Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo put maximum effort into this afternoon’s qualifying session, delivering second place and a front row start ahead of Championship rival Casey Stoner for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Czech Republic.
The reigning World Champion was one of the fastest riders for the duration of the session, benefiting from improvements to his set up with a more stable YZR-M1 allowing him to pressure the competition at the top. Lorenzo led the session for a brief time and at the end of the session had missed pole by just 0.113 seconds.
Ben Spies put in a superhuman effort to secure fourth and a second row start for tomorrow’s race despite suffering a numb arm from a trapped nerve which hampered his ability to brake and turn the bike. The Texan had been running as high as second, just 0.061 from first in the last 15 minutes but was unable to hold on to his front row start at the end. He will continue to work with Clinica Mobile this evening for more physio in advance of tomorrow’s race.Whilst qualifying was dry, the riders endured a wet final free practice in the morning, giving them an opportunity to find a good wet set up should tomorrow’s race bring rain. Lorenzo dominated the session with his revised set up, finishing in second just 0.005 seconds from the front. Spies took it easy for the morning, saving his strength for the qualifying practice and finishing the final free session in tenth, 0.768 from first.
Jorge Lorenzo: “Yesterday things weren’t like we expected, but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable. The lap time improved from that and we got a lot closer to Dani today and finished in front of Casey. The pace in the last laps was quite good, so we’re happy. Big thanks to my team who worked hard to improve the bike. Tomorrow we aim for the podium, or if possible, to win the race.”
Ben Spies: “Today, honestly, went a lot better than expected - we’re at least in a good starting position for tomorrow. I’m not 100% confident about the race and what we can do, but we’ve shown we’ve got the speed and the bike is good enough for top five. We’ll do the best we can, I’m not going to make any promises but I know I’ve got at least half a good race in me. If we get some good rest tonight then hopefully we’ll get lucky and catch a break and be good for it. We’re optimistic, the bike is working well and the speed is there, I just hope I can be there too. I need to say a big thank you to all the guys at Clinica Mobile who are working hard this weekend to keep me in the game.”