2011 Portugal MotoGP: Qualifying Quotes

2011 Estoril MotoGP

For the fourth consecutive year, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo piloted his M1 to the pole position at Estoril, Portugal.

When the 17-rider grid began qualifying, there was a threat of rain. In order to get a fast lap in early before the rain, Lorenzo started quickly, and then posted a 1:37.161 to secure to pole.

His pole position has given him the record for most pole-positions across all World Championship classes in the modern era; Lorenzo now has 43. As for MotoGP, Lorenzo’s pole at Estoril was his 17th, and he is now tied with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

Joining Lorenzo on the front row is the man who dominated Friday at Estoril, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli. The final MotoGP rider on the front row is Pedrosa.

The second row consist of a Yamaha and two Repsol Honda prototypes. Casey Stoner begins the second row, followed by Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies and then Andrea Dovizioso.

As for the nine-time MotoGP Champion, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, he will begin on the third row after qualifying ninth.

Following is what the riders were saying following qualifying for Round 3 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship in Estoril, Portugal.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1) says: “Today has been complicated; I’ve got it just by a tenth in the end, managing five good laps with the softer tyre. The most important thing is the race though, not that I have 43 pole position starts. This track is strange to ride on, quite old with lots of holes so you have to ride with care. I need a good start tomorrow, be focussed, intelligent and have good luck. The bike is improving, it’s much better in fast corners but we could be faster on the straight.”

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1) says: “It was a good session for us; we definitely made the bike better after we’ve been struggling a bit this weekend. I knew we were capable of it if we got the bike working with the right set up. We’re not 100% but I’m happy to be in the middle of the second row. Hopefully we can get a good start and put together a good race. I’m definitely feeling a lot better after qualifying than I did yesterday.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11) says: “I’m a little disappointed with my performance today because I expected to get the fifth- or sixth-best time and be on the second row; that was the target. Unfortunately, though, it was a little more difficult than expected, and I wasn’t able to ride like I could yesterday since I didn’t have as much feeling.

“I couldn’t fight for a position that we would have been happier with. I struggled a little with the track conditions, as I didn’t have enough grip, especially on the front, and we’re trying to understand why. For tomorrow, we have to try to improve something with the front setup in order to still have a good race.

“I think the best pace will be around 1:37.5, and I’d be very happy to get in the high 1:37s, but we’ll have to find something in order to do that. I’m not hoping for a wet race, because although it’s true that we might be able to have more fun, racing in the dry makes it possible to understand more. Really, both options are fine.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11) says: “I really thought we had made some good progress yesterday, and I’m certainly not thrilled about qualifying thirteenth, especially when we were third this morning-I liked the sound of that a lot better. This morning we went out on the slicks and had a pretty decent feeling for a patchy track.

“In the afternoon, the track was pretty dry apart from a few patches, but it was definitely cooler and dirty, which didn’t help with the tires. I just wasn’t able to get enough grip, especially in the front and over the bumps.

“I had one front tire that we couldn’t get to come in for some reason, and between losing those laps and coming back in to change it, we lost some time there. We also made a change with the rear to try to get it to turn better, and maybe we went too far and got it a bit wrong. Anyway, that clearly wasn’t good enough, but we’ll give it our best tomorrow.”

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) “There’s a bit of disappointment and there’s no use hiding it because after dominating the two sessions yesterday and then this afternoon the pole position was in my hands.

“Unfortunately I made a little mistake which prevented me from improving my fastest lap. Anyway, turning our attention to the race I have to be happy because my race pace is quick and I am confident with the bike even though we have a little problem with the front.

“The front tire available to us is a little soft for us and moves around a lot so maybe a harder option would have been better. We have improved the grip on the rear so I think tomorrow we can be fighting for the win if not the podium. To be annoyed at not being on pole position is not a bad thing. Tomorrow will be a tough race but I’m ready to fight and give my all.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) says: “The track conditions were really difficult with a lot of humidity out there and it was hard to stay on line. Anyway, I found a good set-up and I was quite confident with the tires – definitely better than yesterday.

“We still have a few small problems but we will analyze the data and try to solve them. I could have ended up with a better position but but unfortunately I made a little mistake that cost me a good lap time and a higher placing on the grid.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “I’m very satisfied with this front row today. It was a very close session as it always is in this circuit and our main target this afternoon was to be on the front row, so I’m happy about this. For tomorrow, we will try to set up our bike a bit better for the race distance.

“I know that physically it will be tough for me because after the recent surgery my shoulder has improved a little but it is still very stiff and the muscles hurt.

“Anyway, I hope to be able to stay with Lorenzo because for sure he will be consistent and that will be one of the key points in the race. The weather is nothing that we can change, so we will need to also be ready to do our best in any condition.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “It was important to start from a good position so I’m happy to start from the second row tomorrow. We worked on the setting and stability in the front improved so I could push more this afternoon, compared with yesterday.

“I rode quite consistently but I wasn’t able to gain some more tenths and lap under 1’38. We have two points we would like to work on tomorrow so I hope that the track conditions are fine during the warm up. Today’s result gives us more confidence for the race after a difficult session yesterday.”

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “Today hasn’t really been that great for us either, this morning’s session was pretty much a waste of time we were just working on our wet setting that we weren’t really happy with in Jerez.

“We improved that situation a little and we can hopefully expect a better feeling next time in wet conditions.This afternoon we continued on from yesterday, trying to find a better balance under braking and mid-turn corner speed but it wasn’t until towards the middle, end of session that we started to make some improvements with the bike.

“Every time I went out the balance didn’t feel correct so we tried to go in another direction, finally we found the right route and we improved a little bit more each run after that, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the qualifying tire like I wanted to.

“When I went out there with the only new tire that we had for the session, I made a few mistakes in the early laps so didn’t really use the best of the tire. I think the race potential is there now and hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow.”

Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing Team GP11) says: “The fact that we’re starting to understand the bike better is positive. I was doing my best lap when I made a stupid mistake: I braked too late, and the bike started to hop. It’s really a shame, because we all could have been more satisfied. The fact remains that we’ve seen progress. We can do well tomorrow.”

Randy De Puniet (Pramac Racing Team GP11) says: “I’m not happy. I don’t have a good feeling with the bike, especially the front. We tried different solutions compared to yesterday, but the result is always the same. The back end is better, but it’s not perfect. We have to continue working and try to solve these problems, because we’re not satisfied.”

Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1) says: “That’s my best qualifying result of the season so far, so I’m happy about that when you consider how strong the field is this year. I gave it everything I had out there even though conditions weren’t perfect.

“There were still a couple of damp patches on the track, especially at the last corner, and I couldn’t take my normal line. It is the same for everybody but in a couple of places where I had to alter my line, it threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. Even with the track a bit patchy I was able to go faster than I managed yesterday, so thanks again to my guys in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.

“They did an awesome job and the bike feels good and in those conditions I don’t think we could have gone any faster. We made a couple of changes to the front in that session and we need to sit down and look at the data to see if I’ll run that set-up in the race.

“We might need to make another modification for the race because I’d still like the bike to turn into the corner a little better. To be right behind the factory bikes is all I can do and my team is doing a fantastic job to help get as close to the front as I am.”

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1) says: “I don’t think I could have gone any faster or put in any extra effort than I did. And if I can keep coming to circuits that I’ve never seen and qualifying inside the top ten, I’m going to be really happy.

“At one point it look ed like I might get my first second row, but to be in between Colin and Valentino on the grid for my first race here, I’ve got to be really happy. I pretty much lost a session too because I only did a couple of laps in the wet this morning. It wasn’t worth taking any big risks and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to finish last.

“It is not easy on this track and I’m finding it quite physical. I’m still having some issues with arm pump in my right arm and to compensate I’m using my left arm a lot and that is stressing the shoulder I had an operation on during the winter.

“There’s no real time to relax and when you’re braking from 200mph to 30mph, it is really physically demanding on the arms and shoulders. I’m really looking forward to the race now and hopefully I can reward the team with a good result after all their effort again this weekend. My aim for tomorrow will be to finish in the top ten and get some more experience of the bike under my belt.”

Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “Yet again I am very happy with what has happened today. This morning was a bit disappointing because the conditions were not very good, as the track was not wet, but it was not dry either.

“We decided not to go out in the third practice because it was too risky and we don’t need to risk anything here this weekend. This afternoon was really my third practice and I was able to start with the same lap-time as yesterday, but my rhythm was a lot more consistent.

“The track was still a bit damp in parts this afternoon, especially the first and last corners and the track grip was not as good as yesterday, so even though the lap-time was the same it meant that I had improved because the conditions were worse.

“At the end of the session my feeling had improved so I was able to push a bit more and I was able to go a second quicker than yesterday, so I am very happy about that. I feel a lot more tired today than I did yesterday, I really noticed the extra 15 minutes in the session.

“I need to recover for the race so I will go to the Clinica Mobile for some treatment and then get some rest. For tomorrow I hope for good weather and my target is to finish the race, I do not care about the position I just want to finish. I know I will suffer because 28-laps is a long way, but it is my target and I want to do it!”

Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V) says: “Unfortunately we are back to our initial set up problems. The track temperature in the afternoon was too low compared with yesterday and we struggled to warm up the rear tire.

“Then we have started to have some front grip issues through the session and I was losing the front in many corners. Yesterday I was more positive about my feeling on the bike but in these conditions I could not warm up the rear tire and I am a bit frustrating now. We’ll see if we can fix this problem because I know I can be faster than this.”