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The Battle Continues in Argentina Qualifying

Yamaha MotoGP Qualifying

Movistar Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on track today in Argentina in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix de la República Argentina. The duo enjoyed the best weather conditions yet of the weekend with sunshine and a dry track, Lorenzo taking fifth on the second row and teammate Rossi taking eighth on the third.

Mallorcan double premier class champion Lorenzo was as usual the first man on track and quick to break under the 39s with a first hot lap of 1’38.485, securing provisional second in the first flurry of activity. Unable to improve on the time he returned to the pits for fresh rubber before hitting the track again with just under seven minutes remaining. The second stint proved challenging and he was unable to better the first hot lap, settling for the second row start tomorrow.

Teammate Rossi‘s first flying lap put him into eighth in the standings with a 1’39.631. He then picked up the pace a little, dropping half a second to follow up with a 1’39.116, moving briefly to fifth before a flurry of competitor laps dropped him to sixth. He returned to the pits for a new rear and was back out with six minutes left on the clock. A last minute push was enough to break under the 39s and deliver a 1’38.890 for the third row.

Jorge Lorenzo

5th / 1’38.485 / 8 laps

“The pace was good at the beginning but it drops on the rear tyre as it wears. In qualifying my first lap was very good but the second one I made too many mistakes and I couldn’t improve the time. It’s a pity because without any mistakes I could be in second place. That’s racing; sometimes you don’t get the perfect lap. We will probably go for the harder rear tyre but we still have to decide on the front for tomorrow’s race.”
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Valentino Rossi

8th / 1’38.890 / 8 laps

“I am very upset for the qualifying because I feel I could do better. Our strategy was not perfect, we arrived in traffic and unfortunately it was not possible to improve. On the other side, with the hard tyres the bike works well and I have a good pace, that is most important for the race. We have to work in some places as we still have some issues to solve, we will try to improve and do the best we can in the race. The normal tyre is too soft so I will probably use the extra hard rear for the race.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“The qualifying didn’t go exactly as we expected. Overall we are satisfied as we improved step by step from the first practice sessions to today where in FP4 the pace was really good, so for the race we are still confident. We will definitely make another step for tomorrow’s warm up and we will be ready to race. The tyre choice has been made so we are now focused on the fine-tuning. Both Jorge and Vale have been consistently fast, in FP4 Vale did his best lap at the end and showed he can be fast on used tyres. A double podium is definitely realistic goal for us.”

Smith to challenge Argentinian GP from 10th on the grid

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will launch from the head of the fourth row of the grid for the Argentina Grand Prix at the fast flowing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo. After finishing this morning’s free practice 3 in 13th, which saw the British rider qualify for QP1, the 23 year old concentrated on assessing different setup options in FP4 as he completed the session in 12th position. With the sun shining down on the circuit for the crucial qualifying sessions, Smith shot to the top of the heap with an impressive lap of 1’38.956 during QP1. This time permitted the Briton to progress through to the final 15 minute shootout. Smith powered onwards as he sought a top grid position and set his personal best on the 6th lap with a 1’39.197 which confirmed his starting position of 10th tomorrow. The young British star remains confident for tomorrow’s race where he will intend to once again challenge for the position of the leading satellite bike in the premier class.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro endured a tricky qualifying campaign to post a lap time of 1’39.808, leaving him in 18th position on the grid for tomorrow’s 25 lap dash. The young Spaniard began the day by finishing the FP3 session in 11th place but just 0.014 of a second behind the final Q2 position which meant he had to partake in qualifying 1. Here, the 2014 rookie of the year executed a fully determined effort on the challenging circuit, yet still wasn’t able to lower his lap time enough to participate in qualifying session 2. Now, the 23 year old Spaniard looks ahead to tomorrow where he will aim to undertake a strong start and then climb through the field to a top ten position

Bradley Smith

10th / 1’39.197 / 8 Laps

“Obviously, it was not ideal to go through QP1 again today, but I managed to post a really good lap time that allowed me to get into qualifying 2. Unfortunately, there was only one compound of my favoured front tyre left which I decided to keep for the race tomorrow and so I had to run with a used one in qualifying 2. As a result, I couldn’t push as hard as before but nevertheless, we did an ok job considering that the tyre had already covered a full race distance in the end. Perhaps we could have been a position or two higher, but 10th is acceptable and especially as it has been quite a tricky weekend so far. Now, we will focus even more on the race pace as this is vital in terms of success tomorrow. Having a competitive bike for 25 laps is highly significant as there is a big tyre drop here and therefore, there is potentially a lot of time to gain. So this is what we will focus on tomorrow in the warm up. The team did a great job and I must say thanks to them as they turned my bike around and adjusted it to make me feel more comfortable on this track. We need to continue working a little bit more, but we are starting to find the right direction to head towards. This may be a bit late in the race weekend, but Sunday is where everything matters.”

Pol Espargaro

18th / 1’39.808 / 8 Laps

“It goes without saying that I am far from satisfied with how things went today. We concentrated a lot on our race rhythm and tried both compounds of tyre in the initial two free practice sessions plus we completed many laps with the extra hard one and I’m convinced that my pace is pretty good. It was a pity that we couldn’t go straight through to QP2 and that we missed it by just 0.014 of a second. Also, we were close to the factory bikes who were just three tenths away. Nevertheless, I was still confident as we have known since the beginning of the season that this type of situation could happen during the year as the level is really similar and the manufacturers who are allowed to use the softer tyres have improved their bikes a lot. However, unfortunately the session was a disaster. We need to analyse what exactly happened as when I went out for my second run, which was the one where I planned to do a time attack, I realised that it was impossible to ride fast with the bike like this. To be honest, I do not know what was wrong, but I couldn’t even come close to setting my fastest time of the weekend. To kick off the race from 18th is not good news at all and I will need a lot of patience plus a well thought out plan to make up the positions. It will be difficult for sure but until we started this session, my feelings here were positive. Now I need to be confident that we can turn the weekend around tomorrow.”

Difficult qualifying for the team Athinà Forward Racing in Termas de Rio Hondo

It was an uphill qualifying for the riders of the team Athinà Forward Racing on the track of Termas de Rio Hondo this week, which is hosting the Grand Prix of Argentina. Stefan Bradl will start tomorrow in 16th place on the grid while Loris Baz will start from the 22nd place.

Bradl is satisfied with the improvements made to the bike during the day, even if he is still struggling to find the right feeling with the tires. The German has posted a personal best of 1’39.734, which earned him third place among the Open just a few tenths from his rivals.

Loris Baz had also some lack of confidence with the tires; he set his personal best of 1’39.972. The Frenchman is getting closer to the top of the Open class and will start tomorrow aiming the first points of the season.

Stefan Bradl

16th / 1’39.734 / 8 laps

“Compared to yesterday the bike is much better, we made a significant step forward. I’m losing confidence with the tires after the first few laps and that held me back in qualifying. We’re ready for tomorrow, we are all very close and I can fight for the head of the Open class, it will be important to stay close to those in front. Everything is possible. We keep to analyzing the data for the race.”

Loris Baz

22nd / 1’39.972 / 8 laps

“I can not tell, I am satisfied for the position I’m in but we made a really big step forward compared to yesterday. We tried new solutions for the setting and the feeling improved. Unfortunately the temperature rose just before the session and the conditions have changed making my learning process harder. Overall I posted a good time, a few tenths separate me from the first, but we are all very close and I can do well in the race. Sunday will be a tough for the tires but we have to fight to stay close to the group of those in front.”

2015 MotoGP Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo 18/04/2015

1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’37.802
2 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’38.316
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’38.467
4 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’38.485
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’38.485
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’38.520
7 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 1’38.786
8 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’38.890
9 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’39.187
10 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’39.197
11 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’39.380
12 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’40.526
13 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’39.405
14 Eugene Laverty Honda GBR 1’39.434
15 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’39.715
16 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’39.734
18 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’39.808
22 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’39.972

Circuit Length:
4806

Temp:
21

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’37.683
(Marc Marquez, 27-4-2014)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez