laps
“It’s a little frustrating to be so close to my first front row but I’m still really happy with fifth position. The last stint was good and I was actually on a front row lap for sure at the end. I was a tenth quicker and then Kallio unfortunately crashed at the Corkscrew. I saw a big dust cloud and yellow flags were being waved. I was really scared that someone was on the downhill part because you can’t see going in there. I wanted to play it safe and I lost a tenth there for sure and that definitely kept me off the front row. I’m happy being in the middle of row two and besides Casey and Lorenzo, I’m in the battle for the podium and that’s where I want to be. I couldn’t be happier with that and if I get a good start and sta y out of trouble then I have the pace to fight for the podium. For the win, those guys are going way too fast now. You never give up but they are on another level right now from everybody. I’ll ride as hard as I can and have some fun in front of the home fans. It’s been great to come home and see lots of support and hopefully I can give them something to cheer tomorrow.”

Colin Edwards
Colin Edwards
Colin Edwards – Position: 8th Time: 1’022.217 Laps: 31 laps
“I’ve been riding really hard all weekend and giving it my all for the home fans, but I seem to be stuck around seventh and eighth position. I’m not sure what else I can do because I’m putting in my maximum effort and feel good on the bike. The goal is to try and get away with the bunch from Dovizioso down because the top two are way ahead of the rest of us. I need to find some speed in the final section where I lose a bit too much time and now we’ve got to figure out which rear tyre to use in the race. I was convinced yesterday that I’d run the hard option front and rear. But now I’m considering the soft rear. There’s quite a big difference in lap time but I’m wondering how good the soft tyre will be at the end of the race. This is a really important race for me and for Monster so I’ll be giving my all for a strong result tomorrow.”
Circuit Length: 3610
Weather: Dry

Lap Record: 1’23.915 (Colin Edwards, 01/01/2005)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’20.700 (Casey Stoner, 20/07/2008)
Last Years Winner: Daniel Pedrosa

2010 MotoGP United States – Laguna Seca 25/07/2010

Qualifying 1

Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’20.978
2 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1’21.169
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’21.617
4 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’21.655
5 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’21.679
6 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’21.688
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’21.920
8 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’22.217
9 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’22.300
10 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’22.366
11 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1’22.407
12 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1’22.647
13 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 1’22.712
14 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’22.770
15 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 1’23.127