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Lorenzo Celebrates Birthday With Perfect Pole in Jerez

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo celebrated his 26th birthday in style today, taking pole position in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio bwin de España at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit in Southern Spain. The reigning World Champion was the man to beat for the second day of the Grand Prix weekend, starting qualifying at the front with a blistering 1’38.876 lap on his first qualifying tyre. The time remained unbeaten until Lorenzo came out on his second tyre and delivered a stunning 1’38.673 on his sixth lap to secure the number one slot on the grid in front of his home crowd.

Valentino Rossi was one of several riders to fall victim to front end crashes in the hot qualifying session. The Italian was unable to save his M1 on his right knee on the fast right hand turn 11, resulting in a dramatic crash with just two minutes of qualifying remaining. Luckily Rossi was uninjured and was back smiling in the pit garage shortly afterwards. His quickest lap of the session was 1 ’39.00, putting him on the second row of the grid in fifth, 0.627 seconds from his teammate on pole.

Jorge Lorenzo, 1st, Time – 1’38.673

“I’m happy with this pole position, it’s a good present for my birthday! I knew the track was not perfect, it’s very warm and there were a lot of crashes in the previous qualifying. I just tried to make the perfect lap, unfortunately I couldn’t, I made a mistake in two braking zones and went wide and lost some tenths. Anyway, in the other corners I was really quick and at the limit so it was enough to make it. It’s going to be tough tomorrow, normally the lap time you make for qualifying you cant repeat in another time because the tyre drops. We hope to improve the bike a little bit to get more comfortable with pace. Anyway I think we can fight for the win or at least for the podium tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi, 5th, Time -1’39.300

“Today the practices were not so bad. The position is the best qualifying for us this year. The second row is quite good, we can do also do better. Unfortunately at the end I had a crash but I’m ok, I don’t have any problems so we are more or less ready for tomorrow. The bigger issue for tomorrow is how high the rhythm will be with the used tyre. Especially with the hot conditions the rear tyre slides a lot so it is important to see how high the rhythm is after seven or eight laps. Now we try to make the best setting and we will see tomorrow.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“It’s a good birthday present to get pole, of course we are happy with that. More important is tomorrow, everybody is struggling quite a bit, as we saw in qualifying with many crashes. The conditions are very hot and the tyre life is limited so we need to find the best balance as possible for the race. This means that the race can go any way, the guy who has less problems will win but I don’t think the fastest guy in the beginning will be able to win. It’s a very long race, its difficult to judge which bike is going to be better over long distance as we’re not riding 24 laps under the same conditions with the same tyre.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“A super pole position, Jorge did a really great lap as usual. Unfortunately Vale crashed during his best lap. Anyway, we are pretty satisfied with the speed we have. The main issue will be the race distance as we have seen over the last two days that the tyre life could create some problems, but it looks like everybody has the same issue. We are still working to improve this aspect and we are pretty optimistic for tomorrow. So far everything has gone very well.”

Crutchlow close to front row in Spain

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow will start tomorrow’s Gran Premio bwin De Espana from fourth position on the grid after the British rider experienced a day of contrasting fortunes at the Jerez track today. The British rider’s sparkling form in the early part of 2013 continued this morning when he topped the timesheets in FP3 with a best time of 1.38.975 that was close to a full second faster than Dani Pedrosa’s current lap record. Crutchlow was looking strong and confident to continue that hot streak of form in hot and sunny conditions in FP4 when he crashed unhurt at Turn 5 while placed inside the top three. The 27-year-old was determined to bounce back from the earlier spill to challenge for a second front row start of the 2013 World Championship campaign when he fell heavily in a dramatic 15-minute QP2 session. Pushing hard to try and move into the top three, Crutchlow lost the front of his YZR-M1 machine at the final corner shortly after the halfway stage. Demonstrating tremendous determination and courage, Crutchlow rushed back to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage to immediately return to the track and try again to clinch a place on the front row for the ninth time in his MotoGP career. But despite a heroic effort he had to settle for a best time of 1.39.262 that was only 0.291s away from Marc Marquez in third. Crutchlow underwent medical checks in the Clinica Mobile immediately after the session after complaining of lower back pain but he has been given the all-clear to start tomorrow’s race.

Teammate Bradley Smith will start the 27-lap race from 12th position after he enjoyed a positive day at the Circuito de Jerez. Smith produced a brilliant display in QP1 to post a lap of 1.39.990 that put him into one of the top two places he needed to advance into QP2 where the top 12 grid positions are determined. Satisfied to have claimed a place on one of the front four rows for the third time in his rookie season, Smith was less than 0.5s away from a top 10 place on the grid. And the 22-year-old is confident he can battle for a second successive points scoring finish in tomorrow’s race, which is predicted to take place in searing heat and humidity in Southern Spain.

Cal Crutchlow 4th, Time – 1’32.262

“It has been a very difficult day for obvious reasons. The two crashes were very big but the second one was particularly hard because it was very fast. The first crash the temperature was quite a lot different from the morning and I just got caught out and it was my own mistake. In the second crash some people felt there was something on the track but I don’t think that was the case to be honest. I made a mistake in the braking and rather than going straight the front brake level locked into my hand. But this was a really big crash and I’m proud that I got back to the garage and went back out to try and go faster. It seems in the warmer conditions it is quite difficult but I am not the only one feeling this. I’m looking forward to the race and we will make some changes with the bike to try and improve the front feeling in the hot conditions. It seems everybody is struggling and it is not like me to have two crashes in one day. I’m a bit battered and bruised but it won’t stop me from giving it 100% in tomorrow’s race.”

Bradley Smith 12th, Time – 1’40.356

“It was a great job to get into QP2 again today because I really had to fight to make that happen. My race pace is quite good and I am confident but it is going to be a very long and difficult race in the heat. I need to be confident when the tyres drop because it looks like the grip drops down a lot after only three laps and tyre management will be vital. I have made slow progress again all weekend and once again I am working on the same things I’ve been trying so far since I first rode the YZR-M1 machine. It is my riding style and how I am riding the bike where I need to work on but tomorrow is another learning day. I need to get a good start and see if I can follow some of those in the top 10 to get as much as experience as I can.”

2013 MotoGP Spain

Valencia 04/05/2013

1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’38.673
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’38.920
3 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’38.971
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’39.262
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’39.300
6 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’39.509
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’39.654
8 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’39.847
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’39.848
10 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’39.980
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’40.087
12 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’40.356
13 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’40.085
14 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’40.182
15 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’40.466

Circuit Length:


Lap Record:
(Casey Stoner, 1-1-2008)

Fastest Lap Ever:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 11-11-2012)

Last Years Winner:
Daniel Pedrosa