Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo continued his stunning return to form today, dominating the time sheets again at the Circuito de Jerez de la Frontera and setting a new pole position record. Teammate Valentino Rossi left it to the last lap to make his move, securing fifth on the grid for tomorrow‘s Gran Premio de España.
After ruling the standings yesterday, Lorenzo continued his strong and consistent pace right from the outset of today‘s scorching hot 15 minute qualifying session. In typically style, he was the first to leave the pits to be guaranteed an empty racetrack.
He moved straight to the top of the standing with his first flying lap, a 1‘38.497, before immediately returning to the pits for a fresh set of rubber with over nine minutes remaining.
A minute later he was back and ready to put the hammer down. He extended his lead with another fastest time of 1‘38.234, but still had some margin left. With just under four minutes left the local hero had a second stop at his box, before starting his final run with less than two minutes on the clock. Having led the entire Q2 session, he saved the best for last when he ended the session by dropping 0,210s under the old pole position record with a spectacular 1‘37.910 lap to secure pole and send a clear message ahead of tomorrow‘s race.
Rossi had a more challenging qualifying. Leaving the pits right behind his teammate, he took fourth on his first hot lap with a 1‘39.179, before dropping three places. As the Doctor was also on a three-stint strategy, he quickly made his way back to the pits to start his second run with a fresh rear tyre and eight minutes remaining.
The nine-time World Champion posted a 1‘38.717 lap to take sixth before, with over four minutes left, he came in for a second time. He returned to the track one and a half minutes later for a final stint. His last last-minute flying lap of 1‘38.632 saw him jump two places up the timesheets from seventh to a fifth place grid start, 0.722 from pole.
A lot of people said that I had a crisis and I was down, it was one of my worst moments, but just two days later I rode this impressive lap time. That shows that in racing you can‘t say things like “this guy is down, he‘s finished” because the next day he‘s going to be at the front. The opposite is true too, you can‘t say you‘re the best, because the next day you‘re at the back, so we have to be humble and work to take profit of the opportunities. We arrived here with everything being fine and we took profit of it every session. Setting the new pole position record is unbelievable. I rode many impressive lap times in my career, but this one is very special. A 1‘37.9 with these temperatures is very impressive and I am very satisfied. Marc will be strong tomorrow as always and the Ducati's too, but the race is going to be another story. However our pace is very good and I feel very comfortable with the softer tyre when it‘s dropping.
This qualifying was not so bad, because we improved one position in the last stint. I had to decide which front tyre to use and maybe I made a mistake. I continued with the soft, but for the second stint the second rear tyre had an issue on the right, so I think I could have done a little bit better. Starting from the second row is not so bad for tomorrow. I am especially happy because yesterday was quite difficult. Today we improved the bike a lot, but we are still not at the top.
MOTOGP ROUND #4 - JEREZ GP - QUALIFYING RESULTS
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1'37.910
2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'38.300
3. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 1'38.468
4. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1'38.539