Despite a changeable forecast for this afternoon’s qualifying session it held dry for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo to secure third place on the grid for tomorrow’s Indianapolis Grand Prix. Teammate Valentino Rossi made a big improvement from practice, dropping into the low 1’32’s to take fifth.
Lorenzo started the 15-minute qualifying session from the back, leaving the pit lane last to be ensured of a clear path for his first flying laps. He quickly found his pace and led the qualifying session when he set his first hot lap of 1’32.177 seconds with ten minutes to go. Lorenzo came into the pits with seven minutes remaining for fresh rubber before returning to the track for a last five-minute dash. With less than a minute on the clock the Spaniard achieved a personal best time of 1’31.869 seconds, leaving him third, just a quarter of a second from pole man Marc Marquez. He had one lap left to improve his time, but was forced to slow his pace due to a crash by Bradley Smith and will start tomorrow’s race from the first row of the grid.
Teammate Rossi left the pits early for his first outing. With eight minutes to go the nine-time world champion put in a time of 1’32.692 seconds, moving him up to eighth position, before moving back one place as the pace quickened. The nine-time world champion then came in for a fresh set of tyres with seven minutes left and started his second outing on track five minutes before the end of the session. With 10 seconds to go he set a 1’32.160 on his eighth and final lap, moving him up to fourth in the standings until he was surpassed by Alex Espargarò. His time puts him on the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s race, just 0.541 seconds from the front.
3rd / 1’31.869 / 8 laps
“We tried a new setting during Free Practice 4 with the hard tyre but it wasn’t good. We have to understand what the problem was; if the tyre wasn’t right or if the setting wasn’t good. With the soft tyre the bike was working quite well and when we tried the hard tyre yesterday it was working really good. Tomorrow in the warm-up we will see if the feeling is ok with the hard tyre. During the qualifying I tried to put in a very good lap time. After the first try I was very satisfied with the lap. The second time I wanted to improve a little bit more but I came across so many riders waiting for a tow that I couldn’t ride like I did before. I went just two tenths of a second faster, but it was enough to give me this first row, which is a good position.”
5th / 1’32.160 / 8 laps
“I’m quite happy. It was possible to do a little better, especially because I was good this afternoon. During Free Practice 4 I was consistently fast, but starting from the top five is ok for the race. It would have been better to start from the first row, but it’s also ok from the top five. I’m quite happy because I’m riding the bike well. I have a good pace and we improved the setting a lot, but the rear tyre choice will be crucial. The soft and hard options are very similar, so it will be a very important decision for tomorrow’s race. Here, on the new tarmac, the track changes a lot with every practice session. It now looks like the softer tyre is becoming better while yesterday it was impossible to use, but the two options are very similar.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“First and second row are good positions to be in for tomorrow’s race. Jorge was fast from the start and definitely on good form. Vale found some clear space for a good lap on his second outing so made a big jump up to the second row which was great. We still have some room to improve and we still need to decide on tyres so we’ll continue our work tonight and see what we can do for warm up tomorrow morning. We’ve worked hard this weekend to find a good pace for both Vale and Jorge so with a good start they can be competitive and fight at the front.”
Espargaro on second row for Indy battle tomorrow
Pol Espargaro will start the tenth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship from the second row of the grid after guiding his Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP bike to sixth position during today’s qualifying. The young Spanish rider kicked off proceedings in a highly notable manner this morning by clinching fifth with a lap time of 1’32.797, only 0.275 from the top of the timesheet which saw him glide straight through to qualifying practice 2. Before this he expertly completed the FP4 session in second position. The 23 year old rider furthered his pace progression as he powered onwards in Q2 to set a best time of 1’32.243 on his sixth lap which resulted in being only 0.374 from the final front row and the best Yamaha position of Jorge Lorenzo. His qualifying result leaves Espargaro confident and prepared to complete a further points scoring rout tomorrow to build upon his hard fought seventh position in the World Championship standings in his debut season in the premier class.
On the other side of the garage, Britain’s Bradley Smith completed an effective qualifying campaign, despite falling on the final lap in qualifying practice 2 to place his Yamaha YZR-M1 on third row for tomorrow’s 27 lap sprint around the world famous Indianapolis circuit. Having began yesterday’s opening day of practice positively by clinching second in the first session, Smith continued the forward momentum today in FP3 to post a best time of 1’33.202, seizing eighth position and allowing him to pass straight through to the final fifteen minute qualifying shootout. This afternoon the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider posted a best time of 1’32.343 deep into the session and only two tenths from fourth place, yet unfortunately fell on his final lap. Smith again wounded his previously injured finger, but will still be able to compete tomorrow. His time was strong enough to retain ninth and he will now aim to undertake a trademark forward start before undertaking a spirited performance to achieve a competitive result tomorrow.
6th / 1’32.243 / 8 laps
“Overall, I am quite satisfied with the second row as qualifying result today and I feel really confident for the race tomorrow. There are two open class bikes in front and I am convinced that I have a better race pace so with a strong start off the grid, we should be able to overhaul them and get into the top five which is what I am aiming for. As for tyres, we still haven’t made a full decision on what we will use for the race. The softer compound has really good grip but as the asphalt is aggressive here it may not last the full race distance. Therefore, we will evaluate the situation in the warm up tomorrow morning and make our decision then. Despite this, I am confident and happy with both compounds of tyres and really looking forward to the race where I hope to continue my strong run of results here.”
9th / 1’32.343 / 7 laps
“It goes without saying that a fall is never the most ideal way to complete the session, but fortunately I am all ok for tomorrow’s race and have only reopened my finger. The cause of the fall was because I was asking a little too much of the rear tyre as it would have lasted a maximum of almost two laps, but I tried to do three. The time itself was acceptable and I am happy to be on the third row, even though I know I could have been faster. The team and I undertook some really positive work during FP4 to prepare ourselves for the race where I used the hard tyre which certainly felt comfortable. We have made no decision on the choice of compound for tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see how the grip levels are in warm up before tactfully deciding. Either way, I am happy with either choice of tyre as well as how the Yamaha feels and so am looking forward to getting a strong start plus having a positive race from the third row.”
Impressive 4th position for Espargaro at the Brickyard
NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro impressed again scoring a second row position with 4th place. It was also a positive qualifying session for team mate Colin Edwards, who finished 15th in front of his home crowd and will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth row. The Texas Tornado celebrated the US round with a special camouflage leather and helmet as a tribute to the American troops.
Wasting no time, Espargaro put in a very good time in his first flying lap and he further improved at the end of the session with an impressive 1’32.113. Once again the Spaniard was the fastest open class bike of the qualifying session.
Team mate Colin Edwards was also quiet satisfied with his lap time of 1’33.625 that ensured him the 15th position on the grid. After having struggled during the morning session, Colin was able to find a better set up in the afternoon and he is quite confident for tomorrow’s race.
4th / 1’32.113 / 7 laps
“I’m happy with today’s result. It has been a strange weekend. We did some chassis comparison and we worked a lot to improve the set up. It was important to start from one of the first two rows so I’m satisfied. Tomorrow it will be a tough race because, as we saw in the FP4, we are all very close so I expect a difficult race.”
15th / 1’33.625 / 7 laps
“I’m reasonably happy with this qualifying. This morning we had too much weight on the rear so during FP4 we made some adjustments and the feeling improved a bit. I look forward to tomorrow’s race. The support of the crowd is amazing. I saw a lot of Texas flags along the track and tomorrow I will give my best to thank the fans for this great support.”
2014 MotoGP United States
1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’31.619
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’31.844
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’31.869
4 Aleix Espargaro Forward Yamaha ESP 1’32.113
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’32.160
6 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’32.243
7 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’32.254
8 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’32.331
9 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’32.343
10 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’32.514
11 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’32.714
12 Cal Crutchlow Ducati GBR 1’32.794
13 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’33.166
14 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’33.294
15 Colin Edwards Forward Yamaha USA 1’33.625
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Marc Marquez, 18-8-2013)
Last Years Winner: