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Jerez Moto GP Qualifying Report

Set Up - Practice - Qualifying - Race

Lorenzo delivers front row at Jerez, Spies just behind him in fourth

This afternoons qualifying session for tomorrows Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez witnessed improved performances from both Yamaha Factory Racing riders following a challenging start to the weekend. Jorge Lorenzo had put his best time of the weekend in during the mornings free practice with a 139.682, then worked hard with his crew to find even more grip and feel in his M1 for the afternoon qualifying. The Mallorcan led the qualifying heat from the start, only dropping to third in the last few minutes and ending the session less than two tenths of a second from pole; one of only three riders to break into the 138s. He will start tomorrows race on the front row of the grid in third.

Ben Spies made dramatic improvements after a slow start to the weekend. The Texan had been struggling to be comfortable on his Factory Yamaha which had held him back from contesting for faster times and a good grid position in the practice sessions. Qualifying saw the crew deliver a new set up offering much greater front end feel which was evident as Spies moved quickly up the time sheets. An unfortunate moment where he lost the front end going too hot into a corner meant a premature end to qualifying. The crash left him just behind his team mate in fourth for a second row grid start.

Jorge Lorenzo

3rd

I pushed the maximum from the first lap and improved my lap time from this morning. We were one of the few to improve with the tougher conditions when the track was worse. When we put the soft tyres in we managed to make a 138.9 lap which is a good time and we were only some milliseconds from Dani and less than two tenths from Casey. We are confident for tomorrow and we are pushing for a podium, if the opportunity arises then we will go for a victory.

Jorge Lorenzo

Ben Spies

Ben Spies

4th

Thats definitely the best session weve had so far. Ive got to take my hat off to my crew because it has been a hard weekend. Every practice session weve had two different bikes while weve been searching for the right set up. Theyve been doing an excellent job getting me more comfortable, I wouldnt say Im 100% there yet but from Friday its a big improvement. In qualifying I had to do my part and step up to get closer to the front on the grid and it all worked out. Its definitely a team effort, I asked a lot from the guys and they came through. I had a small crash, one of those crashes where I knew going into the corner that Id made a mistake and was trying to slow it down but lost the front.

Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

Im very pleased with the qualifying; the bike improved a lot from yesterday and has a lot more feeling. Corner entry and turnability have also improved and within a safety margin so Jorge can be faster and more consistent now. Third on the grid is good, he missed a T4 split by 0.3 seconds so he might even have been on pole. Well go for points tomorrow and are happy weve made a step forward today.

Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

A good qualifying today, both riders had more confidence with better set ups which showed in their performances. The front row is a great way to start the race for Jorge, and for Ben, starting in fourth is a comfortable position. We managed to find a setting that increased the feeling in the front for him which helped a lot. Unfortunately he fell towards the end when he out-braked himself but we are optimistic for the race. The weather forecast for tomorrow is quite critical, I would prefer a dry race but if its going to be wet then so be it.


Edwards and Crutchlow happy after dramatic qualifying

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow will start tomorrow's Spanish MotoGP race from eighth and ninth position on the grid respectively after an incident-packed qualifying session at the Jerez circuit.

American Edwards will start in the middle of the third row having taken full advantage of a revised front-end set-up to post a best time of 1.39.895. Edwards opted to run a harder front fork spring this afternoon having made several modifications to improve braking and cornering feedback with his YZR-M1 machine. He was less than 0.2s away from claiming a deserved second row position when he became one of numerous crashers in a dramatic session that took place in front of a large Saturday crowd at the Jerez track.

Pushing hard to try and secure a top six grid position ahead of tomorrow's 27-lap race, Edwards lost the front-end of his YZR-M1 at the slow speed second corner, but was able to remount his machine and ride back to the pits.

Crutchlow produced another outstanding performance to secure his second successive top ten qualifying result in his rookie MotoGP campaign. Crutchlow was in stunning form in this morning's third and final practice session, the British rider finishing seventh fastest after setting a quicker time than team-mate Edwards and factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.

And he carried that speed into this afternoon's qualifying session, the 2009 World Supersport champion clocking a best lap of 1.40.019 to finish just 0.124s behind Edwards in ninth. Set-up alterations made significant improvements to the front-end feeling of Crutchlow's YZR-M1 machine. Despite having less than four hours of track time at Jerez, Crutchlow demonstrated what a fast learner he is by beating a host of established MotoGP stars with vast experience of the challenging AndalucĂ­a venue.

Colin Edwards

8th

I'm never happy with eighth position but I honestly couldn't have put in any extra effort than what I did. It is hard to be disappointed when I know I rode as hard as I could do. It was obvious how hard I was pushing when I crashed late in the session. But to even get close to the second row now with this level of competition, you've got to take a few risks. I'd just done my fastest lap of the session when I got into the second corner and lost the front. I wanted to push a bit more to try and get onto the second row but obviously bit off more than I could chew and down I went. I felt good in the session because we modified the front forks by running a hard spring and it gave me the extra feedback I was looking for. On the hard rear tyre that we'll race on, I'm pretty happy because I was able to lap consistently in the low 40s. We didn't make a big step with the softer tyre so that shows we've got a decent race set-up and although it will be a tough race, I'm really looking forward to it.

Colin Edwards

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

9th

I'm really happy considering I don't know this track at all and there are a lot of talented riders behind me on the grid again. This morning I was seventh and I've qualified ninth, so I'm obviously making big progress. That is pleasing for me and for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team crew, who have been working really hard to help me to adjust quickly to riding a MotoGP bike. My ideal time was sixth, so I can't complain about that given my lack of experience on this track. I actually felt more comfortable with the harder tyre than I did with the soft, so that bodes well for the race tomorrow. We definitely made a big improvement with the front-end of the bike and I felt much more comfortable today. But we sacrificed a bit of rear grip, so we've got to try and find a balance that gives me the grip I've got now with the front, but improves the rear feeling too. My target for the race will be to finish in the top ten. Looking at the lap times I'm similar to Hayden and Aoyama again like I was in Qatar. I was a little bit behind them at the end of the race in Qatar, so hopefully I can make that step and give them a closer battle here. My confidence is growing and I'm optimistic I can get a good result tomorrow.

2011 MotoGP Spain

Jerez Circuit 02/04/2011

1

Casey Stoner

Honda

AUS

1'38.757

2

Daniel Pedrosa

Honda

ESP

1'38.915

3

Jorge Lorenzo

Yamaha

ESP

1'38.918

4

Ben Spies

Yamaha

USA

1'39.390

5

Marco Simoncelli

Honda

ITA

1'39.486

6

Andrea Dovizioso

Honda

ITA

1'39.709

7

Randy De Puniet

Ducati

FRA

1'39.892

8

Colin Edwards

Yamaha

USA

1'39.895

9

Cal Crutchlow

Yamaha

GBR

1'40.019

10

Hiroshi Aoyama

Honda

JPN

1'40.168

11

Nicky Hayden

Ducati

USA

1'40.175

12

Valentino Rossi

Ducati

ITA

1'40.185

13

Hector Barbera

Ducati

ESP

1'40.217

14

John Hopkins

Suzuki

USA

1'40.310

15

Loris Capirossi

Ducati

ITA

1'40.523

Circuit Length:
4423

Temp:
26

Weather:
Dry

Lap Record:
1'39.818
(Valentino Rossi, 1/1/2009)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1'38.189
(Jorge Lorenzo, 3/30/2008)

Last Years Winner:
Jorge Lorenzo

Content and Images courtesy of Yamaha Racing