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2012 MotoGP – Rnd 17 Phillip Island – Qualifying

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo took advantage of slightly less windy conditions at Phillip Island today to secure second on the grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Australia. Lorenzo made big steps forward in set up thanks to hard work from the team overnight, enabling him to get nearly half a second closer to pole man Casey Stoner and nearly half a second faster than Championship rival Dani Pedrosa who sits behind him in third on the grid. Having dropped outside the top three initially, Lorenzo came back with an impressive 1’30.140 lap with a very used tyre to take second. Shortly afterwards the rain began to fall, preventing any further efforts to improve on lap times.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position 2nd – Time 1.30.140 – Laps 22

“Casey is really on another planet here, he’s riding so comfortably, sliding a lot and full throttle always so it’s very difficult to be with him. We are closer now though; in qualifying I made a really good lap with the soft tyre. Second place is a good position to be in for tomorrow, it’s important to be just behind Casey into the first corner and to follow his wheel for at least two laps as fast as we can be. A big thank you to the team who worked hard to improve the bike for me for today.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“After yesterday’s practice we were not so positive but today we made quite some improvements, the guys worked really hard so hats off to them. We changed the bike quite a lot and Jorge felt a lot better with it this morning. The qualifying went quite smoothly, Casey is again half a second faster but he’s risking a lot and he has the feeling and the speed. Jorge is doing really well and it seems like we have a good package to fight with tomorrow.”

Crutchlow and Dovizioso ready for podium attack in Australia

Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s AirAsia Australian Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders confident they can both battle for the podium in the penultimate round of the 2012 World Championship.

Still not back to 100% fitness after being struck down by a severe fever and bout of bronchitis heading into this weekend’s race at the fast and flowing Phillip Island track, Crutchlow came close to securing a brilliant eighth front row start of the season. In cool, cloudy and windy conditions, the British rider spent the majority of the session concentrating on improving the race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.

Crutchlow was satisfied with his fast and consistent pace on a used soft Bridgestone rear tyre, which bodes well for a strong challenge in the latter stages of tomorrow’s 27-lap race. Crutchlow managed to set a best time of 1.30.763 that left him just 0.188s behind in-form Dani Pedrosa in third position.

Andrea Dovizioso also tested the endurance of Bridgestone’s soft rear tyre option over a long run and he was happy with his speed and consistency.

A lap of 1.31.200 put the Italian inside the top three in the early part of the session. But when he switched to a new soft rear tyre to push for a second successive front row start, he couldn’t find the same confident feeling and he secured the final place on the second row in sixth.

Cal Crutchlow

Position 4th – Time 1.30.763 – Laps 26

We made some good improvements to the bike today and fortunately I am feeling better too. I’m still not 100% but I have been resting as much as possible and I am improving each day. It was good to have the bike feeling better today as well, although I wasn’t pushing too hard for the whole session. I used an old soft rear tyre that I’d run in this morning’s practice just to check my pace at the start of the session. I’m really happy because my times were fast and consistent even when the rear tyre had over 30 laps on it. That bodes well for the race tomorrow and I’m confident if I can run the same pace I’ll be in the podium hunt. On a new soft tyre I think I could have gone a bit faster but I got held up. Fourth is still a good result and I’m looking forward to a good battle in t omorrow’s race, though based on what we’ve seen so far, Casey is on another planet and nobody will get close to him.”

Andrea Dovizioso

Position 6th – Time 1.31.200 – Laps 26

“The session started very well and I was quickly into a fast pace that put me inside the top three. My race pace is around the mid-31s and that should be competitive enough to be battling for a podium tomorrow. The problem came when I tried to improve my time on a new soft rear tyre. Immediately it was sliding around a lot and it didn’t have the grip I was expecting. I just didn’t have a good feeling and it was impossible to push like I wanted. We need to analyse what might have caused that, so considering I couldn’t go any faster on a new soft rear tyre at the end of the session, I’m pretty pleased to still be in the top six. We have improved the bike in every session and I am confident I will be battling for the podium.”

2012 MotoGP Australia

Phillip Island 27/10/2012

1 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’29.623
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’30.140
3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’30.575
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’30.763
5 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’30.798
6 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 1’31.200
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’31.490
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’31.661
9 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’31.667
10 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’31.681
11 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’31.910
12 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’31.990
13 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’32.231
14 Michele Pirro FTR ITA 1’33.050
15 Danilo Petrucci Ioda ITA 1’33.069

Circuit Length:
4445

Weather:
Dry

Lap Record:
1’30.059
(Nicky Hayden, 1/1/2008)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’28.665
(Casey Stoner, 10/5/2008)

Last Years Winner:
Casey Stoner