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Lorenzo Stuns with Perfect Pole in Spain

Yamaha Racing_110715

Qualifying

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo set today’s already hot qualifying session at Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo on fire, taking first place with a scorching 1’30,011s lap, a new circuit best lap record. Though team-mate Valentino Rossi will be starting tomorrow’s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana from the back of the grid, he put in a solid effort until a small crash ended his session, leaving him in twelfth place.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo left no confusion this afternoon about his intentions of winning this years’ MotoGP World Championship, setting a magnificent lap for pole position at the last qualifying session of the year. With no pressure to get a front start in qualifying, team-mate Valentino Rossi was steadily improving his pace throughout the session, but suffered a small crash at the final stages and ended the day having set the twelfth fastest time.

Fully focused on the task ahead, Lorenzo was calm and collected as he emerged from pit lane as the last rider to head out in the last 15-minute Q2 of the season. Once out on the relatively empty track, he stayed true to usual form and immediately dropped under the 1’31s mark with a 1’30.996s for provisional third position.

With a little less than nine minutes of the session remaining, he hurried back to the pits to start his second time attack a minute later. His next flying lap was a sensational 1’30,011s for pole position, enough to break the circuit best lap record, creating nearly half a second margin to his closest rival.

Lorenzo quickly headed back to box for a second stop, but neither he nor any of his competitors were able to come close to his superb lap time.

Team-mate Rossi took a moment at the start of the session before he mounted his Yamaha YZR-M1 and had his first attempt of setting a hot lap. The Doctor clocked a 1’32.840s on his first try and bettered his time to 1’31.471s in the second before returning to the pits for a fresh rear tyre.

Back on track with five minutes remaining, he used his third flying lap to warm up his tyres to be able to push to the maximum on the next lap. Having picked up the pace, the nine-time World Champion had set a new personal best time for the first two sectors, but a small slide down the track meant the end of his session.

Though he set the twelfth fastest time, Rossi will be starting the race from last place on the grid, having collected a total of four penalty points on his racing license.

Jorge Lorenzo
1st / 1’30.011 / 8 laps

“Today’s goal was to qualify on first row, but there was a lot of tension. I expected that Andrea Iannone’s bike with the soft tyre could steal the first row, so I put in the maximum effort at the track with the three tyres and that is what I did. I wasn’t very satisfied with the first one, 1’30.9s wasn’t the lap time I expected, but with the second one the bike worked perfectly with the grip, the braking, the corner speed and the acceleration. I rode better than on the previous lap and I got pole. It probably was my best lap in all my life and I’m very proud, but the important thing is to start from front row, make a good start tomorrow, don’t make any mistakes and avoid problems on the first laps and try to get the World Title. Today they didn’t give out points, the contest is tomorrow and it’s going to be a difficult, long and stressful race.”

Valentino Rossi
12th / 1’31.471 / 6 laps

“I’m OK, this is the most important thing. The day was not so bad, especially in the morning I was strong, but in the afternoon I suffered a bit more with the grip and I struggled a little bit more with a higher temperature. After, in qualifying, we didn’t have the pressure to try to set the best lap so we tried something else. Some modifications I didn’t like so I came back in and on my last lap it wasn’t so bad, my first sections were quite fast, but unfortunately after that I made a mistake and I crashed, but this doesn’t make a big difference for tomorrow because I will start last. We have to improve the grip to improve the race pace. If it’s cool, lower degrees can change a lot of things about the grip in comparison between a Yamaha and a competing bike. Maybe, if the temperature is a little bit less, I can go a bit faster. It will be very hard, the bad news for the race is that Jorge rode to pole position, because we hoped he wouldn’t start first, but fortunately we don’t have to think about that, it’s not our problem, I just have to recover as much as possible.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was an incredible pole lap! Jorge’s times have looked good all weekend, but I think he even surprised himself with the incredible performance he gave today. Valentino struggled a little bit with grip in the afternoon free practice. It was a pity he suffered a small crash, because he was on his way to setting a personal best lap. It will be a very unconventional race for us tomorrow with one rider starting from the front and one from the back of the grid, whilst both of them are in contention for the championship win. These last 30 laps will be decisive.”

Smith to charge from the second row at MotoGP season finale

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will battle from the second row of the grid after a spirited performance during qualifying today. The young British rider began his day with a run to 4th in FP3 which equalled 5th overall in the combined practice times and saw him pass directly through to qualifying 2. During the vital 15 minute session, Smith leapt into gear and produced a lap time of 1’31.012 that was only half a second from the front row. Tomorrow, he confidently seeks to seize a strong finish in order to clinch the leading satellite honours for the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will kick off the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana from the third row after a solid effort in qualifying. The Spaniard continued the positive momentum from yesterday by sealing 7th in FP3 and when the qualifying shootout started, he charged forward. Espargaro ultimately completed the session in 8th with a lap time which was a blink of an eye behind his teammate by just 0.068. The 24 year old will now intend to close the season with a notable result by finishing inside the top six in tomorrow’s race.

Bradley Smith
6th / 1’31.012 / 9 laps

“Obviously, I am very happy with my qualifying position for the last Grand Prix of the year. It was a really great performance by everyone involved and this was highlighted by the fact that we improved one and a half seconds from yesterday. As soon as we got going this morning, I felt much better with the bike and I was able to run consistently. In FP4 we tried three different options for tomorrow’s race so we have a good idea of which direction we need to head towards with the hotter conditions. At this circuit, especially in the morning, the track grip and bike performance is different compared to when we run in the afternoon. Anyway, for qualifying, I’m really happy with what we achieved as to be on the second row is important at such a tight and twisty track like this one. Furthermore, the lap times were close today and for sure, they will also be in tomorrow’s race. So all in all, I am pleased and the result in qualifying sets us up with a great chance to end the season in a positive way.”

Pol Espargaro
8th / 1’31.080 / 8 laps

“Overall, the result is not so bad, but I can’t hide my disappointment as our potential was much higher than the final grid position. I wasn’t able to put together an ideal lap as I made a few slight mistakes and there was also some traffic. I couldn’t make the most of the opportunity, which is a shame as I was just 0.163 back from 4th, which was definitely within reach today. Nevertheless, our race pace is very promising, even though it won’t be an easy task as it is really challenging to pass here due to the track layout. Still, we worked on the front tyre during FP4 and we have made the choice for the race, so despite the fact that we need a good start, I am still really confident for the last race of the 2015 season.”

Baz second Open in Valencia

Loris Baz will start tomorrow from 15th position on the grid aiming for the Open title in the last race of the 2015 season with Forward Racing at the Valencia circuit. His team-mate Toni Elias will start in 24th, ninth row of the grid.

Baz, after struggling in the first day of practice, tried some new solutions this morning and was able to find the right grip for qualifying. With a good 1’31.856 he snatched second position among the Open bikes just a whisker away from Barbera and will start from the 15th place on the grid. The Frenchman, currently second in the Championship, five points from the lead, is aiming for the class win.

Toni Elias had a more complicated qualifying session, with a time of 1’33.092 he will start from the 24th place. The Spaniard suffered the lack of confidence with the front but remains confident for the race. The target is not to lose contact with his direct opponents and get in the points-zone.

Loris Baz
16th / 1’31.856 / 6 laps

“I’m happy of what we achieved today: it was a positive qualifying and I’m close to the Open pole. I found more grip and was able to push. I am close to my opponents and I can do well in the race tomorrow.”

Toni Elias
25th / 1’33.092 / 8 laps

“I’m glad of what we have done so far this weekend: the pace is good and I am confident we can fight during the race tomorrow with the other Open. In qualifying I had little feeling with the front and I could not push as I wanted. The goal is to start well and keep close to the other Open bikes at the start of the race.”