Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will start Sunday’s 32-lap MotoGP race from pole position after the Spaniard recorded the fastest lap time (1’21.221 on Lap 28 of 34) in this afternoon’s hour long qualifying session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Joining him on the front row will be the Repsol Hondas driven by Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies will start from Row 2 after being bumped from the front row start by Stoner with only minutes left in the session.
From the start of the session Lorenzo was atop the time charts putting a consistent lap times in the 1’21-range. His morning practice high-side crash didn’t seem to faze him with him appearing to ride at maximum fitness throughout all 35 laps (most of any rider).
“This pole position was unexpected for us after this morning, but thankfully I feel more pain walking than I do riding the bike,” smiled Lorenzo. “Of course I’m not in perfect condition on the bike and for sure I have to put more pressure on my arms and will get more tired. I think I was very lucky this morning that I had no big injuries. I think this pole position is for us an impressive result.”
Dani Pedrosa appeared to have the second spot secured until Stoner put in a flyer with only a few minutes remaining in the session. This also bumped Spies to the second row.
“For the whole session we were trying to find the right set-up,” commented Stoner. “All weekend we’ve been struggling a little and we’ve not found anything I’m comfortable with, I’ve closed the front many times and we’re still looking to find some balance on the bike to get it working on this track, where we expected it to work well. I don’t feel we’re running with the pace of Dani [Pedrosa] and Jorge [Lorenzo], they seem to be constantly one to two tenths quicker but we have warm up tomorrow morning to find something in time for the race so we’ll see what we can do”.
Fifth fastest on the day was Italian wild man Marco Simoncelli. Behind him was the third Repsol Honda piloted by Andrea Dovizioso.
Valentino Rossi stated off slow but finally got into the 1’22-range toward the end of the session. His teammate Nicky Hayden crashed with 20-minutes to go but was able to run back to the pits and get a few more laps aboard his back-up machine. Other crashers included Randy De Puniet. Wild card rider Ben Bostrom ran a little bit faster than this morning but was still over 4-seconds slower than the front runners.
Laguna Seca MotoGP Qualifying Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’21.202
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’21.274
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’21.385
4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’21.578
5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’21.696
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’21.731
7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’22.235
8. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’22.238
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’22.271
10. Cal Cruthlow (Yamaha) 1’22.385
11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’22.520
12. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’22.669
13. Karl Abraham (Ducati) 1’22.893
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’22.937
15. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 1’22.961
16. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’23.876
17. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’24.156
18. Ben Bostrom (Honda) 1’25.291