Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led a popular home country one-two by edging fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in a blustery MotoGP qualifying session ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit in the championship’s return to its European roots.Six days after winning the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi, Lorenzo was on the boil, taking the fast time from Pedrosa with over 13 minutes to go in the 45 minute session.The Spaniard would later lower the time to 1:38.933 mins. and Pedrosa would be close, but the gap remained .051 secs. Lorenzo was also on the pole last year with a lap of 1:38.189 mins.”It’s amazing to get the pole position here in my country, because this GP is special for the Spanish riders and if yesterday we have some problems, today we resolve quite a lot all of them,” Lorenzo, the championship leader, said. “And now we are more competitive and for sure for tomorrow this position is the best we can get.”Said Pedrosa, “First of all I’m very happy because yesterday we didn’t make a good practice and today we improved a lot, so I’m happy with the improvement. Also, to be on front row, it’s very important. And, other than that, I just hope to make a good race”Despite struggling with the high winds, Casey Stoner was the only Ducati rider to show well by completing the front row at a gap of .482 secs. to Lorenzo. Grupo Francisco Hernando’s Sete Gibernau clocked the 12th best time and the final three Ducatis, Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden and Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa, were at the bottom of the 18-rider order on row six.”Yeah, well we know this track hasn’t been the best for us in the past and this morning’s session we felt really comfortable, the bike was working really well; it might not have been on top of the time sheets, but for us at this circuit it’s really good,” Ducati Marlboro’s Stoner said. “And this afternoon’s session with this wind, our fairing’s just basically too big. Helps us in a lot of areas, but also doesn’t help us when it’s in conditions like this. And I was a little bit too far over the limit in these sort of conditions.”We’re happy to be on the front row. I definitely didn’t expect it. I was just trying to get on the front two rows with these conditions, but we managed to. The team did the best job they could and to come away with this, it’s not too bad for the race tomorrow”The second row was led by Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi. Rossi made one final run on the last lap to move up to the front row, but wasn’t able to improve his time. His best was .709 secs. slower than Lorenzo’s.”I’m a bit unhappy because we had a few problems and it actually hasn’t been such a good day, it was also very windy which made it more difficult,” Rossi said. “Yesterday we were very fast from the start and we hoped to keep going like this today, but we have lost some feeling and now I can’t ride and push how I want to. At the moment I am not happy with the setting for the race and we need to work hard to understand the situation and try to improve it because we must be stronger tomorrow. Now we will make a long meeting and try to find some solution to try for the warm-up tomorrow.”Joining Rossi on row two are LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet and Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi.Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards, the last rider on the lead second, is on the row three pole in front of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias.MotoGP Qualifying:1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:38.9332. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:38.9843. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:39.4154. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:39.6425. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:39.8066. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:39.8627. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:39.9268. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:39.9669. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:40.11210. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:40.18511. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1:40.38112. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 1:40.44013. Yuki Takahashi (Honda) 1:40.59914. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:40.67015. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:40.79616. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:40.95317. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:41.23818. Nicollo Canepa (Ducati) 1:41.253
Lorenzo on Pole in Spain
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.