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Lorenzo Delivers Catalunya Front Row

Jorge Lorenzo continued his unbroken run as the only rider to consistently start from the front row this season, taking third on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya. The reigning world champion had only the last minutes of the brief qualifying heat to record a best time after a clutch issue forced him to pit shortly after the session started. Despite the setback he was able to salvage a front row start in third with a 1’41.566 after completing just seven laps. Lorenzo was able to walk away uninjured from a crash in the morning’s third free practice after losing the front at turn five. Conditions were even hotter than yesterday with track temperatures hitting up to 57 degrees over the afternoon.

Having been the fastest rider yesterday Valentino Rossi continued his competitive pace into the third free practice this morning, ending in fourth but just 0.156 seconds from first. Having mastered race pace the nine-time champion turned to qualifying, allowing most of the field to leave the pits before venturing out to find some clean track. Using the harder front and soft rear tyre option he delivered a best time of 1’41.959 to take seventh on the third row of the grid, less than four tenths from his team mate Lorenzo on the front row.

Jorge Lorenzo, 3rd, Time – 1’41.566, 7 laps

“I’m very disappointed because today we had a problem with the clutch in a crucial moment and this lap time was the best I could do. I also had not so much confidence on the front to make a perfect lap. We hope for race distance we can remain constant and fight for the win. We will need to be strong and concentrate for the whole race; we don’t know what can happen in the 20th lap.”

Valentino Rossi, 7th, Time – 1’41.959, 8 laps

“We worked hard today; it’s not so bad but unfortunately we are not able to start from a better position on the grid. We tried everything but I still don’t have the maximum feeling to improve a bit more. The race tomorrow is going to be very interesting because of the tyre choice and the rhythm. There are four or five riders who are very fast and very constant so we hope to do a good start and good first laps to stay with the top guys and check our performance.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“A strange day but overall we are in front row even when we had a problem with the first bike. The clutch was spinning when he went out which isn’t ideal because you miss a bit of time with your first tyre. He did well anyway with a 1’41.7s lap. We had to stay out with the same bike, but he was able to make a 1’41.5s lap to qualify for the front row. I think that was the maximum for today, Dani with his 40.8 was unreachable. We have to sort out what went wrong with the clutch and dig into our set ups to prepare for tomorrow’s race.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“We are quite satisfied with the pace we could run in the free practices but the qualifying didn’t go as we expected. We have to try and close the gap as our competitors are quicker, especially in the hot conditions that we will probably have again tomorrow. We will work to understand how to improve the total package and we will do our best to be as competitive as possible for tomorrow. The race is always different to the qualifying session. We know the tyres we are going to use, we have to try and make the rear last as long as possible. The race is going to be tough and difficult but we will be ready.”

Crutchlow fastest Yamaha in Catalunya qualifying

Cal Crutchlow stormed to his second front row of 2013 in scorching heat at the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon, the British rider continuing his hot streak of form to qualify as the fastest Yamaha rider ahead of the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider saved his best for last with a blistering lap of 1.41.501 on his eighth and final lap moving him ahead of reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo to secure second position on the grid for tomorrow’s 25-lap race. With temperatures rocketing to a sweltering 30 degrees, Crutchlow delivered an ice cool performance to challenge for a ninth career front row right from the start of the 15-minute QP2. The 27-year-old was immediately inside the top three and he never looked like missing out on his front row start since the opening round in Qatar, his quickest lap making him the fastest Yamaha rider by 0.065s ahead of home crowd hero Lorenzo.

Bradley Smith will start the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from 11th on the grid, the British rider bouncing back superbly from a heavy crash in yesterday’s sun-drenched practice to post a best time of 1.42.548. Smith didn’t let yesterday’s tumble dent his confidence and he advanced into QP2 with a best lap of 1.42.607, with only Andrea Iannone able to lap within 0.5s of the 22-year-old in QP1. As track temperatures soared to over 50 degrees this afternoon in conditions that provided an extreme test of both man and machine, Smith was only a second off the sensational pace set by teammate Crutchlow and he is confident he can battle for the top 10 tomorrow.

Cal Crutchlow, 2nd, Time – 1.41.501, 8 laps

“I think we did a great job today and I am really happy to be back on the front row. It seems a while since I managed it at the first race in Qatar and at least I won’t be starting from fourth again. The conditions were really tricky with the incredibly high track temperature and it looks like it is going to be a big battle in the race tomorrow. I’ll be happy to get a good start and hang with Dani and Jorge because they are obviously going to be strong. Jorge had a few problems today and maybe without those he would have taken second off me. But there’s no doubt we deserve this front row and that’s a good reward for all the hard work done by my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. Congratulations to Dani though because that was an incredible lap time in such tricky conditions.”

Bradley Smith, 11th, Time – 1.42.548, 8 laps

“I’m feeling a lot more positive now considering what happened yesterday when I was quite slow. I’ve managed to go 1.7s faster today and that’s a great step. I am only a second away from Cal and that is my normal level and I feel we did a good job. When you go so much faster though the feeling with the bike changes and I could do with one more day of practice to fine-tune the set-up. I am really looking forward to the race now. Tyre wear in such hot conditions is going to be critical but I need to stay with the group in the first eight laps and then it will be a big fight to see who can conserve the tyres for the longest. I need to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they have worked really hard on changing the bike to help me improve. My left hand I injured in Mugello was also much better today and it won’t cause me any issues in the race.”

2013 MotoGP Spain

Catalunya 15/06/2013

1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’40.893
2 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’41.501
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’41.566
4 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’41.714
5 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’41.800
6 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’41.842
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’41.959
8 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’41.963
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’42.053
10 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’42.090
11 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’42.548
12 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’42.878
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’43.186
14 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’43.330
15 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’43.659

Circuit Length:


Lap Record:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2008)

Fastest Lap Ever:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 16-6-2013)

Last Years Winner:
Jorge Lorenzo