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Jerez Saturday Qualifying

Moto GP 2015

maddix park mx

www.motorcycle-usa.com  By Byron Wilson

Saturday Qualifying
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo scored his first pole position of the year at Jerez with a scorching 1’37.910 lap, the fastest ever at the circuit for a motorcycle. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will line up second on the grid followed by Ducati’s Andrea Iannone in third. 

Lorenzo appeared as confident and relaxed as ever during qualifying at Jerez. The Mallorcan was first out once Q2 was underway, and he immediately set a lap time that no one else could touch. He bested himself a few laps later and then on his final go around the track, with no one else near and the checkered flag high in the air, he set the new record. 

“A lot of people said that I had a crisis and I was down, it was one of my worst moments, but just two days later I rode this impressive lap time,” said Lorenzo. “That shows that in racing you can‘t say things like “this guy is down, he‘s finished” because the next day he‘s going to be at the front. The opposite is true too, you can‘t say you‘re the best, because the next day you‘re at the back, so we have to be humble and work to take profit of the opportunities. We arrived here with everything being fine and we took profit of it every session. Setting the new pole position record is unbelievable. I rode many impressive lap times in my career, but this one is very special. A 1‘37.9 with these temperatures is very impressive and I am very satisfied.” 

Marquez had a scare prior to the start of qualifying, low-siding his machine in FP4. He kept his injured hand high in the air as he slid off track, though, to avoid any additional problems. The crash did prompt Marquez to be more cautious during qualifying, though. It was clear that the defending champion pushed to get himself to have a go at the top of the timesheet, but not so hard as to risk another mistake. 

“We knew it would be hard work to get onto the front row,” said Marquez. “That was the goal and we succeeded, so I am very happy about that, but we also know that tomorrow will be a difficult race and it will be hard to finish the 27 laps. On the other hand, today I was able to ride without painkillers and tomorrow I will be using them. We had prepared three sets of tires to use in the qualifying session, however, after the crash, I preferred not to push things and we used just the two –but we could not make it onto pole." 

Iannone was quick from the get-go and managed to up his pace accordingly as the session wore on to secure his second consecutive front-row start of the year. Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro earned his best qualifying result of the year, heading the second-row, followed by Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, in fifth. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro finished sixth-fastest followed by CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in seventh. 

MotoGP Jerez Qualifying Results 2015 
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’37.910 
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’38.300 
3. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’38.468 
4. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’38.539 
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’38.632 
6. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 1’38.638 
7. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1’38.714 
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’38.823 
9. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’39.464 
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’39.491 
Friday Practice
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo came out swinging in Friday Free Practice at Jerez, topping the timesheet through both sessions. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro finished 0.049 behind the Mallorcan in second overall followed by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in third. 

Track temperature was a factor during the day simply because of the range riders faced, with a relatively cool 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit recorded during the morning session and a scorching 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon. A bulk of the riders, Lorenzo and Aleix Espargaro included, notched their best efforts of the day during the cooler first session. 

Lorenzo is coming to Jerez with a 4-4-5 record through the first three rounds of the year, and is highly motivated to improve his results in the first European GP of the 2015 season. 

“My mentality from this morning was to go for it and don‘t think too much, just try to ride according to my instinct and it worked very well, especially in the morning,” explained Lorenzo. “In the afternoon we tried the hard rear tire that was very bad, with lots of spinning for everyone and I decided to go back to the softer one, since that one is much better in cold but also in warmer conditions. Yamaha and I did great things together in the past. In the last two years I felt less good, but we focused on the year and now it seems we‘re coming back stronger. We will have to demonstrate it tomorrow and especially on Sunday.” 

Espargaro slipped back in the ranks during FP2, finishing fifth-fastest in that session, but the Suzuki ace remained runner-up thanks to his FP1 showing. Marquez exercised caution during the morning practice, acclimating to riding with a broken finger, which he suffered in a training accident less than a week prior. 

"We can be happy that my hand has responded quite well today - as well as could be expected,” said Marquez. “It hurts a lot but at least I can put in the laps. We’ll see if tomorrow it is better if it doesn’t swell up. As for the bike, I'm feeling pretty good with it and we are working well, but we need to improve some things - especially in the afternoon - when the track temperature rises.” 

Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso ended fourth and fifth, respectively, in combined time, both riders finding the extra pace in the afternoon on a softer rear tire option than they’d used in the morning. Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci trailed in sixth followed by CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in seventh. 

Further back, current points leader and teammate to Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, decided to stay on the harder option tire throughout the day but it didn’t yield the results he’d hoped for. 

“It was a difficult practice, especially this afternoon,” said Rossi. “I think I could have gotten a better position but I decided to use just the harder option and work with just that tire, because we thought that was the best tire for the race. Unfortunately the performance is very low and the lap time isn‘t good enough, so I think that also the soft can be an option too, but it will be difficult. With the high temperature in the afternoon the track makes you slide a lot and it‘s very difficult to control the bike.” 

MotoGP Jerez Combined Friday Practice Results 2015
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’39.174 FP1 
2. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 1’39.223 FP1 
3. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’39.428 FP2 
4. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’39.511 FP2 
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’39.535 FP2 
6. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 1’39.718 FP2 
7. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1’39.737 FP1 
8. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’39.871 FP1 
9. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’39.872 FP1 
10. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 1’39.909 FP1 
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