Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo kept up his 100% front-row qualifying record for the season with another pole position at his home track this afternoon, his third of 2009. Valentino Rossi made a welcome return to the front row after a three-race absence, qualifying just 0.013 seconds adrift of his team-mate in second place.
After Rossi had ruled the roost in practice yesterday, it was Lorenzo’s turn at the top during this morning’s session while the Italian slipped to third behind Andrea Dovizioso. Temperatures climbed even higher than yesterday throughout the early afternoon and when the Qualifying session began it had reached 38 degrees at Montmeló.
Lorenzo held the top spot for most of the first forty minutes before Rossi sprang into the lead with 20 minutes to go, sparking another entertaining battle which saw the Yamaha pair trading places with Casey Stoner and Dovizioso. For the second race running however it came down to the last couple of laps to decide the final line-up and with four minutes to go Rossi re-took pole. Inside the final sixty seconds however his Mallorcan team-mate edged him off with a stunning lap, cheered on by his home fans. The World Champion’s answering challenge fell just over one hundredth of a second short, leaving Stoner to secure third place a further 0.439 seconds off.
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
Position: 1st Time: 1’41.974 Laps: 29
"The heat was incredible today and it’s going to be very tough doing so many laps tomorrow without getting too tired! I’m so happy to be here on pole in front of my home fans at this track, which I really love. Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult race for everyone and I am expecting a very good fight with Valentino, who has a very strong pace. It looks like Stoner and Dovizioso will be there too so I hope it’s an exciting race for the fans! I have a good rhythm here and I feel very comfortable on the bike so I am just going to stay focused and think about having a great race."
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
Position: 2nd Time: 1’41.987 Laps: 26
"It’s good to be back on the front row after three races off it, so we’re happy about that. Of course I am sorry to miss the pole by such a tiny amount, but anyway we have an excellent pace and I am confident for tomorrow. We’ve been waiting for good weather for five races and now the temperature is maybe a little bit too much, but for sure it’s better than rain for everyone! I think that it will be a hard race tomorrow in this heat and after just a few laps I think the bikes will start to slide a bit, which means that we can expect a great battle and a hard fight! I am happy with the work we’ve done here, I am enjoying riding my bike and the weekend is going well so far. There are one or two small things we can hopefully improve tomorrow, but I am ready to be competitive."
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks…
"This is a perfect day for our side of the garage. For us to start on pole here, at Jorge’s home track, is brilliant and we couldn’t ask for anything more. Jorge clearly has extra motivation in front of the Spanish fans but he did a great job today throughout both sessions and he has an excellent race pace. His last run was very good and he was able to challenge Valentino and take the pole position."
Davide Brivio Speaks…
"It’s good to be back on the front row – this was one of our primary targets for this weekend. It was such a close qualifying battle with Jorge and we’ve only missed out by a fraction so we’re not too disappointed. We have a strong race pace and everything looks good for tomorrow. Let’s race!"
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
5. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
8. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
9. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
10. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
12. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
13. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
14. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
15. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
16. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
17. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
18. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
19. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Montmelo’: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’42.358
Montmelo’: Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’41.186