Jorge Lorenzo secured his fourth pole position of the season at Laguna Seca today for tomorrow’s US Grand Prix despite crashing twice during the qualifying session, the second accident leaving him with an Acromial Clavicular Separation to the right side and a contusion to the right foot. He is hopeful for tomorrow but will be reassessed in the morning before taking a final decision on whether or not to race.
His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi secured second after a last-minute improvement which edged Casey Stoner, who also crashed in the final minutes, into third.
This morning was much cooler than yesterday but Lorenzo continued strongly and topped the time sheets for the second free practice session. Rossi meanwhile struggled a little on the colder track and could only manage third. The sun finally came out at lunchtime and qualifying was run in temperatures more similar to yesterday, Lorenzo quickly claiming the top spot and remaining there for the majority of the session. With twenty minutes to go the Spaniard lost the front at turn ten and slid out for the first time but he was unhurt and raced back to the pits to change bikes. Whilst he was off track Stoner moved into provisional pole but Lorenzo showed there were no ill effects of the crash just ten minutes later by re-taking the top spot.
However with just three minutes to go the 22-year-old crashed again in the same section of the track and was less lucky this time, being taken immediately to the circuit clinic for examination. The damage to his right shoulder area, although painful, is not dangerous and he is hoping to ride tomorrow but will wait until the morning before making a decision.
Rossi found the going today somewhat harder than yesterday and was unable to find the perfect setting for his M1, losing time particularly in the final sector of the 3.6km track. In the last ten minutes the World Champion was constantly improving his time but not enough to move from third position, where he sat behind Stoner and Lorenzo. His last flying lap, although not enough for pole, was an improvement however and he moved into second, 0.167 seconds off his team-mate.
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (P1, 1’21.678, Laps: 27)
"I was trying to push but first I had some traffic and then the tyres were cold, and I wasn’t in the right shape to try to improve my time. I’m disappointed for these two crashes but I am okay and I am optimistic that I will be able to ride tomorrow. Now the American doctors and the Clinica Mobile are working together to try to help me as best they can and make me more comfortable. Thanks to all the American people here for their support!"
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (P2, Time: 1’21.845, Laps: 34)
"Firstly I want to say that I hope Lorenzo and Stoner are okay for the race tomorrow, because it should be a great battle between the three of us. I am happy about this session because we have had two practices today when we haven’t been in perfect shape and we have struggled in some areas, especially in the last sector where we are still not strong enough. I was finding it quite hard to ride at the maximum there today and control the bike how I wanted, so we need to try to improve a bit more. It depends how the other two are but I hope they’re okay and then we can have an exciting race."
Forcada Speaks… (Crew Chief)
"It’s a pity for these two crashes because Jorge was riding very well today. The first one was with a brand new hard front tyre and the second was due to the fact that he made two laps quite slowly and the rear tyre was cold, so when he started riding fast he crashed. Jorge made a very good job throughout the session and the pole position is a sign that he was feeling good. Luckily he is not too bad so we have to just look forward to tomorrow morning, when we can assess his condition and make a decision. Hopefully he will be on the starting grid tomorrow and we will see an exciting race."
Davide Brivio Speaks… (Team Manager)
"The first row is positive but we still have some small improvements to make for the race tomorrow. We’re very close but we can still be better so we will work tonight to try and make another step. It will be hard to check our changes in the warm-up because it will be cold, but we will try our best! Jorge and Casey both had big crashes but luckily it doesn’t look like anything too serious so we hope that they will be fit to race tomorrow. We wish them both our best!"
MotoGP Qualifying Times
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
6. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
9. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
12. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
13. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
14. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
15. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
16. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
17. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Laguna Seca: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’21.488
Laguna Seca: Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’20.700