Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo emerged the victor in an intense qualifying battle today, securing the pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Aragon at the Motorland circuit. The Championship leader started the first dry session of the weekend quite slowly, gradually picking up the pace to join the battle between his team mate Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa for the top spot. It was with his last fresh tyre just three laps from the end of the session that Lorenzo delivered, putting down a 1’49.404 lap to secure pole 0.088 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. The pole is his fifth of the season.
Texan Spies threatened to make it an all Yamaha front row this afternoon, consistently battling with the top three and briefly taking the top spot on the timesheets. His fastest lap came just one lap before the end of the session, delivering a 1’49.748 lap and missing the front row by just 0.172 seconds.
Position 1st – Time: 1’49.404 – Laps 22
“I feel happy, I really thought Cal would take pole position because his lap time was really quick but finally we managed to improve our lap time with the last qualifying tyre. It’s important to be on the front row in pole position but tomorrow is what counts, we have to do a lot of laps and it’s going to be a long race. Let’s see how the weather is, we all hope it’s not going to rain, it’s much better if it’s dry.”
Position 4th – Time: 1’49.784 – Laps 24
“In the end we weren’t too far off the fastest guys. The session was quite tricky in the beginning, very slippery in parts and quite different to when we tested here. In the end we did an ok job, we didn’t make a perfect qualifying session but honestly speaking after seeing some of the crashes I was probably being a bit cautious. It was the first dry session of the weekend so it’s quite hard to go full speed that quickly. The bike is working well so a good warm up tomorrow morning and we’ll be ready for the race.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very important pole position, circumstances were very difficult because it was slippery and cold so in the beginning we weren’t so fast. We knew what times we had achieved in the test but it was important not to lose concentration and make a mistake today.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We wrapped up today with pole which is always a great result. I think the test we had here was very helpful, this makes our work a lot easier this weekend. The only thing that could have been sweeter today would have been to have Ben on the front row too. Ben has a good set up so let’s hope tomorrow will be dry.”
Crutchlow clinches front row at Motorland Aragon
Cal Crutchlow delivered a fantastic qualifying performance in cool and cloudy conditions at the Motorland Argon circuit this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider heading the timesheets for over half the session before securing a place on the front row of the grid for the sixth time in 2012.
The session started on a dry track, which gave Crutchlow and teammate Andrea Dovizioso their first opportunity to assess grip levels on Bridgestone’s slick tyres after a rain-hit weekend.
With dark clouds threatening in the skies above, Crutchlow wasted no time in establishing a fast rhythm and he took control of the session shortly before the halfway mark with a lap of 1.50.322.
Crutchlow brilliantly built up his speed and he was the first rider to lap in the 1.49 bracket when a lap of 1.49.718 moved him over 0.6s clear of the pack with 15 minutes left on the clock. He held top spot until just over three minutes remained when his pace was bettered by Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
The British rider lowered his lap time to a 1.49.576 to finish just 0.172s off pole position. Today’s result secured Crutchlow a place on the front row for the third race in succession ahead of tomorrow’s 23-lap encounter. And today’s qualifying session was the third in succession that Crutchlow, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have occupied the top three places.
The first dry session of the weekend gave Dovizioso the opportunity to focus on the dry race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine. The Italian was a consistent challenger for the top three for much of the session and with just five minutes remaining he looked well set to notch his third front row start of the campaign when he sat in third position on the leaderboard.
Dovizioso was able to set a best time of 1.50.241 that secured him a place on the second row in sixth position and he’s confident he will be a leading contender for the rostrum in tomorrow’s race.
Position 3rd – Time 1’49.576 – Laps 23
“I think we did a very good job today to finish on the front row when this session was the first time we have been able to work on the settings in the dry. My main aim for the session was to get the bike set-up for the race and immediately out of the box I was fast and all through the session I was able to steadily improve my pace. I’m confident going into tomorrow’s race because the bike feels good, despite the fact that we missed a lot of dry track time, so credit to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they did a fantastic job again. I thought we’d be struggling more because Jorge, Dani and Ben all tested here for two days recently, so to be so close to them shows we’ve done a great job. That is the third front row start on the bounce now but after Misano I have got to finish the race tomorrow. Hopefully it will be in the top three because it would be great to get another podium.”
Position 6th – Time: 1’50.241 – Laps 25
“It has been a particular session this afternoon with quite tricky conditions as qualifying was the first dry session of the weekend and with the low temperatures we had to use the soft front tyre, which is normally unusual for this track and for my riding style. I can’t push as hard as I would like while braking on corner entry, so we will probably use the hard option in the race tomorrow without having it tried before. I’m still really happy with my feeling with the bike. I could have been faster during the last run but I did just two of the five planned flying laps because I found some slower riders on track. I’m confident that I will be able to fight for the podium tomorrow, but it will be important to make a good start to stay with the leading group during the opening laps.”
2012 MotoGP Spain
Motorland Aragon 29/09/2012
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’49.404
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’49.492
3 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’49.576
4 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’49.748
5 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’50.034
6 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 1’50.241
7 Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 1’50.410
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’50.949
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’51.013
10 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’51.072
11 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’51.082
12 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’51.155
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’51.459
14 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’51.521
15 Michele Pirro FTR ITA 1’52.606
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 9/18/2011)
Last Years Winner: