Jorge Lorenzo set his third MotoGP pole position in as many race weekends. The hour-long qualifying session came to a frantic conclusion as Fiat Yamaha's Lorenzo dipped under the existing lap record to secure pole with this penultimate lap, edging out Ducati Team's Casey Stoner and long-time session leader Randy de Puniet of the LCR Honda MotoGP squad.
Jorge Lorenzo says: "I'm really happy with this third pole position, it seems we're doing a very good job and it's very special to get it at my home round. It was a hard session but finally I was able to do some quick laps at the end with the soft tyre. It is so hot here and I think it's easy to say that tomorrow will be the hardest race so far this season. I will have to concentrate extra hard in this weather and also make sure that my physical condition is the best it can be. The tyres are going to be very important and we still have to make a final choice; before the practice we thought we had chosen but we're not so sure now so we will have to make our final decision tomorrow after warm-up."
Wilco Zeelenberg says: "It's our third pole in a row and we're really happy about this. Jorge was once again very mature today, not getting distracted with an early fight for times but concentrating on finding the best set-up and managing to improve his race-pace before putting in some fast laps at the end. We still need to decide about the tyres because at the moment our choice keeps changing, especially on the rear. They're both good but we will have to wait for tomorrow to make the final decision."
Casey Stoner says: "This afternoon's qualifying practice was the only session we have really struggled in this weekend because everything went well in free practice. We struggled to improve the rear grip and so far we haven't found enough of it. We are fast in the corners and especially on entry but we can't get the tyre to work properly on exit - we don't have grip and it is sliding around. We tried something with the set-up on one of the bikes but I didn't like it so we went back a step. We'll try a couple of new things in the warm-up but other than that I'm satisfied with what we have for the race."
Nicky Hayden says: "We have made a few steps forward this morning in the cooler conditions but in the afternoon we really struggled. We're having the same problems as yesterday - to get the grip we need we have to load the rear too much and vice versa. We tried some little changes with the spring and a few other things without finding a good balance and at the moment it's going to be a demanding race. Starting from the fourth row doesn't help - we have a lot of work to do but hopefully we can find something in the warm-up."
Randy De Puniet says: "I was a bit worried about the track temperature and the edge-grip but from the beginning of this afternoon session on race trim I was one of the fastest out there. Then we could work on race set up playing around with different mappings and electronic and after that I moved on soft tyres lapping immediately in 42.6. I really wanted to get this pole position but Casey and Jorge have been very fast today. I am very satisfied about this third consecutive front row and want to thank my guys for their excellent work. Tomorrow for the race it's a different story and we will have to see how the tyres will drop but we have been working on this since Friday so I am pretty confident. I think this could be the best race of the season for me".
Dani Pedrosa says: "The second row is not perfect but anyway, the position is not a big deal and to be fourth is ok with the lap times so close here. Today we've been trying the tyre options to check which will be the best ones for the race. It will be a tough race tomorrow because of the heat, and also because of the level of our rivals. Also managing the tyre performance so that we can lap consistently at 1m 43s will be critical. We need to work a little more on the chassis set-up because this morning I felt better than this afternoon."
"Anyway, we are better than we were at the last race in Assen in terms of qualifying performance, and we had a strong race there. I'd like to be on the front row and I think it was possible but on my penultimate lap I made a small mistake and this cost me the chance. T4 is still my weak point in the lap - the last hard braking point in particular. We will try to find some thing in the warm-up to fix this. Obviously I want to have a good race in front of all the people who will come to support me and we'll certainly be going for it".
Andrea DOVIZIOSO says: "I'm satisfied with the race pace and I think we are ready for tomorrow. The second row is not the best position to start but being on the front two rows is the important thing. Also, we were using the hard Bridgestone tyre at the end of the session so this qualifying position doesn't truly reflect our potential. For the race there are many riders with a similar pace and we will have to see how the tyre performance goes tomorrow in these hot conditions and manage our race well."
"Today we started the session with the soft tyres to see how they affected the pace and rhythm and I think we will use the hard compound tomorrow because it's really too hot for the soft ones. We need to adjust the electronic controls because the bike is sliding quite a lot - due to the characteristics of this track and also because of the heat. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I really like this track and the atmosphere is always fantastic here".
Ben Spies says: "We did close to a full race simulation at the beginning just to see how it was, check how the bike is going to be in the heat and when the grip drops off. The first ten laps won't decide the race here and that's why I wanted to do the distance run. I was only going to do ten laps but I ended up staying out and doing 20 and we got some good information. I was pretty happy with the performance of the bike and physically I felt great. I tried to put in a couple of quick laps at the end on the soft tyre and I rode really hard to get myself up the grid. I'm pretty upset because Espargaro blocked me. He saw me coming and didn't even move and I was lucky because that was already on my third lap on the last soft tyre I had available. I had to do my fastest lap on the fourth lap on the tyre and I didn't think I'd get as high as fifth and was worried I'd be a lot further down. So considering that, I'm pretty happy with how it ended. It will be a tough race but I'll be giving it my all to continue the momentum I gained with good results at Silverstone and Assen."
Colin Edwards says: "Nobody wants to be down in 11th, least of all me, but I know I am riding better than ever and that is all I can do with the package we have got. It is really tough to go any faster than I am and it is not through a lack of trying on my part and my crew at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Obviously it is unbelievably hot out there and we've spent a lot of time concentrating on getting the bike to work good at the end of the race when everybody is go ing to be chasing grip. If I race with the hard tyre I can probably be fighting for tenth and if I go with the soft tyre then at least I might be able to get in a good rhythm early on and see where we end up. But it is going to be tough and I'll sit down with my crew and Bridgestone tonight and see what they say about tyre choice for the race. I'll be giving it my all as usual but it is a little bit frustrating at the moment. I am so close to the top six on the times but I can't physically ride the bike any harder than I am to get those last couple of tenths I need to be higher up."
Marco Simoncelli say: "I am quite happy because I am convinced that this new chassis and forks are a step in the right direction. The third row is okay although maybe we could have done better so we´ll try to improve our position in the race. I was struggling a little until we put the soft tyre on - I was running well this morning in the cooler conditions but the temperature was much hotter in the afternoon and I couldn´t maintain that pace. I felt better as soon as we put the soft one on so it was a shame we ran out of time to try a second one because I think I could have taken another step forward. Now we have to decide which tyre to use tomorrow."
Marco Melandri says: "Tomorrow will be a tough race considering how much I struggled yesterday compared to today. I was struggling for breath but I think this race for me is more like a training exercise and if I can stay on the bike for the whole distance it will give me a bit of confidence. The heat doesn´t help but once we get into a rhythm I think we can make it to the end."
Fausto Gresini says: "This afternoon was more difficult than this morning but Simoncelli is in a competitive position. This morning his pace was similar to the top guys so hopefully tomorrow he can have a good race. It obviously won´t be an easy race because of the heat but this is another learning experience for him. I can´t credit Melandri highly enough for the effort he is making - it is a miracle that he is on the track so I have to thank him for his dedication and any result will be good for us tomorrow. We all really admire him, we just have to be patient and wait for him to be competitive again in the upcoming races."
Loris Capirossi says: "Overall the weekend has been not too bad and we have been working quite hard all day today. In this morning's session we only stopped once in the hour and we managed to understand many things on the bike. We only changed one thing on the bike today and the team has done a great job to set the GSV-R up for here. I feel good with the weekend so far, but we are still missing a little something, especially in turns 9, 12 and 13. I am struggling a little bit in the fastest points, but it is enjoyable to ride the bike and I think that tomorrow we can have a good race."
Álvaro Bautista says: "I am happy because I have improved on my time and I am lucky that my left arm is ok - it's not perfect, but at least I am able to ride the bike like I want to. This morning we improved the bike and I was happy with the set-up. This afternoon I tried to do a long run with the front tyre, but something wasn't right with the feeling so I had to change it and that resolved things. I tried to follow Lorenzo and I got a couple of good laps, this put me in fourth position for a while - which was good because it was the best I have been in MotoGP. At the finish of the session I made a mistake on my last lap and lost some time, if I hadn't I might have been higher up the grid. I am happy though because this is my best qualifying position and now I want to make a good start tomorrow so I can fight with other riders for the front positions. I really want to have a good race here at my home Grand Prix."
Paul Denning says: "Congratulations to all the team - and both riders - on a fine effort so far this weekend in Catalunya. It is particularly pleasing to see Álvaro back and showing the kind of form that we know he is capable of. For both of the guys to be less than a second off pole - and half-of-a-second off the front row - is a massive step from where we have been recently. It's going to be very difficult for all the bikes and riders in this heat tomorrow, but Loris and Álvaro are up for the challenge and whilst we're very realistic about the steps we've taken and the expectations for tomorrow, we all feel positive that the guys have the capability to put on a good show."
Marco Rigamonti says: "Aleix was not lucky today. On his home track, he was determined to obtain a good result, but he had found during his last exit a lot of traffic and failed to gain the position he deserved. He was very angry when he reached the box. He will have to transform this anger into positive aggressiveness for tomorrow's race. Too bad, but he will still have other occasions to improve in qualifying soon. Anyway, tomorrow will be the day that really counts: if he will have a good start I'm sure that he will give us a great result."
Aleix Espargarò says: "I am disappointed on how the qualifications have gone today. After the result achieved this morning I was expecting a lot more, but it's ok for now. In the last laps I found a lot of traffic and this has made me a little nervous. Some riders have risked to make me fall, but these are the races and it can happen. The most important thing for tomorrow is to start well: the bike is ready and I am as well."
Mika Kallio says: "Things have improved in the afternoon compared to the second practice session, but the final result does not make me happy. Things must change very soon. The Team is working very good and they do not deserve these results. With today's heat the bike was sliding a lot in the rear and for this reason we will try a couple of changes in tomorrow's warm up."
Watura Yoshikawa says: "I think I did a bit better on this second day here in Barcelona, and now that I understood the track more I was able to work on some small setting details and make some adjustments. I think that I can improve even more tomorrow, even though the race will be very hard. I will do my best to stay in touch and use the time to gather as much information as possible, which can help Yamaha in future development."
Davide Brivio says: "Wataru improved his lap time a lot today. It's very difficult for him here; it's a new track, it's very hot and he's been away from racing for a long time, so he's not used to pushing hard in a short time. He has made a big effort and is getting quicker, so tomorrow we will see what happens. We know he will try his very best."
Tohru Ubukata says: "Today the conditions were almost the same as they were here last year and we have the same tyre specs, so there were no surprises and I am happy with tyre performance. Many riders will favour the harder asymmetric rear tyre for the race tomorrow, but I believe that the softer asymmetric rear is also a realistic option. Ben completed a long and consistent run of 20 laps on the softer rear today so I am confident of its race distance durability."I think tomorrow we will see a good comparison in the race between the two compound options. Riders who want better initial grip to get quickly into the rhythm of the race can choose the softer rear slick, whereas those who choose the harder option will have better consistency towards the end of the race."
MotoGP Qualifying Times
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.046
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.410
3. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'42.512
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1'42.592
5. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'42.710
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1'42.866
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1'42.903
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1'42.931
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'42.994
10. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'43.025
11. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.059
12. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'43.068
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1'43.417
14. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'43.621
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1'43.685
16. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 1'45.577
17. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'45.759
Montmelo': Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1'42.358
Montmelo': Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'41.186