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Challenging Brno Qualifying for Lorenzo and Rossi
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi delivered fifth and seventh respectively today in qualifying for tomorrow's Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.
Lorenzo has been on dominant form since the first free practice session yesterday morning and a constant presence in the top two positions as one of the fastest riders on track with a highly competitive race pace. This afternoon however the reigning world champion was unable to replicate that form in the 15 minute qualifying heat with too much spinning on the rear tyre holding him back. Despite a promising last lap with initial red splits the Mallorcan had to settle for fifth on the third row of the grid for tomorrow's race after being unable to retain the momentum up the hill to the finish line.
Teammate Rossi shared a similar qualifying experience to Lorenzo. Having been quick to get onto a very competitive race pace early in the weekend practice the Italian was unable to make best use of the qualifying tyres in the quick fire session. Excessive tyre spin prevented Rossi from closing on the front row so he will start from the third row in seventh for tomorrow's race.
Jorge Lorenzo 5th / 1'55.949 / 7 laps
"I waited for much more because I wanted to improve seven tenths or a second from the pace to make a fast lap but I couldn't take profit from the power of the new tyre. We had so much spinning and we went slow. The pace from all the top riders is quite similar so it's going to be important to get a good start and try to overtake some riders at the beginning of the race and then we can see how we are."
Valentino Rossi 7th / 1'56.186 / 7 laps
"At the end I'm not so happy because seventh position is my worst position of the weekend and it was qualifying. I improved my lap time but the other guys were faster. My target was to start in the first five but unfortunately I have to start from seventh on the third row. Anyway, I have a good pace and was always with the front guys in the free practices. Now we have to make some changes to the bike, we have been competitive all weekend so I think and I hope we can be competitive during the race. Yesterday the harder tyre we used was good but today it was no good, maybe because it was ten degrees less, so I think we will use the soft tomorrow."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"A very tight qualifying but of course not the result we wanted to see. A lack of grip on the rear was causing a lot of issues; it looked to be better in free practice this morning as we do have a very good pace. We will try to make the best package possible for tomorrow and go for it."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"The qualifying didn't go quite as we wanted, but we have a good package and the race pace is very competitive for both Jorge and Vale. Of course we will continue working tonight to make it even better and then we are ready for the race. Unfortunately the weather forecast is not good for tomorrow so maybe the work we have done so far will have to change direction to give us a good rain set up. Let's see what we can put together tonight, we will be ready whatever the circumstances."
Record lap fires Crutchlow to stunning pole position in Brno
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow claimed the second pole position of his career this afternoon with a stunning qualifying performance that made the British rider the fastest man ever on two wheels at the Brno track. A stunning lap of 1.55.527 beat reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo's 2012 pole position record of 1.55.799 to secure Crutchlow top spot in qualifying by well over 0.2s.
Crutchlow started QP2 brimming with confidence after a best lap of 1.56.156 saw him set the fastest time in free practice. He was immediately on a blisteringly fast pace in QP2 and his first flying lap of 1.56.081 sent him soaring to the top of the leaderboard.
Crutchlow's sixth lap of the 15-minute session though was a record-breaking stunner, the 27-year-old improving by over 0.6s to secure him a second premier class pole position after he claimed top spot in qualifying at the historic Dutch TT in Assen back in June.
Brno was the scene of Crutchlow's maiden MotoGP podium one year ago and he will start tomorrow's 22-lap race with optimism that he can register a fifth podium in the 2013 World Championship.
Crutchlow's record-breaking exploits showed once again the high level of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team package and today saw another fantastic performance from teammate Bradley Smith.
The rookie equalled his best ever qualifying result by taking a richly deserved sixth position, his best lap of 1.56.014 less than 0.5s behind Crutchlow's scintillating pace and just over 0.1s from securing the 22-year-old a phenomenal first front row.
Smith has been lapping comfortably inside the top 10 all weekend and his best time in QP2 perfectly illustrated the major progress he is making, as he was almost two seconds faster compared to the pace he set in first practice.
Smith has now qualified inside the top 10 for the last five races and he is looking forward to a strong race tomorrow to help him strengthen his challenge for a top 10 position in the World Championship standings.
Cal Crutchlow 1st 1.55.527 - 7 laps :
"I am really happy to be on pole position again and I have to say a massive thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It has not been an easy weekend while we have been working on improving the bike, but in every session we have progressed and got faster. I felt really good on that lap and to set the circuit best lap is a great achievement for the whole team to be proud of. I just pushed as hard as I could and it is nice to take another pole position because I feel this is more of a true pole after Assen. Jorge wasn't in Assen but this time it feels great to be fastest with everybody on track. I am looking forward to the race and the objective is to finish on the podium like last year. It would be great to have a strong result tomorrow so I can go to my home race in Silverstone with some big confidence."
Bradley Smith 6th 1.56.014 - 7 laps :
"Today was another great day for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It is very exciting to have Cal on pole position again and from my side of the garage it is a brilliant achievement to be in the top six. The atmosphere in the team is great and both of us are really looking forward to the race tomorrow. I am less than 0.5s away from pole position and very close to the top three and it shows the progress I am making. We've made some changes to the front-end of the bike and it is really working. Now my main focus will be to remain smooth at the start of the race and not make mistakes like I did in Indianapolis. It is going to be a hard race over 22 laps because this track is very physical and it is very important to keep on a good line. I will try and get a good rest tonight and be ready for tomorrow. Getting a good start like in Indianapolis will be important and then I will try and learn as much as possible."
Brno, 24 August: as announced yesterday by LCR racer Stefan Bradl (who led the first day of practices), today's second outing at Brno race track has been extremely tough for the German and his squad. Bradl was warily happy with his good result on day one and he was completely right because he could only get a third row spot (1'56.477) ahead tomorrow's 22-lap race.
Stefan: "Definitely it's a frustrating day for me and the Team. I am not happy with the bike; actually I am missing edge grip and can not carry the corner speed I would like. Our qualifying session was very tough because I was not able to take advantage of a new rear tyre because I was pushing the front too much into the corner trying to make the lap time. As I opened the throttle I could not use the rear tyre because we had too much spinning. I am not able to make a good exit out of the corners and for this reason we are losing too much time. We are working hard to find a solution but, so far, we are struggling to find a good setting".
Marquez and Pedrosa up the pace
Repsol Honda riders to start from third and fourth on the grid, after qualifying behind Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista at Brno.
It is far from common to see two satellite bikes on the first two positions of the MotoGP grid, but after today's qualifying session, the Czech Republic Grand Prix will feature just that. Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista will head the front row at Brno. World Championship leader Marc Marquez will accompany the duo after setting the third fastest time of the day, followed by Dani Pedrosa, who will lead the second line after taking an important step forward in the qualifying session.
In the two free practice sessions on Saturday, Marquez was able to increase his pace from day one, finishing third in FP3 and first in FP4. Pedrosa was four tenths off the fastest time in both runs, in fifth and fourth place, respectively. In qualifying Marquez, Crutchlow and Bautista alternated positions at the head of the timesheets, but it was the Briton who claimed pole. Bautista was second, admitting that his position owed a lot to a tow received from Marquez on his second attempt at a hot lap.
The World Championship leader could not make the most of his second tyre and did not improve his lap time, which remained 3 tenths off pole. Pedrosa did make improvements, claiming the fourth best time of the session -5 thousandths off Marquez. He will start from the head of the second row tomorrow for the 1pm local time start.
FP3 - 1:56.642, 16 laps, 86 km.
QP - 1:55.868, 7 laps, 38 km.
"The sessions were pretty difficult today, because we had trouble finding a setup that I was happy with. In the last minute we were able to improve the setup, coming up with something that is more suited to my riding and which allowed me to ride more comfortably. Still, the times for everyone have been very close throughout the weekend, so we will have to fight hard. The important thing will be holding up physically, getting a good start and having a good race -whatever the conditions."
FP3 - 1:56.366, 18 laps, 97 km.
QP - 1:55.863, 7 laps, 38 km.
"I'm not entirely happy because I had the confidence and determination to fight for pole! I could not take advantage of the second tyre because there was a lot of traffic and some riders were waiting for a tow. But it is what it is -one day I will look to follow them, another day it will be the opposite! With regards to the race, I feel confident as I'm comfortable on the bike and have a good foundation and good pace. If the race is dry, then I feel ready to challenge for the win."
Long day for Andrea Iannone
At the end of a challenging qualifying day at the Brno circuit, site of the eleventh round of the MotoGP World Championship, the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team sat in eleventh place.
During the morning's FP3 session, which serves as the last chance for riders to bypass Q1, Andrea Iannone was more determined than ever to further lower his best time from yesterday, but with about eight minutes remaining, he lost the front and crashed in turn five. Fortunately, the Italian was uninjured, but he lost out on the chance to transfer directly into Q2, which would have given his painful shoulder a short break.
Following a satisfying final free-practice session, in which Iannone improved his best time by .414 seconds, he began Q1, only to enter turn one too quickly due to cold brakes and run into the gravel. Undaunted, he returned to the track three minutes from the end and jumped to the top of the time sheets, putting him into the final qualifying session.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"This morning I tried to push a bit harder, and I can accept the fact that I fell. In Q1, on the other hand, I was honestly a bit stupid, as I didn't heat the brakes enough on the first lap. When I tried to brake for turn one, I went straight and ended up in the gravel. I tried to slow down as much as possible, but finally I had to lay it down to avoid hitting the air fence. I tried to get going again, but I wasn't able. Fortunately, I got to the garage in time to go out with the second bike, and I managed to get into Q2. My shoulder still hurts, and it certainly didn't help that I fell on it again today. Anyway, I improved my time again, and given my current physical condition, I'm pleased with the work we're doing. I hope I can have a good race tomorrow, because I think it's possible. As always, a huge thank-you to Ducati and the team, who really help me a lot."
Marlboro Ducati MotoGP
Czech Republic GP: Dovizioso ninth, Hayden tenth in Brno qualifying
Following qualifying for the Czech Republic GP, Andrea Dovizioso's and Nicky Hayden's positions were the same as yesterday?ninth and tenth, respectively?but the Italian in particular was happier with his performance than he had been at the end of day one.
Conditions were cooler in the Q2 session than they had been on Friday afternoon, with the air temperature measuring 21º C and the track surface registering 30º (70º and 86º F), and Dovizioso's Desmosedici GP13 gave him a good enough feeling that his final lap put him onto the third row for tomorrow. Hayden, meanwhile, is still unsatisfied with his bike's setup, and he and his team will try to make a positive step in tomorrow morning's warm-up session to better prepare him for the race.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:56.825)
"We knew it would be tough, but it went better than we could've expected before today's sessions. I thought it would be difficult to get under 1'57", but I was able to do it. There was a bit of traffic on the track, so I was waiting to get a free lap, and I managed to do a good time on the last lap. I'm happy because we were able to improve over yesterday, when it was warmer and it was hard for all the Ducati riders. Things went better today, both in the morning and in the afternoon. The weather conditions for tomorrow are somewhat uncertain, but with this temperature we can have a decent pace."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:56.979)
"If I'm honest, today hasn't been as good as we'd wished. We worked extremely hard and tried a lot of stuff to get a better feeling and improve the bike over the bumps and in the turns, but we haven't been able to make any big steps. Maybe I confused myself a little bit too. It's certainly frustrating for the gap to be so big, not just to the front, but also to the group ahead of me. In the morning warm-up, we'll see what kind of a setup we can find for the race."
Records tumble as Crutchlow claims pole position at Brno
Round 11: Czech Republic MotoGP? - Qualifying Practice
Brno, Saturday 24 August 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 22-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 24-24°C; Track 30-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow claimed his second pole position of the season after the British rider recorded a new Circuit Best Lap time of 1'55.527 in qualifying at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Crutchlow set the pole-winning time on his penultimate lap to finish 0.227 seconds ahead of GO&FUN Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista who qualified in second place. Bautista's personal best lap time was also under the existing qualifying lap record, the Spaniard narrowly beating compatriot Marc Marquez who will line up on the grid in P3 after the Repsol Honda rider set a qualifying time of 1'55.863. NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards was the top CRT qualifier for the second race in a row, the American rider qualifying for QP2 and finishing twelfth overall with a time of 1'58.392. All riders in QP2 set their best lap time on the combination of the softer rear and harder front slicks.
Today's weather conditions were fine but slightly cooler than yesterday with track temperatures peaking at 34°C. Riders took advantage of the good conditions to perform race simulations in FP4, with both the softer and harder rear slick options tested in the final practice session. Rear tyre choice for the race could be influenced by tomorrow's weather as some riders may use the harder rear slicks if warmer conditions are present for the race, although the majority of riders seem to favour the softer rear slick at this stage. Front tyre choice for the race is likely to be largely in favour of the hard compound front slick.
Current weather forecasts indicate a chance of rain tomorrow afternoon so there is a possibility of a wet race. The next scheduled MotoGP? session is Morning Warm Up at 930 local time (GMT +2) with the race set to start at 1300.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"That was a great qualifying session and I am pleased that we have had a new qualifying record set in two consecutive races! We had fine weather again today so there was plenty of time for teams to find a good setup for the race, with some riders trying the harder rear slicks in FP4. Although the harder rear performed well, I think this option will only be considered for the race if track temperatures are higher tomorrow. The softer rear slicks also exhibited strong performance as well as good durability, so if the same cool conditions as today occur tomorrow, I think this option will be widely used for the race. Front tyre choice was similar to yesterday's practice sessions with the hard compound being preferred by the majority of riders. There is a chance of rain tomorrow and although personally I hope we have a dry race, we are prepared for whatever the weather brings!"