Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's qualifying at Valencia:
Marquez logs record time on route to 9th pole of the season with Pedrosa in 3rd
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will start tomorrow’s Championship deciding race from pole position for the ninth time this season, his fifteenth (twelfth successive) front row start of 2013, with teammate Dani Pedrosa starting from third position.
It’s been another strong day for the Spanish duo, with Marc recording the fastest ever lap here on two wheels in this morning’s FP3 session with a 1’30.803 (beating Dani’s pole lap from 2012 of 1’30.844). However, both riders bettered this time again in Q2 with Marc coming out on top with a blisteringly fast lap of 1'30.237 recorded on lap seven of nine. Dani, six time winner in Valencia, sealed his front row start on his final lap of nine with a time of 1’30.663.
Marc, who has a thirteen point lead, can win the Championship tomorrow by finishing in the top fo ur (regardless of Lorenzo’s position).
Marc Marquez 1st 1'30.237
“We are happy, because we have achieved the goal that we had set for today: to be on the front row. In addition, taking pole position in the process, is something that will be very important for us. Tomorrow's race is the most important one of the year and we will be trying to approach it like any other Grand Prix, although it will be difficult because Jorge has a great pace. We will try to pick the best tyres for the race, from two options which are both good, and give 100% tomorrow”
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'30.663
“I am very happy with how qualifying went today, despite not having taken pole. It was an interesting session for me, because I was able to find my pace again after various races in which I was off the front row. On the final two laps I was able to get a spot on the front row for tomorrow, and this is very important. It still wasn't quite enough to take pole position, but I'm happy with the work that we carried out and the step forward that we made. I hope to improve a little more tomorrow and have a good race”
Lorenzo Blazes to Valencia Front Row
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo kept the pressure on today ahead of this weekend’s upcoming MotoGP title showdown, taking second on the grid in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.
The defending world champion tackled the last qualifying session of the year in his usual style, first out onto the track and immediately on the pace. His first flying lap was a scorching 1’30.645, enough to drop under the current lap record and take provisional pole position. Lorenzo then returned immediately to the pits as he developed a technical issue with his number one bike.
He returned to the track with just over six minutes remaining however the problem remained so he was forced to return to the pits again to switch to bike two. He was back out for the final moments and despite a less than perfect set up was able to drop his time further to a 1’30.577 to secure second position on the front row.
Valentino Rossi took a moment at the start of the session to allow the pack to exit, offering clear track for his first hot lap attempt. The nine time world champion then got down to a 1’32.295 before returning to the pits for a fresh rear tyre.
Back on track and the last minutes saw him pick up the pace, dropping under the 1’31 mark with a 1’30.920. The time was good enough to hold provisional third on the front row until a flurry of last minute hot laps from his rivals moved him to fourth.
2nd / 1'30.577 / 7 laps
“One thing is qualifying, the other is the race. We tried our best for pole position but unfortunately bike number one had an issue when we had our second attempt at a fast lap. We went to the second bike but it was an older engine with a different character and it didn’t feel the same. If we make a good start tomorrow we can overtake Marquez and see what we can do in the race.”
4th / 1'30.920 / 9 laps
“I wanted to try for the front row but in the end I wasn’t able to which was a pity. Starting from the fourth position is not so bad. My lap time is quite good, I can go under the 31" mark so I am quite happy. Now we have to work hard and we have to decide the rear tyre for tomorrow so we can stay with the top three. With the soft tyre I was faster but everyone is now worried about it lasting for 30 laps. The hard is safer but we also have to go fast.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very hot qualifying as usual. I think qualifying on the front row is again great. We expected to be faster but our best bike had a technical issue. We need to investigate this. For me the pace is very important, the pace Jorge had in free practice four was very impressive. If he can do that tomorrow in the race he can fight for victory.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“So far we have done a good job. We have speed and consistency so we are ready for tomorrow. We know that it is not going to be an easy race and there is a lot of pressure on everybody. What we have done so far makes us confident and having both riders on the first two rows is important here. We will finalize the settings of the bikes tomorrow morning in warm up and make a decision on tyre choice. We are looking forward to the finale!”
Crutchlow and Smith qualify inside top six for final showdown
Cal Crutchlow will start his farewell MotoGP race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team from fifth position on the grid in Valencia tomorrow after an exciting qualifying session at a packed Ricardo Tormo track.
Also teammate Bradley Smith delivered another sensational qualifying performance and he will start the last round of an immensely impressive rookie campaign just one position behind Crutchlow in sixth on the grid.
Crutchlow and Smith both challenged for a front row start throughout the 15-minute session, which took place in front of packed grandstands ahead of what is anticipated to be a sell-out crowd for tomorrow’s tense title shootout between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
For the first half of the session, British rider Crutchlow was a constant presence inside the top three and under clear blue skies the 28-year-old posted a fastest time of 1.31.113.
That was just over 0.4s away from the top three, but keeping up his incredible qualifying record in 2013, Crutchlow’s pace secured him a top six place on the grid for the 16th time in 18 races.
Smith showed yet another outstanding Saturday afternoon display on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine and a fantastic lap of 1.31.201 rocketed him into the top three with just over two minutes of the session remaining.
The 22-year-old remained on the front row until right at the end of the session when a late flurry of fast lap times dropped him back to the second row ahead of tomorrow’s 30-lap race.
His best lap was only 0.088s behind Crutchlow and he will start from the second row of the grid for the third time this season, aiming to secure a richly deserved top 10 finish in the final World Championship rankings.
Cal Crutchlow 5th 1.31.113 – 9 laps :
“I can’t be too happy with today’s result but I am still optimistic for the race. I need to make some big changes in the warm-up tomorrow morning trying to improve my feeling with the bike. I was happy to qualify in front of Bradley again because he did another great job and hopefully we can have another good battle like at the last race in Japan. It feels strange to think that tomorrow is going to be my last race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team but I believe I can fight for the podium and that would be a fairytale way to sign off and begin a new adventure.”
Bradley Smith 6th 1.31.201 – 9 laps :
“Today has been a bit of a struggle to be honest. We tried a lot of things to improve the bike without any positive results, so for this afternoon we opted for a mix of today’s set-up and yesterday’s when I knew I was strong. As soon as I put the soft rear tyre in I felt really good and I put in a terrific lap. When I saw I was third fastest so close to the end of the session I thought I might get my best qualifying position. But I am really happy to be in the top six again and that equals my best grid position of the season. Hopefully I can get another good start like in the past races because tomorrow will be certainly tough with the hard tyre. I'm confident I will be more competitive and for sure i will give it my all and try to finish as close as possible to the front.”
BAUTISTA CONFIDENT DESPITE CRASH AT VALENCIA
Alvaro Bautista missed out on a second row start at the final round of the MotoGP season at Valencia today, the Spaniard sliding from his Honda RC213V during qualifying practice this afternoon and dropping back to seventh place. After a solid first run Bautista ran into traffic on his second exit and was forced to slow down, meaning his tyres lost temperature and grip, causing him to crash. Bryan Staring made some improvements today but not enough to impact on his grid position and the Australian faces an uphill challenge tomorrow.
Alvaro Bautista (7th 1’ 31” 594) “Unfortunately qualifying wasn't as much fun today as it has been recently but to be honest we were already struggling this morning. We at least managed to make our tyre choice for the race and it looks like we'll go for the soft because it drops off less than the hard. This afternoon I improved my lap time on the first run but then on my second exit I ran into traffic, had to slow down and then on the next lap the tyre temperature had dropped and I lost the front. We start from seventh on the grid so hopefully we feel confident with the bike tomorrow so that we can make up some positions and finish the season with a good result.”
Bryan Staring (23rd 1’34.805) “The feeling with the bike and the track improved today but not enough to make up any positions. Anyway, hopefully we can make some more progress in the warm-up and finish the season off with a positive race.”
Fausto Gresini “The crash wasn't what we wanted because the second row was in our grasp today but unfortunately on his second run Alvaro had to back off because of traffic and then lost grip because his tyre had cooled off. It was a shame but we will try to stay positive and look ahead to a race that I am sure can be good for us. ”
BRADL LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENTS AFTER THE FINAL Q2 IN VALENCIA
Valencia, 09 November: in sunny and warm conditions LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl warmed up for the final Q2 at Valencia placing his RCV on the 8th spot of the grid (1’31.638) head of tomorrow 30-lap race. The German was troubled with front-end issues and could not produce a faster lap time but he is determined to find a solution together with his crew to ensure a positive last race. Today the 23-year-old could count on the special support of Felix Baumgartner (Austrian skydiver) who joined the LCR Team for the ultimate round of the calendar.
“Honestly we expected a better position in the last qualifying of the season but I could not qualify better than 8th position because we still miss confidence with the front. We improved a little bit from yesterday’s sessions but we are still struggling and I was not enough confident to do a faster lap time. Of course we are disappointed but we are strong in some points as we demonstrated in the free sessions so we gathered important data to analyze ahead tomorrow”.
GP de la Comunitat Valenciana: Third and fourth rows for Dovizioso, Hayden
Just as had been the case following yesterday’s first two free-practice sessions, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden ended day 2 at the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana in ninth and tenth places, respectively, and the Ducati Team riders will start from those positions in the last MotoGP race of the season tomorrow.
Dovizioso was able to set a decent pace on both the hard and the soft rear tyre, and he was relatively pleased with his qualifying time. Hayden had a decent performance in the morning free-practice session, but after switching bikes for the afternoon, the American ended up one spot behind his teammate and will start his final race with the Ducati Team from row 4.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro suffered a particularly untimely fall in the first qualifying session and wasn’t able to advance into Q2. The Italian will start the Grand Prix from the seventeenth spot on the grid.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:31.718)
“This is the first time we’ve been able to use the hard tyre, and we managed to do good times; I’m pleased with the lap I did, as 1:31.7 is pretty fast. I was focused and I did it alone, which is always very important. As for the race, we’ll decide tomorrow morning, but we can use either the soft or the hard. If it’s like today or even warmer, we can use the hard with no problems.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:31.870)
“It hasn’t been the smoothest day. For the afternoon, we switched to the second bike, which had a fresher engine in it, and although it ran a bit better, it was also different enough to affect my feeling in some places. Still, the team did a good job today. My GP13 is more comfortable than yesterday, and we fixed some problems. I thought I could go a bit faster than that, and I think I should have. I didn’t do a good fourth split on my best lap, or I would’ve been a bit better for sure. Starting tenth is certainly not easy here, but we’ll try to get a good start and do the best we can.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 17th (1:32.966)
“I’m disappointed because in all the sessions including FP4, I had been close to the other Ducati riders, apart from this morning when I wasn’t confident in the cool conditions. Then I fell on the second lap of Q1 when I lost the front on the uphill before the long corner. It affected my qualifying because I ruined the bike and lost a tyre, and I wasn’t able to make it into Q2. It’s a shame because I could’ve done better and maybe been with the other Ducatis. I’ll start a way back tomorrow, but I’ll try to reduce the gap a bit.”
Sixth row for a still-suffering Yonny Hernandez
Despite his best efforts and his strong determination, Yonny Hernandez didn’t manage to perform to his expectations on the second and final day of practice and qualifying sessions at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, site of the final round of the 2013 season. The Colombian will have to settle for sixth row of the starting grid in tomorrow’s race.
Starting in the morning session, the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider run was slowed by persistent pain in his right hand, despite the invaluable assistance of the Clinica Mobile. His difficulty in maneuvering the bike with the necessary sensitivity was the cause of a pair of crashes that occurred during the course of the day, one at turn 4 during FP4, and the other at turn 12 in Q1.
Yonny ended the day immediately after taking part in Q1, during which he recorded his fastest time of the weekend, 1'32 .966, which placed him 16th on tomorrow’s grid.
Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
"Today I crashed twice. During FP3 I lost grip first with the rear tyre, and then I lost the front and fell. Then in the afternoon session, I was able to brake hard while trying to pick up the pace, but my hand couldn’t handle it. The biggest problem so far this weekend has clearly been with my finger. This morning it was very bad, to the point of not being able to handle the bike, and I obviously paid with my result. Although I had injections, the pain was really intense, and it simply increased during FP4 and Q1. I didn’t have sensitivity in the hand; it was as if I was riding with only three fingers. However, I was able to brake and ride better this afternoon than in the morning and in fact my time improved. I'll definitely try to do my best as always tomorrow, but I really hope to feel better."
Fourth row for Andrea Iannone and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team at Valencia
Andrea Iannone ended the second day of practice for the decisive Spanish weekend at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, with an eleventh place grid slot. He set his time of 1’31.963, his best so far this weekend, at the end of Q2.
After a good start today, which saw Andrea finish the third and final combined free practice session of the 2013 season only four-tenths of a second away from direct access into Q2, the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider continued with the following qualifying sessions. A continuation of yesterday’s set-up work, some changes, and an incisive Q1, helped him to take first place in the session and entry into Q2 about 1 minute from the end. He then remained between 8th and 11th place, a position in which he ended the day.
Fine-tuning work will now continue inside the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team garage in order for the bike and Andrea to be more competitive, faster and more determined for the final race of the season.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“This morning we tried a different setting on the bike to see if it could help me in these sharp turns, but we had no benefits. It was more agile but less stable under braking. We then returned to the work done yesterday, revised it a bit and slowly we got a good time in Q2. I don’t know yet which tyre I’ll use for the race, I like the soft one with which I did most of the laps but the hard one also gave me a good feeling. The fact that I am so close to Nicky and Dovi is very good for me, it gives me confidence because they are my points of reference as well as being very experienced riders. Tomorrow I will try not to let them get away, although it won’t be easy. I think I can expect a good result. We will now analyze today’s data and see what we can do to improve a little bit more. Again I want to thank my team very much for the excellent job they continue to do, and Ducati for the trust that they continue to show in me."
Complicated qualifying for Edwards and Corti at Valencia
NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders Claudio Corti and Colin Edwards will start from the 15th and 18th place on the starting grid for the last race of the final round of the season with their FTR – Kawasaki bike.
Claudio Corti made a fantastic beginning of Q1 by leading in the Top2 for most of the session but unfortunately was unable to qualify for Q2 after he enter the pits to change tire seven minutes before the end of the session, had an electrical problem on his bike 1 and was forced to use bike 2.
Colin Edwards was able to improve his lap times today after solving the problems that he encountered yesterday morning. The unfortunate choice of soft tire for qualifying prevented him from making the lap times that both him and the team had set themselves as a goal for today.
Both NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders remain confident and believe they can put up a good fight for best CRT tomorrow knowing that they have a good race pace.
“This was not the qualifying that we were looking for. Yesterday I had a problem turning the bike and as soon as we put the hard tire on all the problems went away and actually went faster. We went out this morning and made the bike a little bit better, right there at the end of FP4 we changed the shock, went a little bit harder on the bike turned better. It was our own mistake, we used the soft tire in qualifying when in reality I should of used the hard one. I don’t know why we have too much front-end push, rear has too much grip with the soft tire and I cannot get it turned. We made a little mistake today but the race is tomorrow and we will definitely run the hard tire. We’ve got thirty laps to make our way through the pack.”
“The pace was really good today, I could have improved my lap times by a few tenths but the bike had an electrical problem and wasn’t able to go back out with bike 1. I went back out using bike 2 but I will use bike 1 during the race in the hope that we will have solved the problem in. I can be in the fight for Top CRT and finish the season with a good result.”
“After the good results from the last few races we were hoping for better results for today’s qualifying. Claudio was doing a fantastic Q1 session but his bike 1 had an electrical problem. The bike did not start and he had to use the second bike and was not able to improve his lap times. He could have qualified for Q2 and fight for Top CRT in qualifying in this last race of the season. Colin has a very good race pace with the hard tire but struggled a lot with the soft in qualifying. We will start the race a bit further down the grid this time but we will do our best for this last race before we get to work on the new project.”
FIFTH & SEVENTH ROW STARTS FOR POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR RIDERS
Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet, 14th and 20th respectively, will fight for good race results to conclude the season
The end of the season is here and there are titles to be won, along with some farewells to be said. On the second day of the Valencia GP the tension increased and a tight qualifying battle was fought. Tight that was from pole position downwards as Marc Marquez ran away with top spot, whilst his competitors fought for scraps. Lorenzo gave it his best shot but his Spanish rival stepped up the pace at the end of Q2, Marquez taking 0.4s off his best lap and setting a new pole record at the death. The two title rivals will start the race together at the front, so it’s time for everyone else to sit back and enjoy the race.
The two POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders did their best, but did not get the luck or rewards they wished for, even though they had a special guest in attendance today - Valencia CF footballer Míchel. Trying a new chassis and comparing it with the existing frame, Aleix Espargaro missed out on Q2 by a fine margin and finished 14th, the second best CRT rider, but is confident of a good race. His teammate Randy De Puniet had continual problems with set-up and finished 20th. He will look for improvements in Warm Up in order to be competitive in Sunday’s final race of the year.
14th Aleix Espargaró 1’32.807: “It’s been strange that this has been the only track of the year so far where we have not matched our 2012 pace. It’s been a tough weekend so far, testing the new bike and struggling to get a competitive set-up on our usual machine. I’m not too concerned because the work ethic of the team is superb and tomorrow I know we’ll be ready to fight as top CRT. We don’t know which bike we’ll use in the race yet, but the objective will be just the same, top CRT and highest position overall as possible.”
20th Randy De Puniet 1’33.869: “This weekend we’re having more problems than usual with the set up of the bike. Yesterday we had some engine brake issues and we’ve tried several solutions without much luck. So tomorrow we need to keep working and fix this situation. I remember that we had similar issues in Aragon and we found the way forward in Warm Up so I hope we can do the same this time. I’m starting 20th, but if we work on some technical improvements I know we’ll still enjoy the race.”
PETRUCCI FIRST CRT RIDER IN VALENCIA'S Q2, THIRD ROW FOR ZARCO IN MOTO2
VALENCIA, November 9, 2013 - The CAME Iodaracing Team celebrates the last day of qualifying of the season with the best result of the year in MotoGP.
Danilo Petrucci riding the Ioda Suter BMW has managed to overcome the obstacle of Q1 to finish in Q2 as the first riser with a CRT. His 1.33.116 is the 12th time overall and the fourth row of the grid. Danilo Petrucci to it is the best qualifying performance of his career in the premier class of the world. Twenty-fifth time in qualifying , however, for Lukas Pesek pointing, the last race of the season, to finish the race in the best possible position .
Third row in Moto2 for the pilot CAME Iodaracing Johann Zarco . The Frenchman and his team managed to find a good set-up for his Suter MMX2 , closing qualifications with time 1.35.412 , which is the eighth fastest time .
DANILO PETRUCCI - MOTOGP RIDER - 12th IN QP2 - 1.33.116 "I am delighted ‘cause ending the last qualifying of the season in Q2 is a dream come true. I got the Q2 before at Sachsenring, but I was not alone on that occasion. I have to say a big thank my team because yesterday we changed the set up and this has allowed me to push play at the highest since the beginning of Q1, getting this beautiful result. I will never stop thanking Giampiero Sacchi, the CAME and the team for this great opportunity that was given to me and I dedicate this result to them hoping to do better next year . "
LUKAS PESEK - MOTOGP RIDER - 25 ° IN QP1 - 1.34.993 - Compared to yesterday things went a bit better with the set up of the bike. My goal now is just to finish my last race of the season without problems. "
JOHANN ZARCO - MOTO2 RIDER - 8th IN QP - 1.35.412 - " I have a good feeling with the bike and I can ride it like I want so I'm satisfied. The team has worked well and I'm sure I can have a good race tomorrow. Now it's up to me make the most of my chances in the race in the early laps above , then when the tires begin to decline after the sixth lap I think I can stay competitive . I want to get a good result to close the best season. "
Marquez storms to pole position at Valencia with new circuit record
Round 18: Valencia MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Circuito Ricardo Tormo, Saturday 9 November 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 17-17°C; Track 19-21°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 28-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez will start on pole position for the championship decider at Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo after the Repsol Honda star set a scorching qualifying lap time of 1'30.237 to beat the existing circuit record by six-tenths of a second.
Marquez took the top spot on the grid for tomorrow’s race from the only other rider who can claim the MotoGP™ championship title on Sunday, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo by just 0.340 seconds. Third quickest in qualifying was last year’s race winner at Valencia, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa whose best time was 1'30.663. Top CRT qualifier at Valencia was CAME IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci who rode brilliantly to qualify for QP2. The Italian rider will line up on the grid in twelfth position.
After a cool start to the morning, temperatures rose in the afternoon and the peak track temperature of 30°C was slightly warmer than yesterday. The similar weather conditions resulted in tyre choice in today’s practice sessions being a copy of yesterday, with a strong preference among the riders for the harder front slick, while rear tyre choice was split evenly between the softer and harder asymmetric rear slicks. Once again, the new specification hard compound rear slick offered to works riders was popular in the practice sessions and will most likely be used by many of the riders on prototype machines tomorrow. The exception was in qualifying, when the desire for maximum rear grip saw almost every rider use the softer rear slicks while attempting to set fast lap times.
The final morning Warm Up session of the year takes place at 0940 local time (GMT +1) tomorrow, before the lights will go out for the championship-deciding race at Valencia at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The good track conditions today allowed teams to build on the work they did yesterday, so the pace today was very quick and riders were able to try out both rear slick options in the practice sessions. The performance of both the softer and harder rear slicks was excellent, so it will be interesting to see what the weather is tomorrow, and what affect this will have on tyre choice for the race. Front tyre choice again saw a clear preference for the harder front slick, so this will be the prominent choice for the race. Using the softer rear slicks in qualifying, we saw the qualifying lap record beaten by a large margin and I am confident that a new race lap record will also be set tomorrow. The build-up to the final race of the season has been positive and everyone at Bridgestone is looking forward to supporting the riders in what should be an exciting season finale.”