Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has taken second on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon after an intense 15 minute battle at the Motorland circuit this afternoon. The defending world champion was the first rider to set a time this afternoon, putting down a 1’48.241 to set the early pace at the front. He went on to improve with a 1’48.201 before relinquishing the top spot to Stefan Bradl with nine minutes remaining and returning to the pits for a fresh rear qualifying tyre. He was back out on track with just over five minutes remaining and became one of the key protagonists in an incredible fight for pole that saw multiple riders firing into the red as the lap times dropped into the 1’47s. Provisional pole was taken again then lost in the last seconds by just 0.010 seconds to rival Marc Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best qualifying experience of the year this afternoon, taking fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, just 0.158 seconds from pole position. The nine-time world champion waited in the pits for a minute at the start of the session, allowing the traffic of riders to leave before entering a relatively empty track space to focus on a lap time. He immediately fired off a 1’48.415 before improving again with a 1’48.366. Rossi then returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was back out again with five minutes remaining. The improvements continued as he began to threaten for provisional pole with red splits, dropping to a final time of 1’47.962 to take fourth on the grid, just 0.005 seconds behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
2nd | 1’47.814 | 8 Laps
“I knew I made a really good lap and I hoped to be in first position but I knew the other riders would be very close or in front of me. Finally for ten tenths of a second I lost it. I tried my best but I made a mistake in the first corner and lost one or two tenths so lost pole position. One thing is to make one fast lap, another is to make fast laps for the whole race. In the last practice before qualifying we found something extra for pace so we are stronger in one lap and also for the pace for the race. If the race remains in dry conditions it will be a good race.”
4th | 1’47.962 | 8 Laps
“I have a good feeling and I’ve improved my pace a lot and braking ability also. We have also improved the rear grip over long distance. I’m so happy because it was a great qualifying for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The level was very high and we were just one tenth from pole position, so we are all together. We have to see what the conditions are tomorrow; for sure today they helped us. With a few less degrees we are more competitive with the Yamaha. My pace is very similar to Jorge and Marquez and Pedrosa but we know that they are very fast so to try and stay with them I have to improve again tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Qualifying again in P2. It was much tighter than the last two races which is important. Normally this is not our favourite track, but it looks like we found something here today. The race pace will be slower than today but we’ve improved a lot this afternoon. We are thinking about tomorrow now because the race distance is long.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today went pretty well even if we lost an important session this morning due to the track conditions. We have been able to make a big improvement so we are very close. We can start tomorrow with Jorge in front row and Valentino in second which is important. We still have a couple of things to adjust but we are positive. Looking at what we have done from yesterday to today, I think we are able to make something better for tomorrow morning and we will be ready for the race.”
Crutchlow and Smith confident for Motorland Aragon race
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith head into tomorrow’s Gran Premio IVECO de Aragon confident they can secure a double top 10 finish in what promises to be an exciting 23-lap MotoGP battle.
A fastest lap of 1.48.653 in QP2 this afternoon will see Crutchlow start from seventh position on the grid, the British rider unfortunately unable to continue an excellent qualifying record in 2013 that had seen him qualify inside the top five in 13 previous attempts this season.
The 27-year-old’s quickest lap still ensured he was the fastest rider that didn’t attend a test session at the Motorland Aragon track back in June and he remains optimistic that a 10th top six finish of an outstanding season is well within his grasp.
Teammate Bradley Smith enjoyed a superb second day at the 14th round of the World Championship campaign. Overnight rain left the track littered with damp patches this morning and prevented Smith from trying to climb into the top 10 at the end of FP3 to move immediately into QP2.
The 22-year-old dominated QP1 with a best time of 1.49.724 and he then shaved off almost a second in the second 15-minute session to secure a grid position just one place behind Crutchlow in eighth.
His personal best time of 1.48.854 was just over a second off pole position and a fraction outside of 0.2s of the more experienced Crutchlow, with Smith emphatically proving his 13th position yesterday did not accurately show his true potential.
With tweaks to his riding style paying off immediately today, Smith is now full of confidence that he can battle for a ninth top 10 finish of an impressive rookie premier class campaign.
7th 1.48.653 – 8 laps :
“I can’t be happy to have missed out on a top six grid position for the first time this season. Qualifying just didn’t go according to plan and I feel we picked the wrong bike. We had a choice of two different settings and unfortunately we chose the wrong one. And on the three laps where I was really pushing for a time I didn’t nail any of them. I made a small mistake on each lap and that is the reason why I am only seventh on the grid, which is a bit disappointing because I was proud of the fact that I’d qualified in the top five in every race before this weekend. A good start is going to be crucial to try and go with the leading group but coming from seventh means I am expecting a very difficult race.”
8th 1.48.854 – 8 laps :
“The last two races have been pretty dismal, so it is great for me to be able to turn it around this weekend. I said yesterday that I didn’t feel 13th was a true reflection of my potential and thankfully I was able to show that was the case today. The bike felt great and I have to say a massive thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. We had a long meeting last night and there were a lot of positive things that came out of it. I was able to change my riding style like they suggested and I got more feeling from the bike and the lap time was a big step from yesterday. Eighth is the position where I expect to be given the competitiveness of the package I am on. Today I got the good feeling back with the bike that I had in Brno and now I am really excited for the race. Tyre life will be the key tomorrow but hopefully I can race in front of the bikes of Dovizioso and Hayden and not behind them.”
2013 MotoGP Spain
Motorland Aragon 28/09/2013
1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’47.804
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’47.814
3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’47.957
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’47.962
5 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’48.128
6 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’48.302
7 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’48.653
8 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’48.854
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’49.219
10 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’49.348
11 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’49.428
12 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’50.094
13 Yonny Hernandez ART COL 1’50.685
14 Hiroshi Aoyama FTR JPN 1’50.995
15 Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter ITA 1’51.030
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Marc Marquez, 29-9-2013)
Last Years Winner: