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Dominant Double Front Row for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP in Valencia


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team kept the momentum going during the Q2 session. Jorge Lorenzo was in a league of his own today, bettering the previous pole position record at Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo – set by himself last year – by 0.610s. Valentino Rossi was also in contention for a front row start and had the Spanish fans wait until the final minutes of the qualifying, to see him secure third place for tomorrow’s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana.

Lorenzo was on good form in front of the Spanish crowd during the Free Practice sessions and gave another blistering performance later in the afternoon. He was one of the first riders to leave pit lane and didn’t waste any time to drop a time of 1’29.849s, a new pole position record, on his first attempt to put his name at the top of the provisional leader board.

Having set the benchmark high he immediately returned to the pit box with ten minutes remaining. He quickly went out on track again and duplicated his stellar effort and set a 1’29.613s before making a second stop. He quickly dashed off again with over three minutes left to defend his number one spot. Flashing red through all the sectors, the Mallorcan signed off his impressive qualifying efforts with a 1’29.401s, leaving a 0.340s gap to his closest rival.

Teammate Rossi also brought his a-game to this afternoon’s sunny qualifying session, to the delight of the local fans, with an impressive last-minute time attack. Avoiding traffic, he headed out as one of the last riders, giving him enough clear space on track. He gradually built up his pace, shooting up from eighth to fourth on his second lap, before setting a 1’30.539s for third place.

With a provisional front row in his grasp he returned to the pits and there were four minutes remaining when he rejoined the session. Having been pushed back to seventh, the Doctor had to dig deep to reclaim third place on his next try. He further bettered his time to 1’30.128s, 0.727s from pole, on lap eight and secured third place to wrap up the last qualifying session of the year securing the seventh double front row of the 2016 season for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“What a pole position! Jorge has been really fast from the beginning of the first day, but what he showed during qualifying has been impressive, setting a 1’29.401s! Vale also managed all the difficulties he met during the previous sessions very well with a good 1’30.128s, which gave him an important front row start. Although we did a superb job today, we still have doubts for tomorrow’s race, mainly about the rear tyre life. It will be fundamental to find an appropriate set-up that will allow them to manage the degradation of it during the 30 laps. We expect a long and tough race amongst four or five riders, but we are confident that we can fight for a top result and secure the Team’s Title.”

Jorge Lorenzo
1st / 1’29.401 / 9 laps

“My motivation was full on, because I wanted to get the best challenge for pole position, but tomorrow is going to be the most important because that decides the victory, which for sure will be very hard to get it. At least I can say that in the last race with Yamaha I got pole position and I think that today I was inspired. This 1’29.8s I already expected and I did it, but not only that, I improved the lap time without a new tyre. I did everything I could and risked in braking. It was a great day and an inspiring moment and I’m very proud and very happy.”

Valentino Rossi
3rd / 1’30.128 / 9 laps

“At this track Jorge and Marc are very strong and I’m very happy about this front row because usually I struggle always at Valencia and during the practices, from yesterday to today, we had a lot of problems. We weren’t fast enough but we improved and I think I did a quite good lap, but they are still a bit faster. Depending very much on the pace, I hope to be strong enough to be able to fight for the podium.”

Espargaro to begin grand finale from second row of the grid

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro will bolt forward from the rear of the second row tomorrow in what will be his last race aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1, after producing an impressive showing today in Valencia. The Spaniard kicked off his day by notably speeding to 6th in the morning practice where he finished only 0.487 from the top as he continued his momentum from yesterday. Later, in Q2, he got straight to work and after completing 8 laps, his personal best left him in 6th and just 0.264 from the front row. The qualifying marks a strong performance by the 2013 Moto2 World Champion and tomorrow he will set his sights on sealing the top independent rider honours in the season finale to close his account with the Tech3 team in a highly positive way.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith will contest his final Grand Prix for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team from the head of the fourth row of the grid after a hard fought display today at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. His solid work yesterday paid off as he completed the ultra-competitive FP3 session in 10th and just 0.257 from his teammate after he posted his time on the 19th lap out of 21. This allowed him to pass straight through to Q2 and here he set off at speed in pursuit of clinching a strong grid placement for the Valencia GP. Smith’s efforts saw him qualify in 10th as he finished just over half a second back from the second row and tomorrow afternoon, he intends to close what has been a challenging year on a high note.

Pol Espargaro
6th / 1’30.392 / 8 laps

“I am delighted with my qualifying performance today, and we knew that we could do a good job, which we did, but it was really tight in Q2. Every rider was fast here in Valencia today, yet we started the weekend with a decent pace and I was able to carry this on and then build upon it which allowed me to qualify well. With regards to the circuit, it is quite challenging, and very technical, especially when the electronics are concerned, such as anti wheelie and rear traction control. However, I feel positive here and the Yamaha is working well. It’s always a bit special, as a satellite rider, to begin the GP from the second row, but we’ll enjoy the rest of today knowing that we were competitive and I will try to have fun in my last track appearance with Yamaha. I’ve always been fast in Valencia, so I am pleased about today’s result and even though my expectations are not huge for the race, I am excited to see what we can do tomorrow.”

Bradley Smith
10th / 1’30.949 / 9 laps

“First of all, it was a great achievement to go straight through to Q2 today, as it has been a few GP’s since I’ve been able to do this. This afternoon, we worked quite hard on the race setup in FP4 and we also learnt a few more things during the qualifying. I am still not 100% happy with how the bike handles, but we confirmed our race tyres which is positive and now we just need to make some small modifications for the 30 lap sprint. It will be a long, tough fight and of course, it is vital for the bike to handle well under braking because here it’s important to have that balance, especially in the hard braking areas, of which there is at least one in each sector. I’m on the outside of the grid tomorrow, and that is possibly a bit better than beginning from 9th because sometimes you can get pinched on the inside at the first turn. Nevertheless, I will try to get a good start and then enjoy my final event with the Tech3 team.”

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