MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Lorenzo Secures Front Row in Challenging Austin Qualifying

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo took third position in the first ever qualifying session for the Grand Prix of The Americas today at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin Texas. The MotoGP World Champion was quick to find pace on his first time attack in the new format 15 minute qualifying heat, taking provisional pole briefly with ten minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately a mistimed trip through pit lane as the last minutes died away left him unable to mount another hot lap. The result sees Lorenzo take the third position on the front row of the grid next to rival Dani Pedrosa.

Team mate Valentino Rossi continued to struggle under braking today and was unable to find a set up for his YZR-M1 that would enable a challenge for the front row. The Italian pushed hard through the final practice and subsequent qualifying session, eventually settling for eighth position on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Jorge Lorenzo, 3rd, Time – 2’04.100

“What happened in qualifying is more or less what happened in all the sessions, the Hondas, Marc and Dani in particular, are much more fast than us in pace and on a fast lap. Our best position we could do today was third. Tomorrow in the race anything could happen. If something strange happens we can fight for the win but in normal conditions third is a really good position for tomorrow. We hope that the race is going to be better than qualifying and we can be closer to Marc and Dani.”

Valentino Rossi, 8th, Time – 2’05.380

“We expected to go better today but we were unable to fix the problem in braking especially in the first part and I lose too much time. We still have tomorrow, we know that this weekend on this track it can be difficult and in fact it is. We have to make a good race and try to achieve some positions and take some points.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“The front row is very good so we are satisfied with that, I think it was the maximum for today. The last tyre didn’t go well in qualifying, Jorge ended up in a group so he went in to the pit lane and didn’t realise we didn’t have enough time for another time attack. At the moment we are just one metre from pole position. The race is tomorrow and the bike is behaving ok so lets see what we can do as It’s quite clear we don’t have the advantage we had in Qatar. Anything can happen, the fast guys can make mistakes and the race is a long one, you have to stay focused and Jorge is very good at doing that.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“We are continuing to work hard to close the gap to the front. We will make some changes tonight and we will hopefully see the result in warm up. We know this is not the best circuit for us but we will continue to give 100%. Jorge made a good qualifying session but unfortunately he missed the opportunity to improve his lap time due to the mistake. To start this race from the front row is important. As a result of qualifying Vale will need a very aggressive start to the race. If we can make another step with the set up then he can definitely catch the riders in front of him.”

Crutchlow close to front row in Texas

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow will start the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas from fourth place on the grid after the British rider just missed out on a front row spot for the second race in succession in 2013. In a breathless 15-minute QP2 to decide the top 12 grid positions, Crutchlow produced another fantastic qualifying performance in gloriously sunny conditions at the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to set a best time of 2.04.267. That put him in fourth position and just 0.167s from claiming a ninth front row start in his MotoGP career. Crutchlow’s phenomenal progress throughout his first visit to COTA was confirmed in FP3 and FP4 when he secured the fourth best time, the 27-year-old improving his pace set yesterday by two seconds to move up from sixth. He knocked another big chunk of time off his pace again in QP2 and is confident that he can fight for a place in the top five in tomorrow’s 21-lap race.

Bradley Smith’s second appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will start from 11th on the grid. The British rider ended the opening three practice sessions in 12th position, a result that meant he just missed being seeded straight through to QP2 by two places. Smith knew that a top two placing in the 15-minute QP1 session would secure him a spot in QP2 where grid positions for the first four rows are decided. A best lap of 2.06.591, which was over 1.2s faster than his previous best all weekend, brilliantly put him into QP2 and continued his climb up the order to qualify in 11th by overhauling Ben Spies.

Cal Crutchlow – 4th, Time – 2’04.267

“I am really happy to qualify in fourth, even though it would have been nice to be back on the front row again. But coming here with no previous track experience meant it was always going to be an uphill battle, so to finish so close to Lorenzo and be ahead of Bradl and Valentino, who both tested here last month, is a great achievement for myself and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. This is a long and technical track but fortunately I have been able to learn it very quickly and my crew have also got their heads around what I need to go fast and together we have done a great job to be so far up the grid. I’m obviously quite a long way off Marquez and Dani but so is everybody else. It will be a really tough race and very physical for 21-laps but having come here without any prior track knowledge, I always said a top six finish will be mission accomplished for me and that remains my goal.”

Bradley Smith – 11th, Time – 2’06.740

“It has been a really hard two days but in the end it turned out very well and I’m happy with my performance. Trying to understand the bike and the Bridgestone tyres around this incredibly technical circuit has not been an easy task but it is nice that I made it into QP2 and then pick up another place on the grid as well to start from 11th. At one stage it didn’t even look like I’d make it through to the final qualifying so I’m happy. I improve each time I go out and to be honest going into QP1 was a benefit for me because it meant I got a few more laps under my belt to understand the track more. My only goal for the race is to make it to the finish after the crash in Qatar. I need to gain experience over a race distance and while 21-laps here is going to be really tough, I am really looking forward to it.”

2013 MotoGP United States

Circuit of The Americas 20/04/2013

1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 2’03.021
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 2’03.275
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 2’04.100
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 2’04.267
5 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 2’04.445
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 2’04.873
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 2’04.942
8 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 2’05.380
9 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 2’05.389
10 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 2’05.568
11 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 2’06.740
12 Ben Spies Ducati USA 2’07.044
13 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 2’06.872
14 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 2’07.129
15 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 2’07.717

Circuit Length:
5513

Crowd:
21

Weather:
Dry

Fastest Lap Ever:
2’03.021
(Marc Marquez, 21-4-2013 11:58:45)