Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo celebrated his 26th birthday by scoring pole position at Jerez, beating out Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa by two-tenths of a second. Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, rounds-out the all-Spanish front row for the third round of the 2013 MotoGP world championship. Lorenzo was one of the few front-runners to remain upright through the day’s tumultuous sessions, as a number of riders went sliding off track during practice, qualifying or both.
Lorenzo refrained from pushing to the limits in the final free practice, holding to third behind Pedrosa in second and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who came through with the fastest combined practice time. Qualifying was a different matter and Lorenzo dominated all of Q2, posting a 1’38.876 on his second lap. Ten minutes later he improved his pace, dropping a 1’38.673 lap which would hold to the end of the session.
“I’m happy with this pole position, it’s a good present for my birthday,” said Lorenzo. “I knew the track was not perfect, it’s very warm and there were a lot of crashes in Moto2 and the previous qualifying. I just tried to make the perfect lap, unfortunately I couldn’t; I made a mistake in two braking zones and went wide and lost some tenths. Anyway, in the other corners I was really quick and at the limit so it was enough to make it.”
Pedrosa came close to besting Lorenzo early in qualifying, but failed to improve his third-lap effort. As the session drew to a close, the Repsol rider lost traction entering a corner and he slid off into the gravel. Marquez had a similar, though less dramatic, experience earlier in Free Practice, losing the rear end mid-turn. He avoided any such incident in qualifying and finished 0.298 off Lorenzo’s top time.
Crutchlow heads up the second row and he, too, went down during the day, both in practice and qualifying. Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, qualified fifth and had a crash as well, one in which he was able to walk away unharmed but that destroyed his YZR-M1. Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista remained unscathed and finished with the sixth-fastest time.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden will start Sunday’s race from the top of the third row, and is joined by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who followed in eighth. Bradl had to battle in Q1 for a spot in Q2 after finishing with the 11th fastest time in FP3.
Hayden’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, fell short of Bradl’s time by a paltry 0.001 seconds and will start from ninth position.
Heading up the CRT charge and fourth row is Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera, who advanced directly from FP3 to Q2 after posting the seventh-fastest time. Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone grabbed 11th and Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, starts from 12th.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro narrowly missed earning a spot in Q2 and is placed 13th on the grid, followed by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro in 14th. Espargaro’s teammate, Randy de Puniet, finished the day in 15th.
MotoGP Jerez Qualifying Results 2013:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’38.673
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’38.920
3. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’38.971
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’39.262
5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’39.300
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’39.509
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’39.654
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’39.847
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’39.848
10. Hector Barbera (FTR) 1’39.980
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’40.087
12. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’40.356
13. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’40.085
14. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’40.182
15. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’40.466
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 1’40.654
17. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’40.852
18. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 1’41.324
19. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’41.513
20. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’41.536
21. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 1’41.779
22. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’41.935
23. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 1’43.220