Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo is yet again the man to beat after a thrilling qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez.
Race fans witnessed an incredible 29 changes of provisional pole position as the riders fought it out on ever changing track conditions.
Lorenzo was initially off the pace, running outside the top ten as dark clouds and a damp track threatened to ruin any chance of an improved time.
Some small set up changes and fresh rubber combined with the Mallorcan’s trademark determination saw him climb quickly up to the top spot, a position that was then hotly contested until the last moments of the session. Lorenzo finally beat fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa to pole by 0.135 seconds.
Ducati mounted Nicky Hayden qualified in 3rd place ahead of, Cal Crutchlow 4th and Australia's Casey Stoner in 5th position.
"We are very happy with this pole position because it was a strange session." stated Lorenzo. "There were a lot of water patches and it was very dangerous."
"You had to pay a lot of attention, it would have been easy to crash and get injured." he added.
"Anyway we start in first position so let’s see what happens in the race. Thank you to the team for working hard to keep giving the right set up in changing conditions.” Lorenzo concluded.
Dani Pedrosa - Credit: Honda Racing
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa is feeling comfortable at the Jerez circuit ahead of Sunday's race.
"It was very difficult to know how much to push because there were some wet spots and it was easy to make mistakes." explained Pedrosa."
"Also, after so many laps with wet tyres in the free practices, when you put on the slicks it's like another bike, but you have no time to waste to find a good lap time." he continued.
"I am very happy to be on the front row. We've been riding well here in Jerez at the test and also during all the practice sessions this weekend, both in the dry and wet, but tomorrow we have to be ready for a tough race in any conditions and I want to have a good race here in front of my fans." Pedrosa concluded.
Hayden put his Ducati on the front row of the grid. - Credit: Ducati.com
Nicky Hayden was the leading Ducatti after qualifying with an impressive third place result and will look to carry that form into the race.
"To be on the front row is really good for us." commented Hayden. "The track conditions were quite strange, different compared to what we’ve had the whole weekend."
"It certainly helped that we tested here in the dry not too long ago, as we had a relatively good base setup. We went out hard right from the gun, because we knew some spots of rain were coming.
"In the end, we took advantage of the strange situation and made the front row, so I’m really happy for my team. Now we’ll try to make it happen when it counts tomorrow.” Hayden Concluded.
Australia's Casey Stoner will start from the second row in 5th spot after failing to get in a clean lap late in the session.
"Qualifying didn't go so well." said Stoner. "Conditions have been terrible all weekend, from half dry tracks to fully wet, so we haven't really been able to get any form of setup on the bike."
"It's a little bit disappointing. We had hoped to be on the front row, but with conditions like this I wasn't really willing to push." added the current world reigning world champion."
"There were a lot of people falling off and the wet patches that were there were incredibly slippery. With this said, there is still half a second that I am accountable for and can't blame the track; we're just a little bit off with our settings so we have some work to do tonight." he explained."
"We're not really sure what to expect until we see the weather tomorrow and this makes things pretty difficult.? Stoner Concluded.
Stoner will start on the second row at Jerez - Credit: Honda Racing.com
Final Qualifying Results, Jerez:
1 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 282.1 1'39.532 2 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 283.5 1'39.667 3 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 282.3 1'40.563 4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 281.7 1'40.570 5 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 285.9 1'40.577 6 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 280.9 1'41.090 7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 284.0 1'41.180 8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 286.9 1'41.447 9 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 287.3 1'41.550 10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 265.6 1'41.700 11 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 284.2 1'41.724 12 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 288.8 1'41.871 13 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 282.3 1'42.961 14 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 267.7 1'43.135 15 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 268.2 1'43.363 16 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 266.5 1'44.308 17 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 269.5 1'44.467 18 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 257.4 1'44.645 19 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 261.4 1'44.717 20 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 264.8 1'45.724 21 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 264.5 1'46.200
Main Photo: Lorenzo will start from pole at Jerez. Credit: Yamaha-Racing.com