Moto GP

Yamaha 1-2, Rossi to start French GP in pole position

Posted:

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi took the 59th pole position of his career and his first of the season today with an authoritative performance in sunny Le Mans.

His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was just five hundredths of a second off his time, as the Fiat Yamaha pair put up a commanding display ahead of tomorrow's French Grand Prix. Spain's Dani Pedrosa was third quickest to make up the remainder of the front row while Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden and Randy De Puniet finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectivlily to make up the second row.

After topping the time sheets yesterday, Rossi was third fastest in the morning prctice with Lorenzo ahead of him in second. In the afternoon temperatures once again soared into the high twenties and both riders looked in menacing form, having already found excellent base settings for their M1s yesterday.

Both had spent time at the top of the standings before the session entered its final quarter and with ten minutes to go Lorenzo went top again, becoming the first man to dip into the 1'33s. The Mallorcan held out for a few minutes before Casey Stoner and then Dani Pedrosa took over but it was Rossi who had the most still hidden up his sleeve, the 31-year-old maestro pulling out a brilliant lap in a time of 1'33.408, a target that proved unassailable in the final two minutes.

Rossi is still worried about his damaged shoulder over race distance tomorrow but he will be doing all he can to take a second win of the year, as will his championship-leading team-mate Lorenzo, when the third round of the season gets underway.

"This weather is really making me very happy, because for once in Le Mans we have been able to use all of the sessions properly and now here we are on pole," Rossi said.

"My setting is good, I feel comfortable on my M1 and Bridgestone tyres and my race pace is not bad either so everything is working out. It's a great pleasure to be on pole and when I looked and saw the lap time I was very pleased with my performance and with how well we had worked, so thanks to all my team. I am still worried about my shoulder because sincerely today after ten or fifteen laps I started to lose power, but I hope adrenaline will take over in the race and that I will be able to arrive fast right to the end," Rossi concluded.
Jorge Lorenzo will start from second spot on the grid
Lorenzo was happy with second and the front row start and feels strong for the race.

"This was another good session and we are very strong, although there are quite a few riders here who are fast with a good race pace," Lorenzo said. "Today I was consistent and I can ride happily at around 1'34.5 so if I can keep this up during the race then we have a good chance. I need to try to get a good start tomorrow and be stronger during the first few laps, then I think I can fight for victory."

Pedrosa‰Ûªs final run put him ahead with three minutes to go, only for Rossi and Lorenzo to better his time by the tiniest of margins. However, Pedrosa, who started from pole here last year, is staying focused on the race, working with his engineers to squeeze some more performance out of his RCV which he will evaluate in morning warm-up.

‰ÛÏAt the end of the session we could put in a good final lap which has put us on the front row, and this is very important because the lap times are very close here," Pedrosa explained.

"For the race we need to find some tenths of a second per lap in order to be able to keep a high pace, and at this track you have to be very focused because the race is long and it‰Ûªs really important to be consistent and not to make any mistakes.
Dani Pedrosa will start his 150th start from the front row after being third fastest.
"Anyway, I think we are in a good position. Now we will sit down with the team and work on the improvements to up our race pace. We‰Ûªve had good weather so far this weekend and it looks like it will continue tomorrow, so we‰Ûªve been lucky this time. From the front row I hope to make a good start and give myself the best chance in the race," The Spaniard concluded.

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will start alongside each other from the second row of the grid having qualified fourth and fifth fastest this afternoon. It is the first time Ducati have had both riders qualify inside the top five at the Le Mans circuit.

Stoner‰Ûªs qualifying effort was only marginally quicker than his race pace, which bodes well for tomorrow, whilst in contrast Hayden admitted he still has work to do after making a notable improvement on the softer rubber.

"We have a lot of work to do to try and get more performance out of the softer tyre because our rivals seem to be able to make bigger improvements on it than us," Stoner said.

"We didn‰Ûªt manage to lap much faster than the times we were doing on the harder race tyre so that is a little disappointing because it would have been nice to start from the front row here but at the same time we know we have a good pace over race distance. In general the bike is going really well, our race pace is more competitive than it was at this stage of the weekend in Jerez so I‰Ûªm confident we can do a good job tomorrow.‰Û

Share Article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Pinterest
Reddit
Email
Print
Action Sports Decals

More News: Latest Headlines

More News: Latest Headlines

Supercross

World Champion Max Anstie Secures 2024 East Coast Supercross Championship Red Plate

Motocross

Jed Beaton Tops The Podium At 2024 New Zealand Motocross Championships Round Two

Supercross

Cooper Webb And Haiden Deegan Win Drama-Filled Arlington Supercross

EnduroCross

Billy Bolt's FIM SuperEnduro Win Streak Continues In Bulgaria

Supercross

Shoulder Injury Rules Evan Ferry Out Of Arlington Supercross

Supercross

Christian Craig To Sit Out Arlington Supercross

MXGP

Mattia Guadagnini Joins The Early Season Injury List

Motocross

Jake Cannon Signs With Factory Honda

MXGP

Liam Everts To Miss MXGP Season Opener

Motocross

Tim Gajser – Motivated for 2024

Dirt Track

Somersby Super TT Meeting Opens NSW Dirt Track Season

Motocross

MXGP Of Patagonia-Argentina Entry List Released

What's On This Week

AMA GNCC - R2
Wild Boar, Palatka, FL
Monday, March 4th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 8
Daytona International Speedway -Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
FIM SuperEnduro World Championship - R7
GP UK, Newcastle
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024

Featured:

First Look At The All New 2024 Beta 450RX

2024 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Enhance Your Bike’s Protection With Force Accessories Custom Clutch Cover

2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory Ride Review

Michelin StarCross 6 – Inspected

Drink Wirelessly with SoleStream

What's On This Week

AMA GNCC - R2
Wild Boar, Palatka, FL
Monday, March 4th, 2024
AMA Supercross Round 8
Daytona International Speedway -Daytona Beach, FL
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
FIM SuperEnduro World Championship - R7
GP UK, Newcastle
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024