Man-of-the-moment Jorge Lorenzo put in a blistering qualifying display at his home race in Jerez this afternoon to take his fifth pole with Yamaha in MotoGP. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi meanwhile qualified fourth on a blustery afternoon in Andalucia.
It was Lorenzo’s second consecutive pole at this track, having taken the top grid spot this time last year before finishing the race third. After last weekend’s win in Motegi the Mallorcan was disappointed to run into a few difficulties yesterday but all that was reversed today with a few set-up changes and the youngster hit form in style, setting a string of fastest laps this afternoon and looking happily in tune with his Yamaha M1 and Bridgestone tyres. The only rider to get close to him was fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa, who qualified second to set up a mouth-watering Spanish showdown for the partisan 120,000-strong crowd in tomorrow’s race.
Rossi looked the man to beat yesterday but was unable to replicate a similar pace today, struggling to find the same feeling in the windy conditions. The reigning World Champion put in his best lap at the end of the session but was unable to knock Casey Stoner off the outside of the front row and will have to settle for starting at the head of the second tomorrow, directly behind his team-mate.
1st – Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"It’s amazing to have the pole position here again, in my home country. Riding at this track is extra special for a Spanish rider and I felt a great motivation today. Yesterday we had some problems and I was a bit worried but we have worked well in the team and today we managed to resolve everything so that I could ride my Yamaha just how I wanted to. I felt very comfortable and I hope that this will be the same for the race. We’re starting in the best possible position; I know it will be hard tomorrow because everyone is close but I feel confident that we can fight to be on the podium again, as at the last two races. I hope it’s a bit less windy tomorrow though!"
4th – Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"I’m a bit unhappy because we had a few problems and it actually hasn’t been such a good day, it was also very windy which made it more difficult! Yesterday we were very fast from the start and we hoped to keep going like this today but we have lost some feeling and now I can’t ride and push how I want to. At the moment I am not happy with the setting for the race and we need to work hard to understand the situation and try to improve it because we must be stronger tomorrow. Now we will make a long meeting and try to find some solution to try for the warm-up tomorrow."
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
5. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
9. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
10. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
12. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
13. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
14. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
15. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
16. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
18. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
Jerez: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’40.116
Jerez: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’38.189