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Old 09-12-2015, 09:10 PM   #1
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MotoGP Misano qualifying: Lorenzo on pole

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo looked strong on Saturday and qualified on pole position despite being held up by teammate Valentino Rossi on what was looking to be his quickest lap.

After going a half-second faster than everyone but Marc Marquez in FP3, Jorge Lorenzo looked on his way to a fairly comfortable pole position in Misano. However, the Spaniard had his work cut out in the afternoon's qualifying session. As the temperatures rose by almost 30 degrees, the Yamaha rider posted an almost identical best time, while Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa significantly cut the gap from the front. Still, none of them toppled Lorenzo from the top of the timesheets, and he eventually took his third pole position of the season with a record-breaking 1:32.146 lap.

“In my last lap, I could have probably posted a 1:32.0 or go below the 1:32 mark, but Rossi was going slower in front of me and I almost ran into him,” said Lorenzo with a smirk. “I still got pole position, anyway, which is the most important thing.”

In second position, 0.106 seconds slower than Lorenzo, Marquez reinforced his status as the potential referee in a heated, all-Yamaha title fight. The Spaniard, however, downplayed his chances to step in between the Rossi-Lorenzo duel.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez was angry at himself for mistakes during his three qualifying runs that failed to unseat Lorenzo from the top spot on Saturday at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

“It won't be easy to stay with the Yamahas,” he observed. “Especially Lorenzo, who seems to have a small advantage. Our bike moves a lot, particularly with a new tire on, but my pace on used tires is not far from Lorenzo's. We all know he likes to pull away when he's at the front, but I'll try to get a good start and enjoy the fight between him and Rossi from up close, though honestly I'll go about my business and try, if possible, to win.”

After finishing about sixth-tenths of a second behind his teammate during free practice, Rossi pulled a late surge once again to climb back to third position on the grid, lapping only 0.212 seconds slower than Lorenzo. For the occasion, the Italian also unveiled a special graphic on his helmet, portraying a small yellow fish with blue eyes chased by a shark.

“The shark is not just Jorge, but everyone who wants to beat me here,” said Rossi, who holds a 12-point lead on his teammate in the general standings. “Being in first row is really important, but the first corner and the first four laps in general will probably be crucial to determine the winner. That's when Lorenzo and Marquez are usually able to push more than the rest. If they're far after the early phase, then it's impossible to catch them.”

Valentino Rossi managed to find some more speed between Friday practice and qualifying on Saturday, putting he and his Movistar Yamaha M1 on the front row at Misano.

Rossi and Lorenzo also had a misunderstanding in their last shot at pole position, as the Italian was slowing down in front his teammate. No quarrels ensued, even though Rossi received one penalty point from race direction. “At first, I thought I could have improved my lap time, but then I realized I was already a tenth slower,” said Lorenzo. “Anyways, I've been on the opposite side of things in the past and Valentino already apologized, so everything is OK.”

“Yeah, I clearly didn't do it on purpose,” added Rossi. “I looked at the big screen to see if I had time for another lap, and I saw Jorge was coming up behind me but I didn't think he would catch me out of the hairpin. I was trying to move out of his way, it was a honest mistake but I'm happy he still got pole position so it didn't really change anything.”

Given Lorenzo's penchant for an early-escape race strategy, tomorrow's start will likely be crucial in assigning an edge that, at the moment, is not apparent. The Spaniard has won five races this year, leading from the beginning until the end. Tomorrow, however, there are good odds for a head-to-head battle.

“I've already had some great battles with Valentino, mostly in 2009 and 2010, and lost pretty much all of them,” granted Lorenzo with a smile. “But I'm ready, for sure.”

“A close fight against Lorenzo would be good news, because it would mean I managed not to let him pull away,” added Rossi. “Much of the outcome would depend on the day.”

Come tomorrow, Misano will become a ring. The sparring is over, and MotoGP's heavyweights are ready to rumble.

MotoGP Misano qualifying results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:32.146
2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1:32.252
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:32.358
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1:32.434
5. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Team 1:32.736
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha 1:32.801
7. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 1:32.821
8. Andrea Dovisiozo (ITA) Ducati Team 1:32.934
9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Ducati 1:33.169
10. Aleix Espargaró (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:33.187
11. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 1:33.220
12. Pol Espargaró (SPA) Monster Tech 3 Yamaha 1:33.222
13. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1:33.340
14. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:33.439
15. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1:33.710
16. Loris Baz (FRA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha 1:34.093
17. Jack Miller (AUS) LCR Honda 1:34.137
18. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing Ducati 1:34.296
19. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:34.333
20. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:34.368
21. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Honda Team 1:34.468
22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing Ducati 1:34.722
23. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar Honda Team 1:34.732
24. Claudio Corti (ITA) Athinà Forward Racing Yamaha 1:35.385
25. Karel Abraham (CZE) AB Motoracing Honda 1:35.406
26. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion Ioda Racing Aprilia 1:35.684

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