Lorenzo Takes Pole in Spain

Henny Ray Abrams | June 13, 2009

Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo stole the pole position from teammate Valentino Rossi with just over a minute to go iin Saturday’s 100 degree qualifying session for Sunday’s Catalunyan Grand Prix.Lorenzo and Rossi spent all but about three minutes of the hour sharing the top spot, with Rossi taking it back from Lorenzo with about 20 minutes to run. Then the times started to come down when all of the riders fitted the softer of the two hard rear Bridgestone options.It would take Lorenzo’s best to dislodge Rossi by a mere .013 secs. as the session was coming to a close. His lap of 1:41.974 mins., with 1:13 mins. to run,  was slower than Casey Stoner’s 2008 lap time.”I have a good pace, I do laps, I don’t get tired,” Lorenzo said of riding in the heat. “Only now I am a little bit tired.”But for sure tomorrow will be a difficult race. A lot of laps to remain. For sure Valentino (Rossi) have a good pace. He will be a very, very good fighter. And I think (Casey) Stoner and maybe Dani (Pedrosa) will be there.”The pole was the Mallorcan’s third of the year and comes at what he considers his home track. Lorenzo missed this race last year after a heavy crash in practice.Rossi expected a hard fight on Sunday, “because for sure tomorrow the race will be very, very long, especially with this condition and this temperature. But anyway we wait for the hot for five grand prix and now it’s really hot, for sure. And for sure after five, six laps all the bikes slide and spin everywhere. So it will be a great and hard fight.”But I’m happy about the result because we work well during the practice. I feel confident on the bike. Usually in the first part of the season I was more in difficulty, especially in the practice. So I’m confident for tomorrow, also if we have to fix some small problems.”Behind the dominant Fiat Yamahas came Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) at an interval of .439 secs. to Rossi.Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso leads off row two from fellow Honda rider Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards. Edwards denied himself  a chance to make a late charge by crashing with less than six minutes to go.LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet qualified seventh, one better than Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, with Edwards’  teammate James Toseland ninth. Pedrosa, who was riding with a damaged right leg, ran off the track and fell over in the gravel late in the hour. He was stretchered away, but later walked under his own power out of the medical center.Pramac Racing’s  Mika Kallio (Duc) was tenth in front of the Rizla Suzukis of Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden qualified a disappointing 13th, one below his season best. Hayden had been strong in Friday practice and spent much of the hour in the top ten before dropping down the order in the final minutes.

MotoGP Qualifying:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:41.974

2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:41.987

3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:42.426

4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:42.594

5. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:43.139

6. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:43.168

7. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:43.175

8. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:43.207

9. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:43.223

10. Mike Kallio (Ducati) 1:43.336

11. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:43.365

12. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:43.411

13. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:43.414

14. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1:43.422

15. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 1:43.714

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.