Difficult Conditions Deliver First and Second Row for Yamaha MotoGP

Today’s qualifying session for The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France proved to be a challenging one in mixed weather conditions. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were faced with a wet, damp and then drying track as they fought to finally deliver fourth and sixth on the grid respectively for tomorrow’s race.

jorge lorenzo, jorge lorenzo motogp, motogp, moto gp, motogp racing, 2012 motogp, 2012 le mans motogp, le mans motogp, le mans motogp racing, 2012 motorcycle gp racing, yamaha, yamaha racing, 2012 yamaha, 2012 yamaha motogpLorenzo made a step forward from yesterday’s sessions but was unable to complete a perfect lap to get on the front row. Team mate Spies made the best of a tricky day having lost a set of the new Bridgestone tyres in yesterday’s crash which hampered the final set up of his M1 in this morning’s practice. The final grid sees four Yamaha YZR-M1s in the top six positions.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position 4th – Time 1.34.104 – Laps 22
“I’m not happy, I wanted to be at least on the front row but it was not possible, Andrea was very fast today. I didn’t make one perfect lap, maybe three or four tenths could be improved with a perfect lap but the track conditions were very difficult today and it was very easy to crash and get injured. We are in fourth position and tomorrow I think we can fight for the podium and the victory. I will try to make a very good start.”

Ben Spies
Position 6th – Time 1.34.669 – Laps 23
“Today was a tricky session for everybody, kind of risky. Finally the track started to come good but the guys who did the better lap times were a little bit more brave than others. With this tarmac it’s hard to see if it’s wet or dry in some places. We did the best we could and put together a decent lap to get on the second row. It was pretty hard to commit to 110% when the track is like that so the result is good.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very weird practice and very tricky! In the beginning it was quite wet then began to dry up so it was difficult to know what to do at what time. Finally to not be on the front row is disappointing as we had a good pace yesterday. We improved a little bit but it was quite risky as some of the curbs were still quite wet.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“To start from the second row is a good achievement for Ben considering we had some difficulties this morning because of yesterday’s crash. Because of that he couldn’t run the new tyre in this morning’s session so we couldn’t work properly on the set up. Now, if the race is going to be dry we are ready. We’ve done a good job so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a dry race. Jorge made another step forward from yesterday but also struggled to secure a front row start in the difficult track conditions.”

Tech 3 Yamaha target podium challenge in home race

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will go into its home race at the historic Le Mans circuit in France confident that Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow can battle for the podium after both produced brilliant qualifying performances today.

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Dovizioso, who is going in search of a third successive MotoGP rostrum at the legen dary Bugatti track in tomorrow’s 28-lap race, challenged for a front row place throughout a session that started on a wet track after earlier rain.

Conditions quickly improved and for the second half of the session, Dovizioso and Crutchlow were able to lap on slick tyres with the circuit completely dry and at one stage they occupied the top two places on the timesheets.

Only eight minutes remained when Dovizioso thrilled the large number of Tech 3 Yamaha fans in the crowd by powering his YZR-M1 machine to a lap of 1.34.099. That moved him to the top of the timesheets by almost 0.9s.

He was able to improve his pace to a 1.33.976, which secured him a richly deserved first front row start as a Yamaha rider and he was only 0.035s behind reigning World Champion Casey Stoner in second.

British rider Crutchlow also led the leaderboard in the early stages and he came close to claiming a third front row start of the season after another outstanding qualifying display.

He was in eighth place when a lap of 1.34.178 elevated him to the front row. Despite the 26-year-old’s best efforts to improve his pace he will start from the middle of the second row in fifth place, his best time just over 0.2s from Dovizioso.

Andrea Dovizioso
Position 3rd – Time 1.33.976 – Laps 23
“I am really happy to be on the front row for the first time with Tech 3 and Yamaha. We have done a great job all weekend. I have been fast in every session and even in the tricky conditions at the start of qualifying I was very competitive and strong and the times were coming really easily. I am particularly happy to be on the front row because a small problem meant I was not able to be on track for the final five minutes of the session. That is the period when you improve your time and it was a pity that I couldn’t battle in the final stages because I’m sure I had a chance of getting pole position. So to be on the front row despite not riding in the last five minutes is fantastic and I am very confident for the race tomorrow. I’m sure I have the pace to stay at the front and I am very happy to be on the front in the Tech 3 Team’s home race. I will do my best for Tech 3 and our main sponsor and event sponsor Monster.”
Cal Crutchlow
Position 5th – Time 1.34.178 – Laps 22
“I can’t be disappointed to have qualified in fifth position but I think I could have chal lenged for pole position had things gone my way. I made a couple of small mistakes on my fast laps right at the end and that cost me a little bit of time. And we didn’t have the best set-up with the bike. We made some modifications for qualifying but with the conditions wet and damp at the start, we couldn’t tell if it was an improvement and in hindsight it would have been better to stay with the setting I ran this morning. We are not sure what is in store with the weather tomorrow but I am happy with the job we did today and once again we are very close to the front and I’m really looking forward to a good fight in the race. Andrea did a good job today and it is great to have both Tech 3 Yamaha riders competing for the front row. Hopefully we can both have a strong result for Tech 3 and Monster tomorrow.”

2012 MotoGP France
Le Mans 19/05/2012

1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.638
2 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’33.941
3 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 1’33.976
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’34.104
5 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’34.178
6 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’34.669
7 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’34.907
8 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’34.922
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’34.950
10 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’35.250
11 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’35.291
11 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’35.694
13 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’35.862
14 Michele Pirro FTR ITA 1’36.646
15 Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 1’37.202


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