Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made his 2012 intentions clear last tonight (Saturday) scoring a scorching pole position at the Losail circuit for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Qatar. The 2010 World Champion was on top form, pushing his YZR-M1 to the limit, taking full advantage of Bridgestone’s softer compound tyre to put himself 0.221 seconds clear of second place rider Casey Stoner. Lorenzo was also delighted to be joined on the front row by fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow.
Team-mate Ben Spies had also been delivering impressively quick laps on the softer tyre and was on target for a front row start until a fall minutes from the end of the session. The Texan was unhurt and walked away but had to settle for fourth and a second row start for tomorrow’s race with a best lap time of 1’55.512, 0.878s from pole.
Jorge Lorenzo: "I am really happy with tonight’s result. I had to push more than 100% to make pole position but I pushed to the limit and managed to make a perfect lap. We still have to improve the power on the straight and our maximum speed but in the rest of the track the bike is working really well. Tomorrow will be a tough race and tyres will be very important I think. A big thank you to Yamaha and my team for giving me such a good bike!"
Ben Spies: "We were on a good lap until the crash, I just lost the front. I’ve been complaining the last couple of days that the front end just didn’t have the right feeling that I wanted. As I was trying to get away from the bike when I was sliding something got caught up and I went with it. I was looking at the front wheel for a while and thought about trying to get back on when I couldn’t get away from it! We’ll try to make the bike better now, I know if we can fix it we can be up front. The M1 is clearly going round the track fast and I feel good on it apart from that. We’ve got some good ideas to try in warm up so we’ll see."
Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager: "A fantastic start to the season, last year we struggled many times to qualify well. Jorge delivered a great pole and was over two tenths quicker than Casey which is impressive. We have a good feeling and we’re looking forward to tomorrow to see what we can do."
Massimo Meregalli, Team Director: "There’s no better way to start the season than starting from pole, Jorge put in a really impressive lap. Despite the crash Ben managed to keep fourth place on the grid, second row is not so bad. We’ll work a bit more tonight to try to fix one area with the front and in the warm up we hope to get the feeling we are looking for. If all that comes together we have all the conditions for a good race."