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First and Fourth Row for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP after Eventful German Qualifying

Movistar Yamaha_071616

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi showed superb speed in the second qualifying session today at the Sachsenring circuit, securing third place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo successfully came through Q1 despite a late crash. He was on a hot lap in the second 15-minute qualifying heat when another fall prohibited him from setting a fast time. Unable to rejoin the session, he settled for eleventh on the grid for tomorrow’s GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

In Q2 Rossi waited for the first group of riders to get out on track before he left pit lane. He consistently upped his speed to hold third place after three flying laps before returning to the pits with less than seven minutes on the clock.

Rossi was eager to improve his time on his second stint, but got stuck in traffic, which prevented him from bettering his time and placement in the rankings. However, thanks to his solid third hot lap, a 1’21.666s, he held his spot on the first row of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Lorenzo had a relatively easy pass through Q1 in order to promote to Q2. He immediately moved up to second on his first flying lap, but when the pace picked up he was pushed back to third. That didn’t last long, however, as on a next fast lap the current World Champion set a 1’21.737s for first place and held on to it for most of the session. When he was relegated to second place, the Factory Yamaha rider headed out to put the hammer down once more. Despite suffering an unlucky fall at the end of the session, he was through to Q2.

The Mallorcan had a late start to the second qualification session on his second bike in order to get a flying lap in without any traffic. With a little more than eleven minutes to go he joined the time attack and showed his consistency as he rode a set of laps in the 1.22’s and clocked a 1’22.088s for seventh place.

With more than four and a half minutes left of the session he came in for a short pit stop before having another go at putting his name at the top of the leader board. However, a few minutes later drama struck once more when he suffered a second small crash. The rider was unhurt, but was unable to rejoin the session and ultimately finished eleventh in the qualifying time sheets.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“Valentino did a good job today. As I’ve said before, the Sachsenring circuit is not easy for us, but Vale and his team worked in the right direction in today’s Free Practice sessions and we saw the results during Q2. It was a pity that he got stuck in traffic, because he could have set an even faster time, but regardless, a front row start is a really good position for the race, especially because Sachsenring is a difficult track to overtake at. Jorge was very unlucky today to suffer two more crashes. Fortunately neither of them had serious consequences. We are going to have a long night to get his bikes ready for tomorrow and will try to make another step forward for the Warm Up. The weather forecast for tomorrow is not looking too good, which will likely play a big part in what we expect will be a challenging race.”

Valentino Rossi
3rd / 1’21.666 / 9 laps

“I was lucky to stay on the first row, because unfortunately with the second tyre I got stuck in traffic and I feel that I could have done two or three-tenths better because I did a 1’21.6 on the first tyre. I feel good on the bike. We have made a small modification since the Free Practice sessions and I was faster, so it’s a shame I wasn’t able to take second place, but third is OK.”

Jorge Lorenzo
11th / 1’22.088 / 5 laps

“During the second crash I entered the corner not breaking so hard or deep, but on the previous lap I didn’t warm up my tyres enough. I was completely straight and not breaking very strongly when I lost the front. Three mistakes on my part are not normal for me, but this weekend it happened. I’m disappointed about the crashes and the position, but ultimately I could see a big improvement. During every practice session we improved the bike and finally we were very competitive with the new tyre, especially in Q1. On the lap that I crashed I maybe could have done a 1’21.5 or 1’21.4. After I crashed we made another modification for Q2 but I didn’t have enough new tyres, I only had one more, so we exited with a nine-laps old tyre and I was impressed about the lap time, a 1’22.0, which was good. I imagined that if I put on a new tyre I could be on the first or second row, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish the lap. Eleventh on the grid is a bad position, but that’s where I finished.”

Espargaro to launch from 5th after strong qualifying

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro will lunge forward from the middle of the second row of the grid after delivering a spirited qualifying performance today in Germany. The young Spaniard started the day by notably finishing FP3 in 5th after setting a rapid time on his penultimate lap out of 23, which was under a tenth of a second from third. The result confirmed his appearance in the all-important Q2 session and when it began, Espargaro continued his form. By the time the chequered flag fell, he had produced a personal best that saw him only 0.072 from the front row and tomorrow the 25-year-old will seek to undertake a rocket start and then win the top independent rider battle.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith pulled off a determined showing in Saxony today and will begin his quest to complete the first part of the year with a strong finish from 14th on the grid. This morning, Smith got straight to work and built up his speed but in the final moments of the practice, he was running at a hot pace, which was only 0.3 from the top time, but he unfortunately made a mistake in the last sector. This cancelled his lap, meaning that he had to compete in Q1. Here, the Briton gave his all in what was an ultra competitive 15-minute shootout, but despite his best efforts, he just missed out on the qualifying 2 session and will commence the 30-lap sprint from the 5th row.

Pol Espargaro
5th / 1’21.738 / 7 laps

“Qualifying today went really well and the result is close to our season’s best, plus it definitely helps to start from the second row at this track, because it’s not easy to overtake at the Sachsenring due to it being so tight. Therefore, this grid position hopefully gives us the chance to create a small gap to the pursuing satellite riders and my aim is to battle with the Ducati’s, which are strong here. Our pace today has been consistent and I feel quite comfortable on the bike, so I’m really looking forward to the race, even though it will be long and demanding. I aim to deliver a performance and score the top satellite position again to close what has been a positive opening half of the 2016 season. We will wait and see what happens with the weather, but I am ready and excited for the challenge.”

Bradley Smith
14th / 1’21.994 / 10 laps

“Unfortunately, today didn’t quite go to plan and even though I have made it a bit more challenging for myself by qualifying in 14th, I will do my absolute best in the race. At the end of FP3, I made a small mistake in the last sector, which cost me entrance into Q2. Looking back, we can see that we had the pace to do a good job in Qualifying 2, because, with the 1’21.9 lap time that I rode in QP1, I would have been just outside of the top ten. We all know that this year the class is super competitive and it’s vital to find every tenth possible, as this amount of time can equal three or four positions on the grid. Tomorrow we still need to work on the bike because, even though I’m feeling quite comfortable with the setup, we had a few small issues with the hotter conditions this afternoon. The team and I also need to improve our entry speed a bit more, and in the warm-up we will experiment with a few different settings so that we can have more confidence in that area. I feel content with riding the bike on a full fuel load and also when the tyres have completed race distance. Yet, it will be important to get a strong start from 14th because it’s tricky to pass at this track. We know that some riders will be unable to match their race pace with their qualifying performance and 30 laps is a long race, so I will push hard to regain some valuable positions and try not to make any mistakes.”