Jorge Lorenzo set an unprecedented pace at Brno, taking pole position and setting a new track record.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo set a blistering pace at Brno in MotoGP qualifying Saturday, setting a new lap record for the circuit at 1’55.799. He will be joined on the front row by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow who put forth one of the best qualifying efforts of his career, falling short of Lorenzo’s top time by just 0.196 seconds. The British rider also has cause to celebrate because just prior to the session, he signed a one-year extension of his contract with Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa posted the third fastest time.
Lorenzo had struggled to find a bike configuration he was happy with during earlier practice sessions, but once he and his team went back to the set up they used in the first 1000cc test last year, his times immediately improved.
“We were struggling so much to find the way to set up the bike this morning, we were very lost,” explained Lorenzo. “Then we went back to the setting we used the first time we tried the 1000 here in Brno last year and it was great. I really enjoyed riding the bike, sliding more as well with less electronics. I just wanted to stay out on the track and just keep riding and riding to improve the lap time.”
Crutchlow was pressuring for the front when a small mistake caused him to crash. He was able to remount though and utilized a different set-up on his spare bike to continue improving his pace. His renewed position on Tech 3 for 2013 bolstered his confidence and he offered his best career qualifying position as thanks to the satellite team and its faith in his ability to post competitive results.
Cal Crutchlow announced that prior to qualifying at Brno he had extended his contract with Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
“I am really happy to have scored my best ever qualifying result in MotoGP and the timing couldn’t be better after I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 earlier today,” said Crutchlow. “This was the perfect way to immediately repay the faith shown in me by Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster. Once again today we demonstrated what a competitive package we have and that is one of the big reasons why I committed my future to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.”
Pedrosa also went down during the afternoon qualifying session but was unable to bounce back as well as Crutchlow. He explained later that the second bike felt more rigid and he experienced more chatter as compared to the first, making it difficult to push as hard as he’d hoped.
Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies heads up the second row after putting in a solid session, often coming through as the fastest rider thorough the first two splits. He was on pace to take the front row until Pedrosa put in a fast lap late in the session that knocked Spies back to fourth. Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso follows in fifth and Ducati’s Valentino Rossi rounds out the second row.
“Since Friday morning, things have gone better here at Brno,” said Rossi, who has been steadily improving his performance at the circuit since practice began on Friday. “We’ve managed to be faster and more competitive than normal and, most importantly, to work on the bike well, improving session by session. This afternoon we managed to do a good ‘time attack,’ so we’re generally pretty pleased. It’s important that we’ll be able to start from the second row in the race because it makes things a little easier.”
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl of LCR Honda will start from seventh on the grid, followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Cardio AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham in eighth and ninth respectively. Top CRT qualifier, Randy de Puniet of Power Electronic Aspar, rounds out the top ten.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards had struggled during Friday’s practice sessions to dial-in his electronics and continues to have issue, qualifying in 15th.
MotoGP Brno Qualifying Results 2012:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’55.799
2. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’55.995
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’56.327
4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’56.331
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 1’56.559
6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’56.735
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’56.827
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’57.068
9. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’57.773
10. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’57.844
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’58.153
12. Yonny Hernandez (BQR) 1’59.087
13. Toni Elias (Ducati) 1’59.120
14. Michele Pirro (FTR) 1’59.387
15. Colin Edwards (Suter) 1’59.863
16. Mattia Pasini (ART) 1’59.865
17. James Ellison (ART) 2’00.316
18. Ivan Silva (BQR) 2’00.329
19. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda) 2’00.854