(Saturday, May 02, 2009)
Jorge Lorenzo joined fellow Spaniards Julian Simon (125) and Alex Debon (250) to make it three home boys on pole position at Jerez for the first time in history. You could hear the crowd over the bikes today, tomorrow should be the usual Andalusian craziness. This truly is one of the races to see before you die.
Today’s qualifying was seriously affected by near gale force winds. Ducati riders seemed to have more problems than most even though the old fairing has been slimmed down and frontal area significantly reduced. Casey Stoner got it on the front row and refused to complain about the control front tyre. ‘You have to set the bike up a little differently, deal with it. I could put up a race for the first time at Jerez’.;
Valentino Rossi didn’t and didn’t. The Champ isn’t happy: ‘I don’t feel the front.’
Pressure’s on then? ‘The two Spanish guys have more pressure than me.’
Jorge didn’t look or sound like a man under pressure. ‘Front tyre is so good.’ And the rumours ours about his future? ‘I’m in a good place, when you are fast everyone wants you.’ What about the extra motivation of his old feud with Pedrosa? ‘I try to enjoy every race.’ And Dani’s view? ‘My motivation is to come back [after his injuries].’ He did offer the opinion that there were many makes of motorbike out there, though.
Nicky Hayden is still struggling with the Ducati and its hypersensitivity to change at some tracks and its total indifference to event the wildest adjustment at others. He had a good morning session then got ‘too excited’ for qualifying. Most people–except Pedrosa– are losing all their time in the final sector, the last three fast rights and the final hairpin. Nicky is having trouble getting the thing to turn so is hanging on to the brake to make it turn, thus losing speed in the fast corners, which is death to any lap time.
We now know that the MotoGP2 single engine supplier will be Honda. They are talking about 150hp (presumably measured at the crank) engines. Against expectation, 250cc two-strokes will be allowed to compete next year. Current betting has Ten Kate as the men who will deliver the motors to the MotoGP paddock.
There will not be a control tyre despite this being a class that seems like it is a natural for it. Rumour has it that Michelin are interested in the class, which would be a welcome return. Bridgestone are too busy with other commitments.
Right, I’m off for an early night so I can get back in here to hear Pink Floyd played over the PA at first light. It’s usually Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It has to be heard while supping a cup of nearly liquid chocolate and those funny fried dough sticks like elongated donuts. This really is a great race.
If you see pics of the MotoGP bikes with strange day-glo stripes around the rims, that’s Bridgestone’s way of telling you that the bike is on the softer of the two tyre compounds available. They’re only doing it in free practice for the moment.