Rossi takes pole with Lorenzo hot on his heels in France
22.05.2010: Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi took the 59th pole position of his career and his first of the season today with an authoritative performance in sunny Le Mans. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was just five hundredths of a second off his time, as the F
Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi took the 59th pole position of his career and his first of the season today with an authoritative performance in sunny Le Mans. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was just five hundredths of a second off his time, as the Fiat Yamaha pair put up a commanding display ahead of tomorrow's French Grand Prix.
After topping the time sheets yesterday, Rossi was third this morning with Lorenzo ahead of him in second. This afternoon temperatures once again soared into the high twenties and both riders looked in menacing form, having already found excellent base settings for their M1s yesterday.
Both had spent time at the top of the standings before the session entered its final quarter and with ten minutes to go Lorenzo went top again, becoming the first man to dip into the 1'33s. The Mallorcan held out for a few minutes before Casey Stoner and then Dani Pedrosa took over but it was Rossi who had the most still hidden up his sleeve, the 31-year-old maestro pulling out a brilliant lap in a time of 1'33.408, a target that proved unassailable in the final two minutes.
Rossi is still worried about his damaged shoulder over race distance tomorrow but he will be doing all he can to take a second win of the year, as will his championship-leading team-mate Lorenzo, when the third round of the season gets underway at 1400 CET tomorrow. Valentino Rossi - Position: 1stTime: 1'33.408Laps: 30
"This weather is really making me very happy, because for once in Le Mans we have been able to use all of the sessions properly and now here we are on pole. My setting is good, I feel comfortable on my M1 and Bridgestone tyres and my race pace is not bad either so everything is working out.
It's a great pleasure to be on pole and when I looked and saw the lap time I was very pleased with my performance and with how well we had worked, so thanks to all my team. I am still worried about my shoulder because sincerely today after ten or fifteen laps I started to lose power, but I hope adrenaline will take over in the race and that I will be able to arrive fast right to the end."
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2ndTime: 1'33.462Laps: 31
"This was another good session and we are very strong, although there are quite a few riders here who are fast with a good race pace. Today I was consistent and I can ride happily at around 1'34.5 so if I can keep this up during the race then we have a good chance. I need to try to get a good start tomorrow and be stronger during the first few laps, then I think I can fight for victory."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"A good job from us all to get the first pole position of the year. The bike is working well and we only need to make a few small adjustments for tomorrow to be ready to fight. Valentino's shoulder isn't 100% and we aren't sure how it will hold up under race distance but we've done the best we can do to put him in the right position so now we will just have to see how it goes. It looks like the weather could be even hotter so at least we don't have to worry about that!"
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"This was a good session and we're pleased with the way we've worked. Jorge has a good grid spot without the added pressure of being on pole and his race pace is definitely fast enough to allow him to run at the front tomorrow. We hope that the work we did in Jerez will help him with his start and give him a bit more confidence and I'm sure he won't let the others go tomorrow over the important first ten laps."
Edwards on third row, 12th for brave Spies in Le Mans
Colin Edwards and Ben Spies will start the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's much-anticipated home race in Le Mans from eighth and 12th on the grid respectively.
Concentrating on improving the chassis balance of his YZR-M1 machine in today's qualifying session, Edwards gave the large French crowd supporting the Provence-based team reason to cheer when he surged to the top of the timesheets in brilliant fashion with 25 minutes remaining.
The Texan was able to lap consistently in the top five as the session reached an exciting climax. But within striking distance of a top six place after clocking a best time of 1.34.304, he had to settle for eighth position, just 0.100s behind Andrea Dovizioso's factory Honda.
Spies proved he's got the bravery to match the speed in this afternoon's session, which was run in sunny and humid conditions that saw air temperature peak at 28 degrees.
The Texan suffered a big crash in the early stages of this morning's final practice session when he lost control of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine at the entry to the Dunlop chicane. Spies was thrown several metres in the air before landing heavily on the ground. He suffered a badly swollen left foot, but despite discomfort when downshifting and changing direction,
Spies quickly built up his pace and confidence despite missing nearly a whole hour of crucial set-up time.
Only a quarter of the session had elapsed when he broke into the top ten and the 25-year-old continued to defy the pain with a series of consistent laps. But his courag eous efforts unfortunately didn't see him maintain his place in the top ten. A best time of 1.34.920 left him 12th on the grid, though Spies remains confident that he can challenge in the battle for the top six in tomorrow's 28-lap encounter.
Colin Edwards - Position: 8th Time: 1'34.304Laps: 27
"I'm riding as hard as I can but I've only ended up in eighth position. Those guys at the front have dropped half-a-second off the pole time from last year and while I hate to say it, I couldn't do a mid-33. The bike feels good and I feel good but it's just really hard work trying to run the pace of the front group. We have worked really hard this weekend and we seem to have got a fix on some of the problems we've had at the first two races. I'm much more comfortable on the bike and the feeling with the front-end is coming better.
I liked the harder tyre more than the soft tyre today. The soft tyre felt like it moved a little bit too much but the race tyre I feel really comfortable with. Getting into a rhythm quick is going to be the key tomorrow. It is going to be a long and tough race but it is a big race for Tech 3 and Monster, so as always I'll be pushing as hard as I can for a good result."
Ben Spies - Position: 12thTime: 1'34.902Laps: 27
"After missing most of the morning session, I 'm not too upset to be where I'm at. Even injury free I wasn't going to be on the front row or anything like that. I just made a mistake this morning. I definitely wasn't starting a fast lap but I might have been going a little too hard for the rear tyre at the time. When it flicked me, my foot was half off the peg and when it snapped back it just completely rolled the ankle and the knee. There are no broken bones and it's nothing major. The pain level is not that bad on the bike but it i s mainly downshifting gears.
It's a matter of getting my foot back into position for the corner after shifting. I have to move my whole leg to do it. It'll be a little tough race but it won't hold me back. The foot doesn't feel good now but hopefully for 28 laps I can put it out of my mind and get a good result for Tech 3 and Monster.
Circuit Length: 4180 Weather: Dry Lap Record: 1'33.678 (Valentino Rossi, 01/01/2005) Fastest Lap Ever: 1'32.647 (Daniel Pedrosa, 18/05/2008) Last Years Winner: Jorge Lorenzo 2010 MotoGP France - Le Mans 22/05/2010
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1'33.408 2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1'33.462 3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'33.573 4 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'33.824 5 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1'33.845 6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1'34.074 7 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1'34.204 8 Colin EdwardsYamaha USA 1'34.304 9 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'34.306 10 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 1'34.514 11 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1'34.523 12 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1'34.920 13 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1'34.942 14 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1'34.979 15 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1'35.235
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