Yamaha Qualifies on First and Second Row in Aragón Time Attack
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi went all out during today's qualifying session at MotorLand Aragón circuit. They secured second and sixth on the grid respectively for tomorrow's Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi fought hard today in a tense qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. The teammates have displayed an impressive pace all weekend so far and didn't fail to deliver during the 15 minute qualifying heat.
Lorenzo was the second rider to clock a time this afternoon, putting down a 1'47.080 to set the early pace at the front. He briefly held provisional pole before being pushed back one place. On a two-stop strategy, he was back in the pits to switch bikes with nine minutes of the session remaining and returned to the track a minute later.
He went on to improve his time but not his ranking with a 1'46.743 and immediately returned to the box to swap bikes for a second time, with three minutes left to go.
When he was back out on track a minute later he had just enough time for a final time attack and didn't hesitate to put the hammed down. He dropped another 1'46s lap and even rode a fastest fourth sector of the day, but remained in second place, 0.108s from pole, on the first row of the grid.
Teammate Valentino Rossi pushed to the limit during qualifying. The nine-time World Champion took a little while to get underway at the start of the session, allowing most of the traffic to leave before him. He entered a relatively empty track and was quick to fire off a 1'48.039 for sixth before moving up one place with a 1'47.652.
Rossi then returned to the pits with a little less than seven minutes on the clock for fresh rubber and was back out again with four and a half minutes remaining. Having dropped to seventh position he was determined to better his position and had two more chances to strive for a top position. He waited to the last minute and, dropping a final time of 1'47.492 to take sixth on the grid, finished 0.857s from the front.
2nd / 1'46.743 / 8 laps
"When I looked at my times I was very happy, because it's always difficult to fight for the pole position. Our rivals' bikes are probably a bit more explosive than the Yamaha and especially this track is usually better for them. To be able to be in the 1'46.7 is unbelievable, we improved our old record here by more than a second, so I'm very proud about that and happy with the work we've done throughout the weekend and this particular lap. We need to improve the last details of the bike this afternoon for tomorrow, but in general I like it a lot how it behaves all around the track, so the team did a great job with the setting."
6th / 1'47.492 / 7 laps
"Today was a bit more difficult, especially in the afternoon, the morning was not so bad. My pace was also quite good, but with a higher temperature I suffered a lot with the tyres, because after some laps I slid too much and wasn't able to find the right rhythm, so we have to work and try to improve the balance so we can enter the corner with better braking. During tomorrow's warm up we will try to improve the setup and also the pace. My rivals are very fast, so this makes everything a bit more difficult but we will try."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"After two great practice sessions yesterday, today also went pretty well. As usual both Jorge and Vale gave 100 per cent today to qualify in the best position possible. Jorge again showed he is a force to be reckoned with and set several laps in the 1'46. He will start tomorrow's race from the front row, which is important. Valentino also did a good job today and qualified on the second row. He will look to make a good start to the race tomorrow and join the fight at the front. We still have a couple of things to adjust on the bike this afternoon in order to be ready for the warm-up. It will be a challenging race tomorrow and we will give our all."
Espargaro strikes hard to clinch 4th on the grid for Aragon MotoGP race
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro stormed to 4th position in qualifying today at the MotorLand Aragon circuit and will begin the battle at the 14th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship as the leading satellite bike on the grid. The young Spaniard started the vital qualifying day by continuing his setup work and then speeding to a best time of 1'48.449 in FP3. This left him in 7th place in the session but 8th overall and able to pass straight through the Q2. Once the intensely competitive 15 minute shootout commenced, the 24 year old jumped onto his Yamaha YZR-M1, determined to seize a top placement. After building up his pace, Espargaro powered to a best lap of 1'47.334 on his sixth out of seven, which resulted in him securing 4th with the gap to third place being just over a tenth of a second. Therefore, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion will start from the head of the second row as he equalled his best qualifying position of the year. He intends to achieve his target of battling as closely as possible with the factory MotoGP bikes and aims to finish inside the top six.
On the other hand, Bradley Smith dug deep and fought relentlessly throughout the intense Q2 session and he will line up at the front of the fourth row for the MotoGP race tomorrow. The young Briton kicked off the day by finishing the third free practice in 11th place due to a crash interrupting his session. Yet, his strong lap time of 1'48.318 in FP2 yesterday positioned him in 7th in the overall standings and able to glide straight through to Qualifying 2. As the 15 minute battle got underway Smith leapt into action and looked to land a top starting position to begin the 23 lap fight from. The 24 year old bolted to a best time of 1'47.830 which left him just over three tenths from rear of the second row. This result was a full second quicker than his qualifying time from last year and Smith will seek to undertake a rocket start tomorrow as he hopes to clinch the leading satellite honours at the meandering MotorLand Aragon circuit.
4th / 1'47.334 / 7 laps
"Fourth position is definitely a positive end to today's qualifying and it is a promising starting point for the upcoming race. Yet, it hasn't been an easy day as we had to face some difficulties with a lack of grip during FP4 when I ran on a used rear tyre. Afterwards, during the qualifying with the two new rubbers, the conditions changed completely and I felt much more confident. I was searching for the limit a bit during my first run and then I gave it everything I had on the second tyre and the final result is really pleasing. This is even more important as the first corner here is a bit dangerous and some other turns in the opening sector are tricky regarding the braking at the start of the race, so it's truly positive to be able to kick off proceedings from the front of the field."
10th / 1'47.830 / 8 laps
"Although my grid position is a little further back from where I have been qualifying recently, the weekend has been going well and I am quite positive about getting into the top six tomorrow in the race. I felt comfortable as soon as we got running here, even though I had a little fall this morning. To be honest, we still don't know exactly what happened, but one possible reason is that the tyres weren't up to temperature yet. Anyway, in Q2 I expected to do a 47.8 or a 47.9 lap time and I was actually able to do this time for three laps consistently which bodes well for the race. However, today we were missing that last 0.4 of a second, which would have resulted in me scoring a strong qualifying position. We need to analyse a few more details tomorrow in the warm up and then finalise our plan for the race. We will then go from there and hopefully I will be able to get in the mix after a good start."
Complicated qualifying for Baz and Elias at Aragon
Forward Racing team riders Loris Baz and Toni Elias will start Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón from the 22nd and 25th place on the grid respectively at the Motorland circuit.
Baz, hampered by a bad fall in the morning practice that gave him a mild neck injury, went on track during the fourth round of free practice motivated to reduce the gap from the other Open bikes. He finished in front of everyone in FP4 and in qualifying he posted a time of 1'49.496, which earned him the 22nd place, just over four tenths off the Open leader.
Elias had a positive qualifying overall, on his race debut with the Yamaha Forward. The Spaniard has further lowered his lap time and is just six tenths from the other Open bikes. He will start on the back of the field with a personal best of 1'50.755.
22nd / 1'49.496/ 7 laps
"Too bad for the fall this morning. I made a small mistake and found myself helplessly on the ground. I lost the whole session and I suffered a painful muscle contracture in the neck. In qualifying I was not in top form, I still had pain and I preferred not to risk. I'm starting behind the other riders, but we are not far from the other Open and I think we can go for it tomorrow."
25th / 1'50.755 / 6 laps
"It was another day of work. This morning, with lower temperatures, I struggled to keep the pace, but in qualifying I further closed the gap with the other Open. I have to keep working and learning the bike, but I'm happy and I can say that we are on the right track. I just need time and kilometers to be able to find the right feeling. It is important to continue to improve gradually every session to be able to stay with our opponents in the race."