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Lorenzo and Rossi Blaze to First and Second Row in Brno

Movistar Yamaha_082016
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo showed sensational speed at Automotodrom Brno today and secured second place on the grid for the Grand Prix Ceské Republiky. Teammate Valentino Rossi also put maximum effort into this afternoon’s qualifying session and will start tomorrow’s race from sixth place.

Lorenzo underlined how comfortable he is feeling with his YZR-M1 in FP3 and FP4, topping both time sheets, and entered the Q2 session feeling confident that he would be able to put in a hot lap.

The reigning World Champion was the last rider out of the pits in the 15-minute qualifying session to ensure a free track for his first stint. His initial flying lap of 1’54.959s, 0.667s quicker than the rest of the field, took him to provisional pole.

With more than seven minutes to go he came into the pits. Just a minute later Lorenzo was back on the track and had three laps to show his pace. Still three-tenths ahead of his closest competitor, the Mallorcan rode against his own time and found another tenth, setting a 1’54.849s to further extend his lead. However, he was unable to improve on his last laps and ultimately secured second place, 0.253s from pole, when his rivals made a late charge just before the flag went out.

Rossi took his time to leave pit lane as qualifying got underway, allowing the majority of the pack to depart before heading out. He put in a 1’56.093s to slot into fourth place before being pushed back to seventh place when the pace quickened. His second flying lap shaved a little off of his previous best time, delivering a 1’55.509s to hold provisional fourth on the second row.

The Doctor returned to the pits to switch from a hard front tyre to a soft option and with six minutes on the clock hit the track again to put the pressure on. However, the nine-time World Champion soon got stuck in traffic and was unable to better his time. He finished in sixth place, 0.913s from first.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was a very strong qualifying session from Jorge, he’s had an impressive pace all day and set some really great lap times during Q2. It’s unfortunate that Valentino got stuck in traffic at the end of the session while he was on a hot lap, because he could have been a contender for the front row. However, both riders are satisfied with their bikes. They have a good pace, even with the front hard tyre spec, so we are optimistic for tomorrow’s race. It’s a shame that the weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t looking good, I really hope it won’t influence the outcome of the race. Let’s hope for either a fully wet or a fully dry race.”

Jorge Lorenzo
2nd / 1’54.849 / 7 laps

“I probably pushed a bit too much, too hard and was late on braking so I had not enough corner speed to be fast on the second tyre. I think the second tyre performed a bit less than the first one, so ultimately I couldn’t be faster. We are happy with second place, especially because we have a good pace and a good set-up to keep up in the race.”

Valentino Rossi
6th / 1’55.509 / 7 laps

“It’s a shame for me because I have a better potential and could’ve arrived on the front row because my ideal time would have been the third one. I pushed a lot on the second tyre, because I knew I could improve by half a second, but unfortunately I got stuck in traffic and we arrived there with everybody waiting, it becomes like a big casino, you have to risk a lot, it’s a disaster. At the end I hadn’t done a clear lap, but anyway the second row is not so bad, because if you are on the third it’s more difficult. The second is for sure worst than the first, but anyway you are in the top group, so we need to wait for tomorrow and understand the conditions, if it will be wet or dry and also the temperature, if it’s colder it will become more difficult for the front tyre.”

Smith and Espargaro to bolt from fourth row in round 11 Brno challenge

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will kick off the Czech Republic Grand Prix from 11th on the grid after pushing relentlessly today at the undulating Masaryk circuit. The young Briton started by determinedly battling in FP3 but he just missed out on the cut-off point, which meant that he had to compete in QP1. Here, however, he launched into attack mode immediately and completed the shootout only 0.064 behind the leading time, which confirmed his appearance in Qualifying two. Once this session began, Smith continued where he left off and immediately got on the pace. The British star eventually sped to his personal best on his final lap which left him only 0.606 from Valentino Rossi. Tomorrow, he will aim to leap forward and join the battle for the top independent position.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will start the 22 lap fight from behind his teammate. The 25-year-old commenced the day by finishing the free practice three session in 8th after pulling off his best time on the penultimate lap, which was a huge improvement of 1.192 from yesterday. Once in QP2, he set off at speed in pursuit of seizing a top tier grid position. He built up his pace and eventually shot across the finish line after giving his all, and clinched a grid position on the fourth row, right behind his teammate. The leading independent rider in the 2016 championship will intend to close the weekend with a notable top eight finish.

Bradley Smith
11th / 1’56.115 / 7 laps

“To be perfectly honest, 11th on the grid is not an ideal starting point, but it has been a few races since I’ve been able to compete in Q2 so therefore I can’t be too unhappy. However, I believe we have some more work to do because I feel that we’re missing something and we’ve not improved as much as we would have liked. It seems as though everyone has progressed from yesterday to today, but we only made half a step. The Tech3 guys and I need to find some additional pace for the race tomorrow, and even though I am where I am, I want more from the team and myself. Nevertheless, I am certain that we will be able to fight well inside the top ten, and we will use the time until the GP to refine our setup for the 22 lap sprint. The weather is unpredictable at the moment, so we won’t be completely sure of what it will do until it gets to race time, however, we will do some analysis tonight and be ready nevertheless.”

Pol Espargaro
12th / 1’56.522 / 7 laps

“In FP3 this morning, I felt much better on my bike in comparison to yesterday which meant that I was able to improve the lap time straight away and I finished the session in 8th. Then, later on in Free Practice 4, I was riding comfortably but I made a slight mistake in corner 6 and I touched the painted white line on the inside of the corner and I lost the front. Unfortunately, when I went out with the second bike, I didn’t have the same confidence and this is the reason for our qualifying result. I wasn’t comfortable and I didn’t feel as natural on the bike as I should have, plus I struggled to ride a similar pace to this morning. Nevertheless, I am convinced that with a bit more track time we will be back up to speed, just like we have shown this morning. In addition, the weather forecast for tomorrow is rain, so we have to wait until and see. Clearly, I didn’t give myself an easy task starting from the back of the fourth row, but as soon as the lights turn green, I will push as hard as I can to fight for the leading independent rider position.”