Saturday, September 3, 2011

The reigning World Champion had continued to benefit from the hard work of his crew in the final morning free practice, holding second for most of the session to finally finish third just 0.323 from first. Lorenzo dominated the afternoon’s qualifying session, starting as the fastest rider from the outset before dropping to second with a gap of 0.578 to pole with 11 minutes to go. An extra burst of speed saw him drop the gap to a mere 0.120 seconds behind Casey Stoner on pole. Ben Spies had a more challenging qualifying than his team mate today, spending the final free practice and subsequent qualifying working to improve rear grip levels on his YZR-M1. A last minute effort saw him deliver a fourth place grid start just off the front row, 0.809 from pole. The team will now work overnight to find an improvement for warm up to provide the best possible set up for the race. Jorge Lorenzo: "Today has been a good day for us. We wanted pole position but the first row is a good start for tomorrow. We have tried some things today and in QP we could almost always be in front. The bike is very good after all the great work of my crew and we have a fast pace. I think we can be competitive tomorrow and try to finish in front of Casey so that's our aim. The weather conditions are being very tough this weekend, it might even rain tomorrow. The race will be very difficult in all aspects." Ben Spies: “It was honestly a lot tougher than expected this afternoon. I wasn’t really happy with it We’re trying a lot of stuff with the bike and I don’t feel all that bad riding wise, we just don’t have the right setting yet and we’re not comfortable at a few spots on the track. Some are really good, some are really bad. We had to ride way over the limit to be where we were today. I’m glad we got it done and got on the second row but I’m not happy about how many risks I had to take to get there. The bike’s there, we can see it, Jorge’s going fast and I feel good, we just have to get my setting comfortable. We’ve got all night to work on it and see what we can do for tomorrow. “ Yamaha Factory Racing press release

It was a very hot qualifying session with air temperatures reaching 29 degrees and a track temperature of 39 degrees. Stoner spent the early part of the session working on set up for the hard tyre, when he switched to the soft tyre he was able to record the fastest lap seen at Misano with a 1'33.138 on lap 18.

Dani Pedrosa also spent most of the session working on tyre set up, the Spaniard will be hoping for a strong start and will try to match the race pace of Casey and Jorge ahead of him. Andrea Dovizioso, who made some steps forward in qualifying is happy to start from the second row and will be aiming for another podium finish in front of his home crowd.

All three Repsol Honda riders compared the performance of the soft and hard compound Bridgestone tyres. As was the case in Indianapolis, this will be a key point for completing the 28 lap race.

Casey Stoner:
"It's been a pretty good weekend for us here, steadily improving the bike each session. We struggled a little with the hard tyre this afternoon, trying to find the correct balance but then we made an improvement and got the bike feeling better. Then when we put the soft tyres on, we got a great lap in but the bike wasn't working too well in the front, which is something we need to improve for tomorrow. It will be a tough race, Dani and Jorge are both running very well so I'll try to get a good start but there are a few more overtaking opportunities here at Misano, it's not a track with only one line. The weekend on a whole is going well, tomorrow we'll have to decide on tyres depending on what the weather is doing, hopefully it will cool down a little which would be nice!"

Dani Pedrosa:
"I'm happy with the qualifying session, I spent most of the time working on the tyres, swapping from the soft to the medium compound, trying to find the right one for tomorrow; normally before the qualifying session you have almost decided, but here it's been more difficult because of the weather and track conditions. We were working on that a lot this afternoon and in the last couple of laps I was pushing to be on the front row. We've made it, which is very important here because the first corners are very tight, and the times between the three of us are very close, so that's positive. For race pace, Casey and Jorge are still slightly faster than me, but we will look for something more on the settings tonight and try to be with them tomorrow for whole race."

Andrea Dovizioso: 
“This morning we worked on the set up, reducing the issue of the pitching we had yesterday. This afternoon we improved the rhythm with the hard tyre in preparation for the race. Our target was to start from the first two rows, so the final result is not too bad. Tomorrow it will crucial to make a good start and try to stay with the front riders. Casey and Lorenzo are really strong and Dani is very fast off the start so it will be important to stay with them if we want to gain some points on Lorenzo and control Dani. We will continue working but the good point is that we are more competitive in the race pace than in using the soft compound for the qualifying. With these high temperatures and humidity the race will be really tough tomorrow. I hope that the Italian spectators will give me an extra boost.”

Repsol Honda press release.

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