Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's qualifying at Phillip Island:
Lorenzo Flies to Record Breaking Phillip Island Pole
Phillip Island (Australia), 19th october 2013
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo became the fastest motorcycle rider ever around the Phillip Island circuit today, taking pole position for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix. The 15-minute qualifying heat began in normal fashion with Lorenzo the first man out on track. Drama immediately unfolded as he collided with a seagull coming over Lukey Heights.
The uninvited passenger did nothing to slow Lorenzo down as he stormed to a provisional pole time of 1’28.681, breaking the pole record set by Casey Stoner in 2008. Rival Marc Marquez was quick to take back the top spot, leaving Lorenzo in second position as he headed back in for the first tyre change with eight minutes remaining of the session.
After allowing most of the pack to enter the track, Lorenzo was back out with four minutes left on the clock. With no seagull to slow him down the Mallorcan was unflappable, dropping under the 1’28 mark with one minute to go and storming to an incredible 1’27.899 second lap for pole position. The time sets a new record as the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle on the Phillip Island circuit.
Valentino Rossi enjoyed another successful qualifying session, delivering his second consecutive front row start with third on the grid for tomorrow’s race. The Italian nine-time world champion was the last rider to leave the pits at the start of the session, waiting to find some clear track for his qualifying efforts. His first laps with the soft tyre were enough to put him in fourth position, 0.817 from provisional pole.
He then returned to the pits with eight minutes remaining for a quick tyre change and was quickly back out with over six minutes left on the clock. Rossi then put the hammer down and dramatically picked up his pace to put in a 1’28.647 to move up a position and take third on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
1st / 1'27.899 / 7 laps
“I had an impact with a bird on the first few laps on the bike, luckily we could take it off and I could make a second attempt without a passenger, maybe because of this I went a little bit faster and was able to make pole position. I’m very happy because I pushed to the limit to make the lap and I made a very good time. We have some problems with the tyre because the new asphalt makes a lot of graining; we’ll see if there are decisions from Dorna or Bridgestone tomorrow for the race. If we can make a good start we will try to get away at the beginning.”
3rd / 1'28.647 / 9 laps
“Coming back in Phillip Island with the new surface is fantastic, especially with this weather and this temperature to be back on the M1 is a great pleasure. To be able to push 100% on the soft front tyre is a fantastic feeling. I’m so happy with this position, it's the second first row in a row. It looks like in the last races we have found a better solution for qualifying because at the beginning of the season I struggled a lot. I know the race is tomorrow and especially Marc and Jorge and Dani will be very hard to beat. I have to give the maximum, find a good setting and tyre and try to fight for the podium.”
Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager
“A fantastic qualifying and an unbelievable lap so we are very happy with that. Tomorrow of course is the race and it looks like we have different issues than just one fast lap, we are struggling to decide which tyre we are able to use and get approval to use. This is still in our mind and also in our rider’s. Set up wise we are very pleased and ready to go.”
Massimo Meregalli Team Director
“A really great qualifying result, having both riders on the front row is a great opportunity to start well for the race. We’ve done a great job, the bike has been competitive from the beginning and we have been able to make it even better for qualifying. We had an issue with the tyre so we are now waiting for a decision and we will see how move forward form there.”
Marquez takes eleventh front row start with Pedrosa on second row
MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Marc Marquez, has taken his eleventh front row start for tomorrow's Australian GP with Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, starting from the second row in 5th after another dramatic day in Phillip Island.
Marc, who had a small crash in turn ten in this morning's FP3 session on his first exit with the hard rear tyre, recorded his fastest lap on his second run in qualifying - on lap 6 of 8 with a 1'28.120, claiming 2nd spot on the grid. Dani pushed and took his fastest lap on his final of 9 with a 1'28.748 placing him 5th.
With this 2nd position, Marc has now sealed the BMW M Award for Best Qualifier in 2013. His total of 322 points puts him out of reach from second place Lorenzo on 266, with just 50 points left to take in Japan and Valencia.
Today's hot topic has been tyre degradation as it has emerged that b oth harder option tyres are suffering badly on this new asphalt. The Moto2 class are also experiencing problems and Race Direction have decreased the number of race laps to thirteen in order to allow for this issue. For the MotoGP class, the race has been shortened to 26 laps with a restriction limiting no more than 14 consecutive laps - for the first time a flag-to-flag race under dry conditions, with riders changing the bike at least once to align with Race Direction's decision.
Marc Marquez 2nd 1'28.120
“The goal today was to get a front row start for tomorrow, and we achieved it. We knew that Jorge and Valentino would be very fast over a single lap with the new soft tyre compound, something that they showed today. Jorge, Dani and Valentino have a great pace, but I think I can stick with them. After the issues with tyres the race will now be a flag-to-flag, which for me is the first time so it will be interesting - even if I would have preferred a shorter race but this is the decision from Race Direction. We shall see if in the warmup we can try out some last minute things and then we will give 100%, as always"
Dani Pedrosa 5th 1'28.748
“I'll make no excuses; Qualifying didn't go well for us and I was not able to go fast. However, the practice sessions have been positive for us. Now we have been told that Race Direction have taken a decision to make the race 26 laps with a flag-to-flag. I don't think this is the best option but this is the scenario so we will do our best to prepare for it"
Crutchlow sixth, Smith seventh in breathtaking Phillip Island qualifying
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith will start tomorrow’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix from sixth and seventh respectively after both mounted a strong challenge for the front row in a record-breaking qualifying session.
Crutchlow was less than 0.2s away from registering his eighth front row start in 2013, while teammate Smith was only 0.132s further behind in seventh position on a challenging day at the spectacular Phillip Island track.
Lap records might have been smashed across the board thanks to impressive grip levels from new asphalt at the coastal venue, but concerns have emerged over excessive rear tyre wear from the allocation made available by official tyre supplier Bridgestone.
Crutchlow and Smith were both able to lap just a fraction outside of Casey Stoner’s 2008 pole position benchmark in a record-breaking session that saw factory Yamaha rider, Jorge Lorenzo, obliterate the outright record with a sensational lap of 1.27.899.
Crutchlow’s best lap of 1.28.809 was only 0.061s behind Sepang winner Dani Pedrosa and Smith set a 1.28.941, but unusually high temperatures for the Australian Grand Prix and high grip levels from the new Phillip Island track surface resulted in endurance issues being encountered with all tyre options.
Crutchlow and Smith will now consult with their Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew and Bridgestone technicians over the best selection for tomorrow’s race, which is currently scheduled to run over 27-laps.
Tomorrow’s race is the 16th of this year’s World Championship and is the middle of a flyaway triple-header that started in Malaysia last weekend and concludes in Japan next Sunday.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.28.809 – 9 laps:
“I am pretty disappointed with today’s result because I expected to be higher up than sixth. I wasn’t far off the front row and was pretty close to Valentino in third but the gap to Jorge in pole position is really big and I thought I’d be much closer. I’ve not had enough rear grip and I was lacking confidence to push. I think we can clearly improve the bike and myself. In FP4 I did the whole session on the extra hard tyre on the recommendation of Bridgestone but we know there is a question mark for the race tomorrow. We need to listen to Bridgestone’s advice on what tyre will be raced but I am sure my pace is better than sixth.”
Bradley Smith 7th 1.28.491 – 9 laps:
“It has obviously been quite a confusing day with the soft tyre not being an option for the race tomorrow, but at least we could use it in practice and qualifying. I have been happy with the bike today. It has felt much better and I like how it was reacting. I really concentrated on making sure my first flying lap was a good one and at the end I am really happy to finish with a 28.9 because yesterday I wasn’t even sure if I could get into the 29s. I am not far off the front row at all and we have done a good job. Now we have got to wait and see what happens with the tyre situation for tomorrow’s race because it seems there is a lot of uncertainty around. I am looking forward to the race and my target will be to battle with Cal and Bautista.”
BAUTISTA 0.066 OFF FRONT ROW
Alvaro Bautista missed out on the front row by very little today. At Phillip Island, the GO & FUN Honda Gresini rider was competitive from the very first practice held yesterday morning. Fast and determined, he quickly found a good feeling with his bike and set a good pace. During morning practice today he was forced to use a hard tyre which is not conducive to safety, and which incurs significantly more wear than the soft tyre. To counter a ‘blistering’ problem, the race tomorrow may be a flag-to-flag contest. Bautista hopes that the best, safest decision possible is made, but is much more confident with the softer rubber choice.
Alvaro Bautista (4th 1’ 28” 713) "It was a good day on the one hand and on the other hand a difficult one. The good side was that we put in such a great time that placed us on the second row in fourth position, just a few thousandths of a second off the front row. The tough part was that we were forced to use the hard tyre this morning in order to verify some safety parameters that were far inferior to those of the soft tyre. Now we are waiting on an important decision about whether it will be a flag-to-flag race, and our hope and that we keep a free choice over the tyres, because with the soft rubber we have put in 22 laps and it is much safer for us. It will be an important decision that I hope will be taken with consideration, because I believe that the safety of the riders is fundamental and important, plus we don’t want a ‘false’ sense of competition.”
Bryan Staring (21st 1’ 31” 775) "I could definitely have done better. I have improved, but not enough to gain positions. With the bike I had a lot of confidence, but I wasn’t decisive enough with my laps and did not take full advantage of the soft tyres. It’s too bad, but I'm sure I have a good pace and that tomorrow I should be able to gain the places I couldn’t today.”
Fausto Gresini "Once again, Alvaro shown that he is in good form and that the rider-bike package is competitive. He never wastes a chance to do well. Unfortunately he narrowly missed out on the front row, which was a real possibility. However, we are pleased with the day and at the same time a bit worried about the decision to be made about the race tomorrow. A flag-to-flag race is put in place to comply with certain standards of safety but we have seen that, especially for Alvaro, safety is definitely higher with the use of soft tyres here. For this reason I hope that the decision is as balanced as possible, taking into consideration the sporting side as well.”
Row three for Ducati Team at Phillip Island
Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of nearly ideal weather conditions today at Phillip Island Circuit to both qualify their Desmosedici GP13 race machines on row three for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix.
The American in particular had a good pace throughout the day, and his best lap earned him the eighth spot on the grid. Dovizioso didn’t manage to post a great time in the free-practice sessions and thus had to participate in Q1, but his time in Q2 was good enough to put him one spot behind his teammate.
Due to unexpectedly high rates of tyre wear on the new track surface, tomorrow’s race has been shortened by one lap to twenty-six, and a mandatory pit stop will be implemented so that riders can change bikes. Use of the hard rear tyre is obligatory for MotoGP entrants, and riders may go a maximum of fourteen laps per tyre.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 8th (1:29.295)
“We’ve certainly been a lot closer than usual today, but I was definitely hoping to go faster than that in qualifying. I thought I might be able to get in the 28s, and I really should have, but I didn’t get in a great lap. I made a couple mistakes on my best lap, and Iannone stood me up in one corner and cost us both time. I think using the ‘flag-to-flag’ format is the right choice for tomorrow. Safety is of the utmost importance, but we’ve also got a responsibility to put on a show for the fans.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:29.660)
“The gap is large but considering that we had to do Q1, I’m happy with how we managed the situation. I was able to transfer using the only tyre I had left and then to improve my time in Q2. There was a bit less wind today and riding was easier. We have the same gap as usual, but I’m pleased to have done those times. I could’ve more or less matched Nicky’s time, but I lost the rear in the last corner and nearly high-sided. I had to close the gas and lost at least three tenths. Tomorrow will be an unusual race. It will be the first time we do a ‘flag-to-flag’ format in dry conditions, but it’s the same for everyone. It’s not a problem for me, and I think it will be fun. Let’s hope the weather conditions are good.”
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR HAVE SOLID DAY AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró place twelfth and thirteenth, respectively, in qualifying for Australian Grand Prix
MotoGP qualifying for the Australian GP saw plenty of entertainment and surprise. After Jorge Lorenzo dominated yesterday in the first two free practices and Dani Pedrosa did the same today, qualifying featured the fastest times of the weekend on the newly resurfaced Phillip Island track. Lorenzo hit a seagull in the session, but not even that could stop him from leading the way. Later, Marc Marquez momentarily stole the top spot, but on his last attempt Lorenzo was the only rider to breach the 1.28 mark to take pole, with a spectacular time of 1.27.899. Of the CRT riders, the equality between Colin Edwards, Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargarò suggests a fun race is in store.
Maybe it is because tomorrow he celebrates his 250th GP, but for whatever reason Randy De Puniet has been at his best at Phillip Island since yesterday. This morning he continued to improve on his opening day lap times, and thanks to that went straight into QP2. Feeling great, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider was well prepared for the session, but a crash on the second corner of his opening lap affected his work. He escaped unhurt and took twelfth place on the grid.
Teammate Aleix Espargaró was one place and one row behind. The Spaniard improved his feeling today and, although he could not qualify for QP2 due to traffic, appeared calm and aware that he has a good pace at Phillip Island. He will look to move up the order on race day.
12th Randy De Puniet 1.30.735: "It was wonderful to qualify for QP2. My initial plan was to try to follow the one of the frontrunners to put in a good time. At the beginning of QP2 I was behind Lorenzo and on the second corner I lost the front. It was a shame, because the crash disrupted our plans and we lost valuable time. Then I went out on my second bike, but the feeling was different. I expected more from qualifying and I think we had the pace to reach the third row of the grid. We will not let a setback dampen our spirits though. I think we have done a great job all weekend so far, we have been able to achieve a good result and so tomorrow I will try my best. Tomorrow I will be careful not to make any mistakes try to close the weekend on a high."
13th Aleix Espargaró 1.30.081: "Today we had a bit of bad luck. This morning, when I was completing a lap, I came across another rider in the last sector and that prevented me from improving. I was one tenth off qualifying for QP2. In the afternoon, in QP1, I also had a lot of traffic to deal with. In any case, the most important time is tomorrow, and as we have good pace I'm calm and think we will have a fun race. The bike is working perfectly, we have improved our feeling with it from the first day. We have also tested several front tyres that have allowed us to draw several conclusions. Our times have been positive, similar to those of Colin and Randy who were the fastest CRT riders today. We have a good setup for the race, we have done a great job and I feel very satisfied."
Edwards qualifies as best CRT at Phillip Island
NGM Mobile Forward Racing rider Colin Edwards qualifies as best CRT at Phillip Island. Teammate Claudio Corti will start from the 14th position on the starting grid for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix.
The American rider had been very fast all day today starting in this morning’s FP3 recording an excellent lap time of 1´29.827 allowing him to qualify for Q2. Unfortunately he was not able to repeat his best time due to a crash during his second lap at the very beginning of the session. Edwards was still able to qualify as best CRT finishing the session ahead of Randy De Puniet with a lap time of 1´30.264.
Claudio Corti will start tomorrow’s race from the 5th row of the grid after recording a very impressive lap time of 1´30.530 during Q1. The Italian rider was unable to beat the Ducati´s of Dovizioso and Iannone or fellow CRT rider Espargaro but still managed to be the second best FTR in qualifying today.
The NGM riders have a good race pace and remain confident for the race.
“I love this track, it’s one of my favorite tracks. To be here and have the weather that we’ve had the last couple of days it’s been awesome. My team has done an awesome job; they have put a good package together, played a little bit with some settings this weekend and made the bike better, obviously we have a little issue, as everybody is aware of the tire situation. I did 16 laps today on our hard tire and we have an issue and we don’t seem to be the only ones so we will have to wait and see what race decision is but I’m ready to race tomorrow, feeling good. About the crash, I did my first lap and felt pretty good and on the second lap coming around on turn 11 I had it set on traction control and it was making a noise, it seemed like it timed out or something and gave me power when I did´t want power and it kind of came around and spit me off, but I’m ok, so no problem.”
“The day went well today, this morning we found a few things that work really well for us, we have not been able to make Colin’s lap times, we seem to miss a bit of traction in going out of the corners. We improved the race pace so overall its gone good. I was expecting to do a little bit better and on the last lap I was improving when I found Cudlin, causing me to lose a few tenths but in any case those tenths would have not changed my position on the grid. We will work on improving the traction during the morning for the race and we have yet to understand what will happen with the tires. Nothing is set, anything can happen.”
“For the fourth time this year we have qualified as best CRT. Colin has done a great job today, even if we had some problems with the tires making us start out from scratch with the hard tire today, both this morning and this afternoon he was very fast. This morning changing to the soft tire at the very end of the session we have been able to make it into the Top10 qualifying directly for Q2. Unfortunately Colin crashed during qualifying, if he had been able to repeat this morning’s lap times we could have aimed to start from the 3rd row of the grid tomorrow. Claudio has also done an excellent job and will start from the 14th place, both have a good race pace and we have yet to understand what the situation will be with the tires because there seems to be a problem. Colin has a neck pain andhe is not related to today’s crash, he is currently in the Clinica Mobile getting a massage and hopefully he will be in perfect condition for tomorrow’s race.”
Fourth row for Andrea Iannone and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
Beautiful sunshine and warm spring temperatures accompanied the second day of the Australian GP, which featured free practice and qualifying sessions.
After settling for thirteenth place in FP3, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider Andrea Iannone was forced to take part in both qualifying sessions scheduled for this sixteenth round of the MotoGP World Championship. He finished second in hard-fought Q1, earning a spot in the decisive second session. His fastest time of the weekend, a 1’29.756, was recorded on the penultimate lap of Q2, earning him tenth place.
Tomorrow, as decided by the Race Directions, in order to ensure safety on track, due to a strange decline of the tyres, the race laps will be limited to 26 and the riders will be forced to use the hard rear tyre with which they cannot make more than 14 laps and they’ll then be obliged to return to the pits to change bikes within that period.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“Today was better than yesterday, and we improved again. It was very important to get into Q2, and we did, and Q1 also went well, so I'm happy. I am satisfied with the results we’re getting, we improved steadily during each round and my confidence with the bike also increased. Unfortunately, during Q2 I went long in a corner on my best lap, but that's okay. I had no tyre problems today. I managed to ride well throughout the day. The new asphalt has really changed the track, and riding here now is much more fun.”
Fifth row for Yonny Hernandez and Ignite Pramac Racing Team
Yonny Hernandez concluded a warm spring day of free practice and qualifying at the Australian GP, which takes place tomorrow at the 4.448 km (2.764 miles) Phillip Island Circuit, by conquering a place on row 5 of the grid, after a Q1 session in which he was fifth quickest.
The Australian circuit, however, was a tough test for the Colombian rider. After crashing during the third and final free practice session of the morning, he then high-sided on the exit of turn 2 while taking part in FP4, suffering a minor fracture in his left hand, which partly compromised the outcome of the session.
Nevertheless, the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider is confident for tomorrow's race and is determined to further improve his feeling with the bikeYonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team.
Due to a problem with some riders’ rear tyres blistering during the practice sessions, Race Direction has decided that the race will be shortened to 26 laps, one less than planned, and a “flag-to-flag” format will be used.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“Today was difficult. I didn’t feel comfortable with the hard tyre and in fact I lost the rear in Turn 2 and fell. I didn’t immediately understand what happened, and when I realized, I was already falling. After that it wasn’t easy to pick up the pace again. During the qualifying session, I had a little bit of pain in my hands, and I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted. For sure I’ll go to the Clinica Mobile tomorrow before the race to get some injections, but I hope to get a good result anyway.”
Lorenzo lands new lap record to claim pole position at Phillip Island
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Phillip Island, Saturday 19 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 21-22°C; Track 28-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 24-25°C; Track 40-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo continued to dominate proceedings at Phillip Island this weekend as the Yamaha Factory Racing star set a new outright lap record of 1’27.899 in qualifying today, smashing the existing record by 0.766 seconds to claim his third pole position of the year.
Lorenzo set his record time on his penultimate lap in Qualifying Practice 2, beating Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to the top position on the grid for tomorrow’s race by 0.221 seconds. Joining his teammate on the front row is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi was third quickest with a personal best time of 1'28.647. All riders on the front row lapped under the existing Circuit Best Lap record of 1’28.665 set by Casey Stoner in 2008. The best CRT rider in qualifying was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, the American rider will start in eleventh place on the grid after setting a time of 1'30.264 in QP2.
Conditions were again warm and fine at Phillip Island, though slightly warmer than yesterday with a peak track temperature of 42°C recorded during QP1. For the qualifying sessions all riders selected softer rear slick options, while front tyre choice was more varied, with some riders preferring the superior edge grip of the softer, extra-soft compound front slick, over the slight advantage in cornering stability offered by the harder, soft compound front slick. The majority of riders assessed the hard compound rear slicks – which have been made mandatory for Sunday’s race - in the morning FP3 session and feedback indicates that these have slightly less edge grip, but better consistency than the softer rear slick options. With the new, grippier Phillip Island track surface causing an increase in tyre temperature, the works riders also assessed an extra-hard rear slick tyre Bridgestone brought as a contingency in Free Practice 4 to see if it was better suited to the revised track surface. The findings from this session reveal that the original, hard compound rear tyre that was allocated to the works riders performed better, and it will be this option offered to riders tomorrow.
The next MotoGP™ session is morning Warm Up scheduled for 1140 local time (GMT +11) tomorrow and the Australian Grand Prix will start at 1600.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“With the new, improved track surface at Phillip Island it was expected that we could see a new Circuit Best Lap record today, but to see it beaten by such a margin was a very pleasing result. We could see after FP3 that tyre temperatures were extremely high, so we offered an extra-hard specification rear slick tyre for the works riders to evaluate in FP4. However, this compound option didn’t work as well on the track surface, hence we will be offering our original hard specification rear slick to riders for the race. Both our extra-soft and soft compound front slicks were used today and the feedback from riders was that both options worked well and I expect both of the front slick choices to be utilised in tomorrow’s race. We anticipated tyre temperatures would be higher this year at Phillip Island, but not to the extreme levels we have seen this weekend. After analysing the used tyres after today`s sessions, we have decided that the maximum safe distance that our rear slick tyres can be run is fourteen laps. Following discussions between Bridgestone, Dorna and the FIM on how to best manage rider safety for the race, it was race direction`s decision to make tomorrow`s race a flag-to-flag contest.”