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Lorenzo claims front row start for his home race at Catalunya

Lorenzo claims front row start for his home race at Catalunya

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies managed to escape the threat of rain today and enjoy a third free practice and subsequent qualifying session under dry and sunny conditions. Lorenzo will start the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya tomorrow from the front row in third position on the grid, his team mate Spies taking fourth for a second row start.

Both riders made big steps forward from yesterday with the improved weather; the reigning World Champion Lorenzo finding over a second from day one to wrap up qualifying 0.315 seconds from pole. The improvement from Spies was even more impressive, the Texan finding nearly two seconds today and running as high as second place during qualifying. A front row start was looking possible until a concerted effort by his Mallorcan team mate relegated him to the second row at the end of the heat, just 0.014 seconds behind Lorenzo.

Jorge Lorenzo:
“It has been a tough session today. In the morning it was good but in the afternoon we struggled a little bit. I pushed as hard as I could for pole but it was not possible. The race will also be tough because we are still quite far from the front but not as far as yesterday. If we can take one or two tenths we can fight for something, but I think a win would be a miracle.”

Ben Spies:
“It was a good session although we were missing a little bit of time out there. Looking at the ideal split times it would have put us on the front row. We’re in a good position in fourth all the way to the left of the grid so hopefully we can have a good start and have a good first couple of corners. The bike is working really well and we’ve been top five for most of the weekend. The weather’s looking like it might be ok for tomorrow now so I’m looking forward to the race. It’s been a while since we’ve been consistently quick so hopefully we can make the bike better, we’re going to try some set up changes in the morning and I’m feeling a lot happier on the bike.”

Wilco Zeelenberg,Team Manager:
“Not the best qualifying we’ve had so far. This morning it went well and we made some adjustments after that. This afternoon they didn’t really work out, Jorge was missing some front end feeling so was pushing hard, we need to solve that for tomorrow. Anyway we are happy to be on the front row because that’s important but it’s more important now to solve our front end problem.”

Massimo Meregalli Team Director:
“I’m satisfied with the results, Ben is feeling a lot more comfortable and has a better feeling on the bike, he rode very well in all the sessions and is clearly enjoying riding the bike. It’s very important to start the race from a good position which he has in fourth on the grid. The crew is working really well and Ben is happy with the behaviour of the bike; he is being smooth, fast and consistent which is a good signal for tomorrow. We completed a long run with good pace so now we have to decide which tyre to use tomorrow, other than that we are pretty much set. Jorge is starting from the front row which is very important for his race here at his home track. He will for sure fight for the best result possible.”

Press release courtesy of Yamaha Factory Racing

MotoGP, 2011, GRAN PREMI APEROL DE CATALUNYA, Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

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