Lorenzo Dominates Jerez MotoGP Qualifying, Takes Pole

Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo

2013 Jerez MotoGP Qualifying Results

Just like last season, Spain will host the most MotoGP rounds of any country – four.

And the first of those rounds occurs at the famed Jerez Circuit, which has been on the MotoGP calendar since  1987. Jerez is special for Spanish fans in 2013, considering it hosts a home race for three of the fastest Spaniards on the grid – the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

With Marquez coming off his debut MotoGP win two weeks ago at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, the 20-year-old RC213V rider was expected to be fast throughout the weekend. Though this was true, during qualifying the youngster could not catch the most beloved Spanish rider at Jerez – Lorenzo.

The YZF-R1 rider, who was honored Thursday at Jerez, and turned 26 Saturday, was complete dominate at qualifying, taking the pole for Sunday’s Jerez MotoGP, round three of 18.

Lorenzo posted a quickest lap of 1:38.673 to take the top spot ahead of Pedrosa and Marquez, making for a 1-2-3 Spaniard front row. Pedrosa qualified 0.247 of a second behind, and Marquez a further 0.298 back.

Lorenzo, who had the final corner of 13 named after him, “Lorenzo Curve,” was quickest throughout the second qualifying session (Q2). For the sophomore season of the 1000cc MotoGP era, qualifying changed. This year, the top 10 riders from the combined first three free practices automatically progress to Q2, joined by the top two fastest riders in Q1. Regardless of how they finish, these top 12 riders will fill the top 12 positions for the race.

This puts additional pressure on the riders, and many crashed during Q2. But not Lorenzo, who lead all but one free practice session.

Lorenzo did his usual when the riders got onto the track for Q2, the two-time MotoGP Champ getting onto the 2.748-mile circuit first, wanting to take advantage of every second. By the time the first five minutes of the 15-minute Q2 session were complete, Lorenzo set the fastest lap of the weekend – a 1:38.876. But he wasn’t done; with two minutes remaining, Lorenzo was down to a 1:38.673, which became his pole time.

When Q2 got underway, the temps were at their peak in Jerez. This prevented many, including Lorenzo, from chasing the record pole lap. The record? A 1:38.139 set by Lorenzo during his rookie MotoGP season in 2008.

Although Pedrosa was able to take the second spot, he crashed during the final minutes of Q2. The RC213V rider wrecked at Turn 8, a fast third-gear corner where speeds are well over 100 mph. Luckily, he walked away unharmed.

Through the free practice sessions, Marquez couldn’t catch the top riders, but this changed at qualifying. The MotoGP rookie, who became the youngest rider to ever win a MotoGP in Austin, qualified in third only a few hundredths of a second behind his teammate.

Heading up the third row is the man who led the third free practice session, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. The Brit was 0.589 of a second off Lorenzo’s pace. It was a tough day for Crutchlow. He suffered a crash at Turn 5 during free practice, and then within the same hour he had another crash at Turn 13 in Q2. Though hurting, Crutchlow was able to finish Q2, posting the fourth-quickest time.

Joining Crutchlow on the second row will be Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. Rossi also suffered a crash at the quick Ferrari Corner with two minutes remaining in Q2. But the nine-time World Champion was able to get to his feet, and give the crowd and medical crews a thumbs up. Rossi would finish 0.627 of a second behind Lorenzo, and Bautista 0.836 of a second back.

Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden will start from the top of the third row. The American was 0.981 of a second off Lorenzo’s pace, and the final rider to post within a second of the leader. Hayden will be joined on the third row by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who arrived in Q2 after being the quickest rider in Q1, and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Rounding out the top 10 and heading up the fourth row will be the fastest CRT rider, Avintia Blusens FTR’s Hector Barbera.

The 23-rider grid – minus Ignite Pramac Ducati’s Ben Spies and Cardion AB CRT’s Karel Abraham, who are both out injured – will return to the Jerez Circuit Sunday for a warm up ahead of the 22-lap MotoGP.

2013 Jerez MotoGP Qualifying Results:

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
199Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha288.21’38.673
226Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda290.81’38.9200.247 / 0.247
393Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda290.91’38.9710.298 / 0.051
435Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha287.01’39.2620.589 / 0.291
546Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha287.11’39.3000.627 / 0.038
619Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda290.61’39.5090.836 / 0.209
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati285.81’39.6540.981 / 0.145
86Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda290.51’39.8471.174 / 0.193
94Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati286.41’39.8481.175 / 0.001
108Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR280.01’39.9801.307 / 0.132
1129Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati285.21’40.0871.414 / 0.107
1238Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha288.11’40.3561.683 / 0.269
1341Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART272.01’40.0850.100 / 0.095
1451Michele PIRROITADucati Test TeamDucati283.91’40.1820.197 / 0.097
1514Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART273.31’40.4660.481 / 0.284
167Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR273.81’40.6540.669 / 0.188
179Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter272.71’40.8520.867 / 0.198
1867Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda271.91’41.3241.339 / 0.472
1971Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki273.01’41.5131.528 / 0.189
205Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki273.41’41.5361.551 / 0.023
2168Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART272.01’41.7791.794 / 0.243
2270Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM274.01’41.9351.950 / 0.156
2352Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter272.71’43.2203.235 / 1.285