It could be said the Yamaha factory team were a little worried before the qualifying session began, both riders were struggling for pace and having issues with grip or chatter.
However come qualifying it was a different story with Jorge Lorenzo briefly holding top spot before finally settling for 3rd on tomorrows grid. His teammate Valentino Rossi was also relatively satisfied with 6th spot and is hoping to be challenging for a podium finish tomorrow.
Jorge Lorenzo stated that “I’m very satisfied and very proud of my lap time. I pushed to the limit and I improved six tenths of a second on the last lap compared to my first try. The soft tyre on the front is much better for our bike. I would like to use it tomorrow, but it will be a long race, so we have to improve the bike a little bit more during the warm-up to be more comfortable with the harder tyres. This year the engine and the clutch are different. I don’t have the same feeling, making it difficult to make similar starts to last year. Starting from third place of the grid is not the best position, because you are too much on the inside for the first corner, but it is still better to be on the first row than to be on the second. It’s a good position. Let’s try to improve the bike for tomorrow and try to stay with the front group during the race.”
His colleague Rossi said “I’m a lot less worried and more satisfied about today, because in both practice sessions we were more competitive and we can fight for top positions. We made good progress with the bike compared to yesterday. Unfortunately I’m not 100% happy about my qualifying, because I could do better. I could have had a little bit more potential to stay at the front, but starting from the second row is not a disaster. It’s good for the race. We have to fix some small problems that I have under braking and corner entry and try to improve for tomorrow. Yesterday we didn’t balance the bike well and I had big troubles with the front tyre, so when I entered the corner I suffered a lot with all the bumps. This circuit has a lot of them, but today the team improved the set up and the balance a lot and we improved the lap times a lot too.”
Finally team boss Massimo Meregalli concluded “Considering the issues we were having yesterday we are satisfied to be on the first and second row. The team worked very hard overnight to find solutions to Friday’s issues and we were able to give both Jorge and Vale a more competitive package today. They’ve also made it count this afternoon and put in a great effort to secure the grid positions. There are two or three good hard braking points were there are overtaking possibilities so we have the potential to have a good race. For sure we still have the opportunity to improve the set up further so we will work to find an extra step for the morning warm up.”