Traffic Denies Yamaha Front Row in 2012 Portugal MotoGP

Today’s qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Portugal proved to be a frustrating one for both Yamaha Factory riders. Jorge Lorenzo led for most of the session until a red flag incident between Colin Edwards and Randy De Puniet forced a restart with nine minutes remaining.

A mixture of heavy traffic along with a lack of confidence in certain corners resulted in a gradual drop to a grid position of fourth on the second row, just 0.278 seconds from pole. This will be the first time since 2008 that Lorenzo has not started from the front row of the grid at Estoril.

Having finally got his 2012 season firmly back on track with a highly competitive pace, Ben Spies endured an extremely frustrating qualifying session with at least three hot laps interrupted by slower traffic. Having been denied a front row lap time Spies will start tomorrow’s race from fifth on the grid alongside his team mate on the second row.motogp, motogp qualify, 2012 portugal motogp, portugal motogp qualify, portugal motogp, 2012 jorge lorenzo, yamaha, yamaha racing, 2012 jorge lorenzo yamaha

Jorge Lorenzo
Position 4th – Time 1.37.466 – Laps 29
“The main problem for me today was that in turn one and two I couldn’t enter aggressively so I lost a lot of time in this section. In general the bike is not giving me a good feeling so this lap time was the maximum I could get today. We are in fourth but tomorrow is going to be hard as I have to try to pass Cal who is a hard braker! I will keep thinking positive and see what we can do.”

Ben Spies
Position 5th – Time 1.37.723 – Laps 26
“It was a tough session for everybody, the annoying thing was that three of my best laps were blocked but that’s just the way it goes. Two of them I think could have been avoided but one of them was just a racing incident. We’re on the second row in the middle and we’re a lot better than we were in Jerez. I feel good on the bike and I just need to keep building the confidence now. Being three tenths behind Jorge at this track is pretty good.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It was a tough qualifying, we were on pole up until nine minutes to go so I think fourth looks worse than we actually are. 0.2 of a second is not a lot. We are still struggling on rear grip in corner entry; especially the first two splits so we need to improve the bike. If we can do that we have a good chance to battle at the front tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We missed the first row but we are pretty close. Traffic compromised at least two or three laps for Ben but overall we are satisfied as we are coming from a really bad weekend. The race will be tough, but we are confident as up to five minutes from the end of qualifying we were really close. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Confident Crutchlow blasts to front row in Estoril

motogp, motogp racing, 2012 motogp, moto gp, motorcycle gp, 2012 motorcycle grand prix, 2012 portugal motogp, portugal motogp, cal crutchlow, cal crutchlow racing, cal crutchlow motogp, 2012 cal crutchlow, yamaha, yamaha racing, yamaha 2012Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow stormed to his second front row start in the opening three rounds of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship with another scintillating qualifying performance in Estoril today.

Only reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and 2011 Estoril winner Dani Pedrosa were quicker than the British rider, who maintained his incredible qualifying record this season to finish top non-factory rider and leading Yamaha on the leader board.

Crutchlow hasn’t qualified lower than fourth in 2012 and once again this afternoon he challenged for pole position in the thrilling final stages of a session that was red flagged with 11 minutes remaining following a collision between Randy de Puniet and former Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards.

The short delay in proceedings didn’t knock Crutchlow out of his stride and five minutes were left on the clock when he surged to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1.37.289. That time kept Crutchlow at the top of the standings until just over two minutes remained and at the end he was only 0.101s behind Stoner and 0.088s adrift of Pedrosa.

Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s race from the front of the third row of the grid having set the seventh quickest time. The Italian was disappointed with his pace on the soft Bridgestone tyres in the decisive final moments of the session. Bur he remains confident he will be challenging for a third successive top five result tomorrow having been one of the fastest and most consistent riders on the hard compound Bridgestone rubber.

Cal Crutchlow
Position 3rd – Time 1.37.289 – Laps 28
“To be back on the front row again is a really great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and this is reward again for all of our hard work. I am really happy as well to be the fastest Yamaha because that proves what a good job all of us are doing. I was on the hard tyre for the first part of the session working on the race set-up and it felt a little different to what I am used to, but we made a lot of progress with the bike during the session. I felt really comfortable and confident on the soft tyre and felt I could be fighting for the front row. I was actually going to scrap my best lap bu t I made up some time in the last sector and it was good enough for the top three. I’m happy with that but we still have to improve the bike a bit more for the race. I want it to turn a little better and brake a little better. I am looking forward to the race but it is going to be a difficult job. We know Jorge is going to be there and a podium will be very hard but as always I’ll try my best.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Position 7th – Time 1.37.917 – Laps 29
“I’m quite angry to have qualified down in seventh today because we could have done much better. It is always tricky when you have to start from the third row of the grid and I hope my starting position is not going to hamper me at the start of the race. Getting a good start will be crucial but I am really satisfied about my pace on the hard tyre. I was third fastest and only 0.2s behi nd Lorenzo on the hard tyre, so I think my rhythm for the race is going to be very competitive. Qualifying didn’t go quite according to plan. I had a small problem with one engine so we had to check that and switch to the second bike in the middle of the session. And when I went out on the new tyre there was the red flag. I think without a couple of issues we could have been higher up the grid. I feel we have made a lot of progress this weekend, but unfortunately that hasn’t been reflected on the timesheets.”

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