Dorna press release:
The man of the moment in MotoGP, Jorge Lorenzo delighted the home crowd at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in beautiful conditions on Saturday afternoon, as he repeated his 2008 pole for this year’s Gran Premio bwin.com de España.
In stark contrast to the appalling weather at Motegi a week ago, which saw qualifying cancelled altogether, the growing Spanish crowd at the Andalusian track were bathed in some typical Iberian sunshine and the riders only had a strong wind to contend with during the timed sessions.
Lorenzo and his Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa did battle for pole position during the 45-minute session, with the Fiat Yamaha rider eventually emerging on top with a 1’38.933 hot lap on the eighteenth of his 21 turns of the track.
Saturday morning’s fastest rider Pedrosa again demonstrated his improving form and fitness on his Repsol Honda RC212V machine, lapping just 0.051s behind his young compatriot.
Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner, who won the BMW M Award at Jerez in March’s Official MotoGP Test, was around half a second behind Lorenzo; his best effort put him third on the grid at one of his least-favoured tracks.
Friday’s top man, World Champion Valentino Rossi could not match his championship rivals and after a modest Saturday morning free practice outing the Italian qualified off the front row for the first time this year in fourth place.
A good effort from Randy de Puniet saw him as the top satellite qualifier in fifth place for the LCR Honda team, whilst the second line of the grid was rounded off by Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi – who made sure four different manufacturers are represented on the front two rows.
The third row, meanwhile, features Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) was tenth fastest, with Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando) twelfth and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) down in sixteenth.
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alex de Angelis crashed at the end of the session and qualified in fifteentth place, but was not reported to be injured.
An interesting 250cc qualifying practice concluded the Saturday action, with Álex Debón (Aeropuerto Castello-Blusens) making it three Spaniards on pole in the three World Championship categories, following Julián Simón’s 125cc success earlier in the day.
The fans in Andalucia had further reason to cheer, as Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team Aprilia) qualified in second place, edging out the third fastest rider – Metis Gilera’s World Champion Marco Simoncelli – who suffered the second of two Saturday crashes in the session.
Mapfre Aspar’s Álvaro Bautista was the third Spanish 250cc rider notching himself a front row start, whilst the second row will feature Jules Cluzel (Matteoni Racing), Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing Team), Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar Team) and Thomas Luthi (Emmi – Caffe Latte).
The 125cc qualifying session followed the free practice form as Simón took top spot for his home race, with a 1’48.237 best lap. In a great QP for the Bancaja Aspar team Bradley Smith put himself second on the grid, behind teammate Simón with a lap two tenths off the Spaniard’s pace, whilst the team’s third rider Sergio Gadea (Bancaja Aspar) qualified in fifth.
Tucking themselves in behind Simón and Smith were series leader Andrea Iannone (Ongetta Team I.S.P.A) and young Spanish rider Marc Márquez (Red Bull KTM) – who missed last year’s race in his debut campaign due to a preseason injury.
Gadea missed the front row by just 0.024s, but heads the second line of the grid in front of Dominique Aegerter (Ajo Interwetten). Scott Redding (Blusens Aprilia) and Danny Webb (Degraaf Grand Prix) were seventh and eighth respectively, meaning that there are three Britons on the front two rows.