Yamaha teammates 1-2 in MotoGP qualifying Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo kept up his 100% front-row qualifying record for the season with another pole position at his home track this afternoon, his third of 2009. Valentino Rossi made a welcome return to the front row after a three-race absence, qualifying just 0.013 seconds adrift of his team-mate in second place.
After Rossi had ruled the roost in practice yesterday, it was Lorenzo's turn at the top during this morning's session while the Italian slipped to third behind Andrea Dovizioso. Temperatures climbed even higher than yesterday throughout the early afternoon and when the Qualifying session began it had reached 38 degrees at Montmel¢.
Lorenzo held the top spot for most of the first forty minutes before Rossi sprang into the lead with 20 minutes to go, sparking another entertaining battle which saw the Yamaha pair trading places with Casey Stoner and Dovizioso. For the second race running however it came down to the last couple of laps to decide the final line-up and with four minutes to go Rossi re-took pole. Inside the final sixty seconds however his Mallorcan team-mate edged him off with a stunning lap, cheered on by his home fans. The World Champion's answering challenge fell just over one hundredth of a second short, leaving Stoner to secure third place a further 0.439 seconds off.
Jorge Lorenzo Position: 1 Time: 1'41.974 "The heat was incredible today and it's going to be very tough doing so many laps tomorrow without getting too tired! I'm so happy to be here on pole in front of my home fans at this track, which I really love. Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult race for everyone and I am expecting a very good fight with Valentino, who has a very strong pace. It looks like Stoner and Dovizioso will be there too so I hope it's an exciting race for the fans! I have a good rhythm here and I feel very comfortable on the bike so I am just going to stay focused and think about having a great race."
Valentino Rossi Position: 2 Time: 1'41.987 "It's good to be back on the front row after three races off it, so we're happy about that. Of course I am sorry to miss the pole by such a tiny amount, but anyway we have an excellent pace and I am confident for tomorrow. We've been waiting for good weather for five races and now the temperature is maybe a little bit too much, but for sure it's better than rain for everyone! I think that it will be a hard race tomorrow in this heat and after just a few laps I think the bikes will start to slide a bit, which means that we can expect a great battle and a hard fight! I am happy with the work we've done here, I am enjoying riding my bike and the weekend is going well so far. There are one or two small things we can hopefully improve tomorrow, but I am ready to be competitive."
Daniele Romagnoli Team Manager "This is a perfect day for our side of the garage. For us to start on pole here, at Jorge's home track, is brilliant and we couldn't ask for anything more. Jorge clearly has extra motivation in front of the Spanish fans but he did a great job today throughout both sessions and he has an excellent race pace. His last run was very good and he was able to challenge Valentino and take the pole position."
Davide Brivio Team Manager "It's good to be back on the front row - this was one of our primary targets for this weekend. It was such a close qualifying battle with Jorge and we've only missed out by a fraction so we're not too disappointed. We have a strong race pace and everything looks good for tomorrow. Let's race!"
Edwards sixth, Toseland ninth in baking hot Barcelona
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was left pondering what might have been after a dramatic qualifying session for tomorrow's Catalunya MotoGP race.
American Colin Edwards looked on course to equal his best grid position of the year when he held fifth place until a late crash, while James Toseland ended the session in a season best ninth, but less than one tenth off a brilliant top five.
Results 1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1'41.974 2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1'41.987 3 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'42.426 4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1'42.594 5 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1'43.139 6 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1'43.168 7 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1'43.175 8 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'43.207 9 James Toseland Yamaha GBR 1'43.233 10 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 1'43.336 11 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'43.365 12 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 1'43.411 13 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1'43.414 14 Alex De Angelis Honda SMR 1'43.422 15 Sete Gibernau Ducati ESP 1'43.714
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