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Lorenzo Charges to Third in Catalunya Qualifying

Jorge Lorenzo 061315

This afternoon Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo claimed third place on the grid for tomorrow’s GP Monster Energy de Catalunya following a thrilling qualifying session that saw teammate Valentino Rossi take seventh.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo delighted his home fans at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this afternoon by claiming a front row start for tomorrow’s GP Monster Energy de Catalunya, taking third on the grid.

With all twelve riders in Q2 within a second of each other, teammate Valentino Rossi pushed hard and made his move at the last moment. He will start tomorrow’s race from seventh position, two rows behind his teammate.

Eager to impress his home crowd, Lorenzo was the first to leave pit lane for the 15 minute qualifying heat. When he hit the track he shot straight to the top of the time sheets with his first flying lap of 1’41.008 and immediately returned to the pits for his first stop.

With nine minutes left on the clock he came out on his second bike, ready for another time attack. Having been pushed down to third, the local hero fought back with a perfect 1’40.646 lap for provisional pole position.

With a little less than four minutes on the clock he quickly headed back to the box to switch back to his first bike for a final push. Having dropped two places in the mean time, he gave it his all, but was unable to improve his time and remained third, 0.100s from pole.

On a one-stop strategy, teammate Rossi left his attack to the very end of the qualifying session. Riding in the midst of the twelve riders on track, the nine-time World Champion found some clear track space. His first flying lap moved him to seventh, but he fell back two places as all the riders clocked their times.

Rossi pushed hard on his second flying lap with a 1’41.257, temporarily reclaiming seventh spot before making his way back to pit lane for a fresh set of tyres with less than seven minutes of the session remaining.

Two minutes later he headed out on his second stint. Unable to improve with his third flying lap, he picked up the pace in a last effort to better his starting position. The flag signaling the end of the session had already come out when Rossi was on a final clear run, delivering a 1’41.058. This moved him up from ninth to seventh, 0.512s from pole, to take the first slot on the third starting row.

Jorge Lorenzo

3rd / 1’40.646 / 8 laps

“We couldn’t get the pole position today, by just a little. We had three tyres saved for qualifying but unfortunately on my last try I made a mistake in turn three, I went too fast and a bit wide. In this corner, when you arrive wide you get a bounce and the bike becomes unstable. I had to put the bike up straight a little bit and lost three-tenths there. It was a pity, because it was a good lap on the rest of the track, but I’m very happy about my lap, because with this bike it’s not easy to ride a 1’40,6 in a single hot lap. We finish in front of our main competitors, who are always very quick in the one-lap shoot out. I’m very happy to be on the first row, for tomorrow that’s the important thing, and I think we have a good pace for the race. This morning I rode 1’41s for ten laps, but tomorrow at two o’clock it will be more difficult to be on this pace. I hope to have a similar, or just a little bit slower, pace as I had this morning.”

Valentino Rossi

7th / 1’41.058 / 7 laps

“I’m quite satisfied with the set-up and the turn of events of today. Yesterday we found a good balance for the last exit and we have a good setting, so I feel confident with the bike and today was not so bad. I have a good pace with a used tyre and for tomorrow that will be very important. I expect we will have to make some improvement for tomorrow, we have some work to do in the warm up and apply some small modifications. For the race, as always it will be important to make a good start and stay within the top positions in the first laps. After that I will try to understand the pace for the second half of the race when the tyres start to slide a bit.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“In general it has been a positive day for us. Jorge will start from the first row and is the first rider with a medium tyre. He has been fast and consisted in all the sessions, which is a really good sign for us. Vale has improved a lot compared to yesterday and feels well on the bike. He’ll start from the third row, but we know what he’s capable of. We will work throughout the night to go over the information and data that we collected today. We will make some last minor adjustments for the warm up, but we are up for the challenge tomorrow. The race is going to be long and tough but so far we have done a good job and this gives us a boost in confidence.”

Smith to challenge Catalunya contest from 8th on the grid

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will start the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from the third row on the grid after speeding to 8th place in this afternoon’s qualifying practice 2. The 24 year old rider began the day by finishing the morning FP3 session in 10th place which enabled him to progress straight through to the final 15 minute shootout. Here, Smith dropped the hammer straight away and after undertaking a total of 7 laps around the Catalunya circuit, he met the chequered flag with a strong time of 1’41.068. This time was only half a second back from the pole position lap plus, the British rider set the fastest Yamaha speed with 339.9 km/h. Tomorrow he will look to launch off the grid and battle right behind the leading factory MotoGP bikes aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro will begin his home Grand Prix from 11th on the grid after a tightly contested qualifying battle at Catalunya in which the top 16 riders were covered by a second. The young Spaniard commenced the day with a notable ride to 5th in the morning practice and when the all important qualifying session began in the afternoon, he leapt into action as he gunned for a top starting position in front of his home crowd. On his 6th lap he posted a time of 1’41.385 he attempted to improve further on the next lap, yet he unfortunately fell at the first corner. Nevertheless, Espargaro’s time was three tenths of a second quicker than his qualifying time from last year and when the lights go out tomorrow he will intend to climb through the pack to join the battle for the leading satellite bike position.

Bradley Smith

8th / 1’41.068 / 7 laps

“I’m happy with my qualifying position after the tricky weekend we have had so far. We have tried a lot of different solutions to solve the issues that we had yesterday but the changes that we expected to help, didn’t and the choices that we gambled with were the ones that finally worked. Therefore we found something for the qualifying which also meant that we were able to amend the rear grip issue and so I could set a good lap time. I’m pleased with 8th as I am on the third row, right next to Valentino and in front of Cal which is a solid place to begin the fight from. Furthermore, I am also excited to try the new setting in tomorrow’s warm up as I am keen to see how quick our pace is. For sure, it will be a long and challenging race but I am positive and now we just need to work on putting a good 25 laps together. It’s very easy to make a mistake at this track and we’ve seen a few riders lose the front so we need to study as much data as we can in order to prepare for it. Nevertheless, I am confident and ready for the battle tomorrow where I will be aiming to fight inside the top six again.”

Pol Espargaro

11th / 1’41.385 / 6 laps

“Today was a day of two stories for me. In this morning’s free practice session I felt fine, I could ride comfortably and the setup of the bike was very positive after the small changes that we made yesterday. However, then our luck changed. The temperature increased quite sharply which caused the grip levels to drop and as a result we could not ride at the pace or rhythm that we wanted to. We need to take a look at the data in order to understand what happened and how we can fix this for the race tomorrow because even though the starting positions is not great, if we don’t fix this issue the race will be very tricky. In addition, we had some more bad luck as we got a defected rear tyre which has happened already before this year. This effectively caused me to lose my first set of laps but I remained out on track as I always tend to think that the second run will be better and there is a good chance of being able to improve. When I went in and changed the tyre, my feeling on the bike improved a lot and I scored my best time but I still lacked a bit of confidence after the first few laps. Then I pushed a bit too hard because the session was drawing to a close, hit a bump and crashed. This was a real shame as I could have cut another two or three tenths of a second and clinched a start on the row in front. However, this grid position means that I need to undertake a strong start and then battle from there. We will fight and do our best but it will be a challenging race.”

Bradl second Open bike in Montmeló qualifying

The riders of the Athinà Forward Racing team will start tomorrow from 15th and 19th place on the grid aiming to win the Open class once again.

Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz ended the qualifying session today with a personal best of 1’42.053 and 1’42.592, just half a tenth short of the head of the Open.

The German battled with Barbera throughout the sessions. As his competitor took the pole of the open category a few seconds before the checkered flag, Bradl will start from the fifth row. His goal is to collect important points for the championship.

Loris Baz was held back by chattering problems and will start from the the seventh row. The Frenchman is targeting the top 15 again for tomorrow.

Stefan Bradl

15th / 1’42.053 / 7 laps

“I am pleased with what has been done today. We managed to make a good step forward compared to yesterday and I fought until the end for Open class pole. I’m positive for tomorrow: I was lapping alone for most of the time in qualifying and this is a great starting point for the race. Our target is to finally reach the checkered flag and get some points.”

Loris Baz

19th / 1’42.592 / 7 laps

“So far we have done a good job but in qualifying I suffered a lot of tyres chattering and I was not able to push hard. We have to analyse the data and find a solution for the warm up to improve the pace for the race.”

2015 MotoGP Spain

Catalunya 13/06/2015

1 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’40.546
2 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’40.629
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’40.646
4 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’40.754
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’40.907
6 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’40.928
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’41.058
8 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’41.068
9 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’41.195
10 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’41.333
11 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’41.385
12 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’41.524
13 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’42.003
14 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’42.029
15 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’42.053
19 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’42.592

Circuit Length:
4727

Weather:
Dry

Lap Record:
1’42.358
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2008)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’40.546
(Aleix Espargaro, 14-6-2015)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez