Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo took pole position today for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Czech Republic with a stunning pace at the Brno circuit.
The Championship leader had struggled to find form in the free practice sessions before reverting to the first ever set up used in the first 1000cc M1 test last year. The change bought immediate results, Lorenzo smashing the Brno lap record with a stunning 1’55.799 time.
Team mate Ben Spies was also on top form for the qualifying session. The Texan was often the fastest man through the first two splits and looked a definite to complete a Yamaha front row for tomorrow’s grid until a last lap effort by Dani Pedrosa moved him to fourth on the second row of the grid. Spies wrapped up qualifying just 0.004 seconds from a front row start.
“We were struggling so much to find the way to set up the bike this morning, we were very lost. Then we went back to the setting we used the first time we tried the 1000 here in Brno last year and it was great. I really enjoyed riding the bike, sliding more as well with less electronics. I just wanted to stay out on the track and just keep riding and riding to improve the lap time,” explained Lorenzo.
The 26-year-old agreed a one-year extension to his contract this morning and he instantly repaid the faith shown in him by Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster to finish second quickest behind World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Crutchlow was able to set a fast and consistent pace right from the start of a session that took place in much cooler conditions compared to the hot and humid weather of yesterday’s practice.
The British rider had already moved into second place with a lap of 1.56.413 when he made a small mistake and crashed his YZR-M1 machine while trying to cut Lorenzo’s advantage of 0.269s.
The spill didn’t knock Crutchlow out of his impressively fast rhythm and he quickly adjusted to a different set-up on his spare YZR-M1 machine to improve his pace by almost 0.5s. His best lap of 1.55.995 was only 0.196s behind Lorenzo and he finished 0.332s ahead of Dani Pedrosa to claim his first front row start since the Catalunya round in early June.
Today’s result continued the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team’s outstanding qualifying record in 2012, with either Crutchlow or starting from the front row in half of the races in 2012.
Dovizioso’s challenge for a sixth podium in eight races will commence from fifth position on the grid. Dovizioso too was in contention for a front row start throughout the session and he finished with a best time of 1.56.559.
That was less than 0.3s away from securing a third front row start of the season for the Italian, who is currently fourth in the World Championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s 22-lap race.
According to Crutchlow, “I am really happy to have scored my best ever qualifying result in MotoGP and the timing couldn’t be better after I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 earlier today. This was the perfect way to immediately repay the faith shown in me by Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster. Once again today we demonstrated what a competitive package we have and that is one of the big reasons why I committed my future to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Yesterday in practice we did a good job to be in contention for the top three and I was confident that we could be very fast and competitive this afternoon. Unfortunately I made a silly mistake about halfway through the session and crashed. I think I hit the only bump on the whole track but it meant I had to finish the session on my spare bike. The crashed bike had my preferred set-up but I quickly adapted and went back out and improved my times by a good margin. I am second on the grid and close to Jorge so I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. It is going to be tough but I am confident we can have a strong result and be fighting for a top five.”