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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Score Second and Fourth in Scintillating Shoot-out in Spielberg

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP_081316

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP put up a strong fight for the front row in today’s Q2 session ahead of tomorrow’s NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Valentino Rossi took second position in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo looked on course to take pole position, until the times dropped at the end of the session and he found himself in fourth place.

Rossi took his time to leave the pits for the qualifying session, exiting just before Lorenzo. The nine-time World Champion got straight down to business, scoring a temporary fourth place on his first flying lap with a 1’24.648s, before being pushed back one place by his teammate. He continued to improve his time on his second and third attempt before entering the pits for fresh rubber with six and a half minutes on the clock, in seventh place.

He rushed back out two minutes later, breaking into the 1’23’s with a 1’23.843s to move up to sixth place and continued to impress with his last two flying laps. With nothing to lose, the Doctor spurred on his Yamaha to secure a brilliant third position and crossed the line just a few seconds before the end of the session, giving him one last chance to set a hot lap and Rossi made it count. A stunning 1’23.289s saw him claim provisional pole until he was pushed back by a late charge from chasing rival Andrea Iannone, leaving him just 0.147s from first.

Lorenzo was the second to last rider to exit the pit lane today in qualifying, waiting for the pack to go out before he hit some clear space on track. The Mallorcan chose to go out with the soft front, medium option rear tyre and scored a best time of 1’23.639s to take second in the provisional standings on his second lap. Lorenzo then returned to the pits with more than seven and a half minutes remaining.

After a minute he was back on course to challenge for pole position. Now in third place, he found the perfect spot on track to jump to the top of the charts with a 1’23.361s. He was unable to improve on his last two laps, but his best time was so impressive that it was not bettered until the final seconds of the session. The current World Champion missed out on the front row by just 0.063s, taking fourth place.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“After the challenging test and first day, today’s unexpected but very positive results pay tribute to the hard work of the team and the progress they made. We have made improvements to the setting session by session and it gave the riders the confidence they were looking for to challenge for the front row in qualifying. Vale delivered a really strong performance in Q2 and set various great flying laps at the end of the session for second place. Jorge was also very competitive today and missed out on the front row by just a very tiny margin. We will now try to make some final amendments on both sides of the garage to be ready for tomorrow’s warm-up. It won’t be easy to make another big step, but we think there is still a margin for improvement.”

Valentino Rossi
2nd / 1’23.289 / 9 laps

“I tried to push where my bike is very good, in the last sector and T3, and we worked well today from this morning, which was a difficult practice. We improved a lot and already in free practice four I was third behind our fastest rivals. We were able to make another small step for the qualifying, which gave me a better feeling so I could push a little bit more to stay in the center of the front row. To split our main factory competitors was a great target and I did a great lap so I’m happy.”

Jorge Lorenzo
4th / 1’23.361 / 9 laps

“How things can change in MotoGP is just unbelievable, in just one day! Everything can affect the results and today the conditions helped us a lot. Our main rivals didn’t improve their lap times a lot and we improved by a great difference, more than a second, and that’s why we were closer and able to fight for pole position. I was very happy with the progression and the lap time. I thought I could be on the first row or even in first position, but finally in the last moment they overtook me. Still, second row is a good place, better than we expected before starting the Grand Prix.”

Tech3 duo ready for Austrian GP despite challenging qualifying

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith undertook a solid recovery from what was an uphill start yesterday in the 10th round of the MotoGP World Championship. The 25-year-old, who endured a tough opening to the day at the undulating Spielberg circuit, concluded the first session in 17th as he completed 22 laps. However, the English rider remained resolute and after the changes the team undertook, Smith delivered a promising performance in FP4 before attacking as soon as Qualifying One began. His personal best lap was shy of the cut-off point for Q2 by just over a tenth of a second, however, he made a huge improvement of 1.815 on yesterday’s FP2 time. In addition, this result would have left him just outside the top ten in qualifying 2. The British star remains focused and optimistic of picking up a strong finish tomorrow and will commence the Austrian Grand Prix from fifth row of the grid.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro gave his all despite struggling to adjust his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the challenging Austrian circuit and will kick off his Grand Prix battle from right behind his teammate. The Spaniard leapt straight into action this morning and delivered 21 laps as he posted his quickest time on his final run, however, this lap resulted in him having to compete in Qualifying One in the afternoon. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion charged away when the shootout began and eventually set his personal best on the 6th lap out of 7, which saw him finish behind his teammate by 0.139. Nevertheless, despite the tricky qualifying, Espargaro remains confident for the 28-lap sprint tomorrow.

Bradley Smith
14th / 1’24.126 / 9 laps

“We have gained some more experience and track time which means that we were faster today, even if we didn’t have the best start to this weekend. Yet, I am satisfied with my performance because we made a big step from yesterday with regards to the lap time, which I cut by just under two seconds today. In FP4, I began to find a better rhythm than what we had so far this weekend, which of course, is pleasing. It goes without saying that we are going to try to improve the Yamaha this evening so that we can have a more consistent bike for tomorrow. Yet, on the whole, the team has done a fantastic job, so I must say thanks to them because we’re all in this situation together and we are trying as hard as we can. I believe that we have a solid race pace that will enable me to fight inside the top ten, so I need to concentrate on a good start and then we’ll see what happens from there.”

Pol Espargaro
15th / 1’24.265 / 7 laps

“It didn’t quite go to plan today but we are making steps forward, even if they are small ones compared to the other riders. However, I must say that it’s tricky to set the bike up at this track because of its hard braking points and this is where we are struggling the most. The team and I are trying as many solutions as possible in the few sessions that we have available before qualifying, but until now we haven’t found the right combination or direction. This hard braking issue is the reason why I am losing time in sector one and two as these sectors feature some key points. I tried to follow some other riders but that wasn’t easy for me to do, so as a result, we will start from 15th tomorrow. Still, I am confident that we can amend the current situation and we will use the warm-up to refine the setting in order to be as competitive as possible for the race, even if I haven’t given myself an easy task on the grid.”

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