Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo continued yesterday’s blistering form this afternoon at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, taking second on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio d’Italia. The reigning World Champion was fast straight out of the box in the tense 15 minute heat, dipping under the lap record on his first full lap with a scorching 1’47.621 effort to take provisional pole. After a change of rear rubber he was back out with six minutes remaining and looked certain to retain pole with an even more impressive 1’47.226 lap. Unfortunately a late effort by rival Dani Pedrosa improved the lap time by just 0.069 seconds, taking pole and relegating Lorenzo to second.
Valentino Rossi was caught up in a busy track from the start of the short session and struggled to find a clear space to record his best lap time. The Italian rose initially to third with an impressive 1’47.832 and looked good for a front row until a flurry of late activity pushed him to seventh position on the third row for tomorrow’s race.
Jorge Lorenzo 2nd, Time 1’47.226 – 8 laps
“We still suffer a little bit when the weather is hotter, we don’t have the same grip. Even with this issue we have been competitive though, in the free practice and also in the qualifying. I was surprised to be so fast in the first lap when I made a 47.6. I was also surprised about the lap time from Marquez on his first try and also the lap time from Dani. I thought the 47.2 lap was enough for pole position but Dani was faster so it wasn’t. The important thing is to make a good start tomorrow, to get in front and to go away if possible. If not possible, the race is long and we have to be consistent. We have to improve some small details but in general the bike is better here than at the other tracks.”
Valentino Rossi 7th, Time 1’47.872 – 8 laps
“The practices are not so bad because we have a good pace for the race which is important. As always in the qualifying we suffer more than the others. They use the slipstream of the others and are able to go a bit faster than me. Unfortunately I have to start on the third row but I’m quite happy because my pace is quite good so I think with a good start I can do a good race. We will see tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very exciting qualifying. We have a very good pace and Jorge did two fantastic laps. Dani was in seventh or sixth and panicking a bit, I think he had to do it in the last lap and he was one tenth faster. Anyway, tomorrow is the race, we would of course like to be on pole but tomorrow is a different story. Tomorrow we get the points so we concentrate on that and make sure we have a good pace.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It has been a pity that we lost pole position for just a fraction of a second when we led for most of the practices and we had a very strong pace, Jorge is very fast and consistent. Valentino has also a good pace and showed it in the last free practice. I think tomorrow is going to be a really tough race but I think there are all the ingredients for Yamaha to be in the front and fighting for victory.”
Crutchlow and Smith perform heroics in Mugello
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith delivered heroic performances in a tense and dramatic qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s Mugello MotoGP race in Italy.
British rider Crutchlow’s hopes of a second front row start in the 2013 World Championship appeared to have ended when he fell heavily but unhurt at Turn 3 shortly before the halfway point of QP2. The 27-year-old dashed back to the paddock to jump immediately on his second YZR-M1 machine, but at that stage Crutchlow had fallen down to seventh on the time sheets. Undeterred by the earlier crash, Crutchlow brilliantly kept his focus to rocket into the top three with a stunning lap of 1.47.771 in the decisive final moments. As the action intensified, Crutchlow dropped back to sixth before improving his pace again, a breathless final lap of 1.47.632 ensuring he will start from fourth position on the grid for the fourth race in a row this season. A first front row start since the opening race in Qatar eluded Crutchlow by just 0.004s in a session that took place in easily the best conditions of the weekend so far, with a strong and warm sun finally penetrating through the grey and gloomy skies that dominated yesterday’s practice.
Heroic performances are becoming a trademark of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2013 after Crutchlow raced to a career best second place in Le Mans last month with a broken bone in his right leg. Today was no exception, with Smith showing bravery and determination above and beyond the call of duty after he suffered a nasty hand injury in a high-speed practice fall yesterday afternoon. Smith had already rode through the pain barrier to earn a place in QP2, and despite constant pain and discomfort coming from a badly damaged little finger on his left hand, a lap of 1.48.706 secured the 22-year-old a hard earned but richly deserved 11th spot on the grid.
Cal Crutchlow 4th, Time 1’47.632 – 7 laps
“That was certainly another eventful qualifying session and after crashing out I can’t complain too much to finish fourth and be only 0.004s away from the front row. Luckily I could make it back to the paddock pretty quickly and get out on the second bike and to be on the second row is a good result given what happened. I have been struggling all weekend with the bike to be honest. And although this is my third year at this track, I still don’t feel so comfortable, so to be near the front and not running a bad pace gives me confidence for the race. I need to improve in the first sector and that was my biggest issue yesterday, so we have work to do. It is going to be a long and tough race and we need to make the bike work better. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing an awesome job to help me find the best setting and hopefully I can be fighting for the podium again tomorrow like I was in Le Mans.”
Bradley Smith 11th, Time 1.48.706 – 5 laps
“First of all I was just happy that I was able to ride today after the big crash in practice yesterday. My left hand is not in the best condition but the Clinica Mobile staff did an incredible job working on my finger and my wrist. Sometimes there were four people working on me at the same time, so I owe a huge thanks to all of them for helping me to be out on track today. Considering this whole situation I really have to be happy to have made my way to QP2, even if 11th is a little bit disappointing. But I preferred to save my energy for tomorrow’s race, which will probably be very demanding from a physical point of view, instead of risking too much for a better lap time this afternoon. I’m also very pleased with the set-up of the bike and we just need to make a couple of small changes for the warm up, but all things considered we should be proud of what we achieved given my physical condition. Now I will just try to get as much rest as possible for tomorrow as I want to collect a decent number of points for the Championship and hopefully battle for another top 10.”
2013 MotoGP Italy
1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’47.157
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’47.226
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’47.628
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’47.632
5 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’47.737
6 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’47.763
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’47.872
8 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’48.006
9 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’48.355
10 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’48.564
11 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’48.706
12 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’49.265
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’49.266
14 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’49.847
15 Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter ITA 1’50.518
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2012)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 2-6-2013)
Last Years Winner: