After struggling to find a good setup for the first three MotoGP practice sessions that he felt comfortable with, Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and his crew chief Ramon Forcada decided to go back to an old setup that the Majorcan used at Brno when he first tested the 1000cc M1 last year as a last ditch effort to find a solution in qualifying Saturday afternoon. Lo and behold, Lorenzo suddenly found his stride, and quickly proceeded to demolish the lap record at Brno held by Valentino Rossi since 2009. Lorenzo’s expected competition for pole, Dani Pedrosa, who had dominated the free practice sessions prior to qualifying, crashed his primary Repsol Honda with barely 15 minutes gone in the session, forcing him to go to his backup bike that, while set up identically, curiously suffered from chatter problems that required a major effort by the Spaniard to just squeak onto the front row.
After struggling in the first...
After struggling in the first three practice sessions, Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo went back to an old setup to find the speed to set the lap record and grab pole position at Brno.
The middle of the Brno MotoGP front row will be occupied by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, the Brit showing impressive form in qualifying while justifying his re-signing with the Yamaha satellite squad for another year (to be teamed up with another British rising star, current Moto2 rider Bradley Smith). Crutchlow was the only other rider to get into the 1:55 range, trailing Lorenzo by just 0.196 seconds.
Pedrosa’s last qualifying lap pushed Ben Spies back to the head of the second row at Brno, with Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovisioso unable to match the British rider’s pace in fifth. Valentino Rossi put the Ducati GP12 in sixth spot, his MotoGP qualifying performance to date on the troubled bike.
“We were searching for something completely much better because we were so lost, very far from Dani this morning especially,” admitted Lorenzo about the team’s frustration in the first three practice sessions at Brno. “So we came back to last year’s setting here when the first time we try the 1000 when I was very fast. And then suddenly in the first lap I felt great again. I was so excited, having so much fun that I keep riding and riding and improve my lap time every time more. Then I stop in the box and try the new fork, and it doesn’t work; so we came back to again the old fork, and I make the fast lap, no? I think apart from the lap that make me be in pole position, I think I have a good pace for tomorrow’s race.”
Cal Crutchlow quickly justified...
Cal Crutchlow quickly justified Yamaha's faith in him for renewing the British rider's contract by taking second spot on the grid.
“Yeah, it’s nice to be in the front row,” said Crutchlow about his second quickest qualifying performance on the Brno MotoGP grid. “It’s good to be back in the front row; in the first races we were there, but now we make again the step, so hopefully we can make a good race this weekend. But we’ve been good in most sessions; we had a small crash, but this is part of racing in Grand Prix I think. Everyone pushes the limit, and we make small mistakes. So tomorrow hopefully we’ll have a good race, and I look forward to it.”
When asked if his new contract had contributed to his speed, Crutchlow joked, “Yeah, but I was fast yesterday, and I didn’t sign the contract until this morning. Yeah, we made a good deal. Yamaha made a big push for me yesterday and last night, so I was very happy with the deal. I can go into the rest of the season happy, and also on to next year, so it’s good to repay them straight away.”
“Yeah, it was good at the end to get front row,” said Pedrosa. “I had a small crash in the beginning. And then I had to use the second bike, and I don’t know why the second bike was chattering a lot. I couldn’t understand why. I try my best, but it wasn’t easy with the chatter to improve the lap time. Basically the setting is good, just hoping to have no chatter tomorrow and have a good race.”
Yamaha's Ben Spies just missed...
Yamaha's Ben Spies just missed the front row when he was pipped at the end by Pedrosa.
Ben Spies looked like he might be on the MotoGP front row at Brno until Pedrosa’s last gasp effort at the end. “It’d be nice to be on the front row, but we set a good time. I didn’t leave anything out there,” said Spies. “Qualifying kind of messed everybody up a little bit with trying to set a fast time in the beginning and the end. We only had one front tire which was a problem so we had to use it at the beginning, take it off, put it back on, and use the new rear tire at the end. I made enough of a mistake that we should have been on the front row, but I didn’t leave much out there. And it’s hard to make a perfect lap for sure; you know, if we would’ve cleaned it up everything I would’ve got another tenth out of it but I'm happy enough, we’re in a good starting position to drive behind Jorge. The pace looks good for us for the race because we’re able to do 56s pretty easily with race tires, so I think it should be good and we’ll give it everything we got tomorrow.” Considering his luck the last few races, Spies laughed about making any predictions on his finishing position in tomorrow’s race. “Yeah, I’ve said that a few times and Sunday’s been a disaster,” laughed Spies. “I’m just gonna see how it goes…the goal I guess right now is let’s say top eight, and anything else that happens is gonna be a dream come true at this point with the last few races.”
Valentino Rossi qualified...
Valentino Rossi qualified in sixth spot at Brno, his best qualifying performance to date on the Ducati.
“Yeah, is the best qualifying this year”, said Rossi about his sixth quickest MotoGP qualifying slot at Brno. “We are happy because for sure to start from the second row is more easy. We are able to work well on the bike to improve every practice so this is positive. And we are not so far from the second group. So we have to wait tomorrow the weather, the condition of the track, and try to make a good race. Here the Ducati is better to ride, is good to ride, so we have to try the maximum for bring home a good result.”
MotoGP Brno qualifying results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:55.799
2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1:55.995
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:56.327
4. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:56.331
5. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Yamaha 1:56.559
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati 1:56.735
7. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 1:56.827
8. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 1:57.068
9. Karel Abraham (CZE) Ducati 1:57.773
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 1:57.844
11. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 1:58.153
12. Yonny Hernandez (COL) FTR/Kawasaki 1:59.087
13. Toni Elias (SPA) Ducati 1:59.120
14. Michele Pirro (ITA) FTR/Honda 1:59.387
15. Colin Edwards (USA) Suter/BMW 1:59.863
16. Mattia Pasini (ITA) ART/Aprilia 1:59.865
17. James Ellison (GBR) ART/Aprilia 2:00.316
18. Ivan Silva (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:00.329
19. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/Aprilia 2:00.854