Photography by Gold & Goose
It will be an all Spanish front row for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez as Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who turned 26 today, emerged from a crash-plagued Saturday to win the pole with a time of 1:38.673. Respsol Honda teammates Dani Pedrosa (1:38.920) and Marc Marquez (1:38.971) will round out the front row starters.
For Lorenzo it marks his second pole of the season. He and Pedrosa are now the only riders to start on the front row at every round so far in 2013.
Cal Crutchlow heads up the second row, qualifying fourth on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in spite of crashing twice in the span of an hour. His first crash came in FP4 and then he went down again just as he hit the brakes entering the last turn. Although dusty and needing duct tape to hold his gloves on, Crutchlow managed to get back on his bike and improve on his time.
Bikes and bodies were flying off the track at an alarming rate and many, if not most of the crashes happened in high-speed corners. There were more crashes in the MotoGP class Saturday than anyone could recall in recent memory.
Even the preliminaries on Saturday were crash plagued. Marquez, Crutchlow and Iannone all tipped over in FP4. Then in Q1 it was American Colin Edwards losing the front end and low-siding out of the session. Only Iannone appeared to be injured in the crashes. He needed help to walk away from the crash.
In Q2 Crutchlow started the fall-off parade about halfway through the final qualifying session. He tumbled over and over through the gravel trap, but bounced right up. Then in a hectic closing two minutes of the session Valentino Rossi pitched his factory Yamaha, which then proceeded to do barrel rolls and destroying itself. Rossi was up and OK. Then maybe 10 seconds later it was Pedrosa who went down in the fast turn eight, the diminutive Spaniard fought forever to keep the sliding Honda on two wheels before he finally lost the battle. Hector Barbera, the only CRT machine in Q2, made it yet another faller in the final session.
Nicky Hayden finished the day unscathed and the fastest Ducati rider. The former World Champion qualified seventh with a 1:39.654.
“It is a good present to get this pole position,” Lorenzo said. “I knew the track was difficult because of crashes in Moto2 and the other classifications from practice. So I said, ‘OK, I’m going to try my best in the conditions we have and try to get a better lap. I didn’t get it because I made a mistake in braking and went wide. Anyway they were still very good laps so we have pole position, but I think tomorrow the pace will be much slower so we have to work on the bike to prepare for a good pace.”
Pedrosa explained what happened in his crash. “I was pushing a little too hard in that corner. I don’t know why, maybe the track was a little different and we saw some crashed already in Moto3 and MotoGP. I just lost the front, but fortunately I’m OK. The bike seems quite good for tomorrow. The race is the thing. I hope we can do a good pace for the race and it will be tight. I hope to do a good start and a good race.”
Marquez, who shares the lead in the standings with Lorenzo, downplayed his chances for victory on Sunday. When asked if he could win Marquez smiled and said, “I don’t think so. Anyway we will try to do our best. Today we struggled quite a lot in Free Practice, but in qualifying I tried to do my best and I was quite close. It was better than what I expected before qualifying practice. For tomorrow I have good confidence, but anyway I think Jorge and Dani they are from the start going to be fast. I will try to do my best and to concentrate and do well for my fans.”
Cardion AB Motoracing were not in action for qualifying, as Karel Abraham’s broken right collarbone brought too much pain on Friday. Also on the sidelines is Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies, who since the race in Texas has been advised by doctors to rest in order to rectify an ongoing problem with a pectoral muscle.
Sunday’s 27-lap Gran Premio bwin de España will be on Speed at 8am Eastern.
Spanish Grand Prix qualifying:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1:38.673
2. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1:38.920
3. Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda 1:38.971
4. Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 1:39.262
5. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 1:39.300
6. Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 1:39.509
7. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Ducati 1:39.654
8. Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda 1:39.847
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati 1:39.848
10. Hector Barbera (Spain) FTR 1:39.980
20. Colin Edwards (U.S.) FTR 1:41.536