Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Secure Second and Ninth in Soaking Silverstone Qualifying Session

2016-09-03 15:57
Today's qualifying session at Silverstone Circuit for tomorrow's British Grand Prix was a challenging outing for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, as bad weather continues to haunt the MotoGP paddock during the 2016 season. Despite rain dampening the time attack, the Factory Yamaha riders didn't hold back and used all of the 15-minutes of qualifying time to the fullest to secure a solid second and ninth place respectively.

Rossi was eager to start off the session, to avoid traffic and the spray in these wet conditions and headed out of pit lane early. The nine time World Champion started the Q2 cautiously as the rain came in, setting a 2'27.714s lap to move up to sixth. He was pushed back a place when the pace picked up, but gave another push and delivered a 2'22.856s to move up to fifth, which he immediately followed up with a 2'22.269s for third place.

The worsening track conditions caught out various riders, but the Doctor managed to stay out of trouble, despite continuously pushing. Having dropped one place in the provisional rankings, he was determined to make up ground. With two minutes still on the clock, he had just enough time left for two final attempts, but one was all he needed to drop a strong 2'20.263s for second place on the grid, 0.998s off pole.

Teammate Lorenzo was the first to venture out on the soaking track at the start of the session and put in his first hot lap just in time before the rain really started to pelt down. His initial try saw him post a 2'22.192s for provisional pole. He followed that up with three flying laps, but was unable to improve his time due to the flooding track conditions.

With no need to come in for a pit stop, the Mallorcan proceeded his time attack. He held on to sixth place with his brilliantly timed first lap and put his head down during the final minute of the session to better his time by over half a second with a 2'21.687s. However, as various riders put in a hot lap, in the end he found himself in ninth position, 2.422s off the front.

Untitled Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Certainly the rain compromised today's working schedule. We had things to try in an effort to improve the bikes' settings in the dry, because our speed is not as fast as we expected. Furthermore, it looks like the race might be dry. Anyway, we worked quite well in the wet during FP4 and we were able to prepare a solid setting that allowed Vale to do a good 2'20.263, that gave him second place on the grid. Jorge also did well, leading the beginning of qualifying and finishing on the third row. If it's a dry race it will be very important to also have a dry warm-up session as we still have some work to do. Otherwise, in case of a wet race, we are quite ready. We want to gain points on our main rival and we will do as much as we can to try and make it happen. We hope that the weather won't be the decisive factor tomorrow."
Untitled Valentino Rossi
2nd / 2'20.263 / 7 laps

"When we have these conditions it's always difficult, but we were lucky that it was also wet in Free Practice so we could improve the bike and make a better setting and balance. In Free Practice I wasn't very confident, but the bike improved a lot so I felt good for qualifying and I was able to push. Starting from second place is very important for tomorrow's race, but now we have to wait for the conditions, because on the dry we aren't very strong. We need to work, so we wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Untitled Jorge Lorenzo
9th / 2'21.687 / 7 laps

"In FP4 I was quite fast at the end of the practice and the track was drying up. There wasn't so much water, but then for qualifying the water levels got high again. My first lap was without a lot of water so I was the fastest, but then the other riders improved their lap times a lot. With more water on the track I didn't feel confident to further improve my lap time more than 0.5s. This was not enough to be on the second row, but in general we're happy about our progression in the wet. We are much better than in Assen and at the Sachsenring, but with so much water it's not enough to be at the top, so we will keep trying next time in the wet. It looks like tomorrow is going to be dry, so we have to use the warm-up to improve the bike a little bit to be more prepared for a dry race."
Espargaro and Lowes power through the rain in British GP qualifying

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro battled against the British weather to qualify on the fifth row for the round 12 fight at the high-speed Silverstone circuit. The Spaniard began the day by completing 18 laps in FP3, which was more than any other MotoGP rider as he determinedly continued adjusting the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1. Despite his best efforts, he finished the session in 11th which meant that he just missed out on the cut off point for Q2 by 0.110. Later on, the expected rain fell and the Tech3 riders had to contest the remaining practices in wet and windy conditions. Nevertheless, when QP1 commenced, Espargaro got straight to work as he dodged the rain before producing his quickest time of 2'18.871 on the penultimate lap. This performance leaves the 25-year-old in 15th for the start of tomorrow's 20 lap sprint as the leading satellite rider in the championship standings remains fully confident of clinching a top 10 result.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Alex Lowes will kick off his debut MotoGP race from one position behind his teammate after delivering an impressive display today at Silverstone. Lowes started his second day aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 by notably finishing FP3 with a lap that was only just over a second back from 9 time World Champion, Valentino Rossi. In addition, his time was eight-tenths of a second quicker than his fastest lap from yesterday. This performance left him highly motivated for success in the afternoon qualifying session and after superbly completing the wet FP4 practice in 12th, he immediately attacked at speed in QP1. There, Lowes produced a personal best that left him a mere 0.029 behind his teammate, plus, his ideal lap time would have seen him top the session and finish ahead of Eugene Laverty. The young Briton fully intends to continue his learning experience tomorrow, having already completed a total of 75 laps, including 16 in the wet, on the Yamaha MotoGP bike as he seeks to open his MotoGP account with a point scoring finish.

Untitled Pol Espargaro
15th / 2'18.871 / 7 laps

"It hasn't been too positive today and now we have a bit of a challenge tomorrow after the tricky qualifying. Fortunately, the FP3 session was completely dry, so we were able to take advantage of the track time where we tried to find some solutions to the issues that we were struggling with yesterday. However, as the temperature was quite low, we couldn't find the information that we needed. At the end of the practice, I pushed as hard as I could in order to qualify for QP2, but similarly to yesterday, I finished just outside the top ten. I had another rider in front of me, and he made a mistake in the last sector which ended up disturbing me and so I had to cancel my lap. This was a big shame because qualifying one was going to be tough anyway, but like I imagined, it also turned out to be wet. In the damp, my feeling was not the best and we were struggling with the front half of the M1, just like in FP4. The bike seemed to be floating and at the end of the session, the tyre felt like it was brand new. In addition, I also think that we have a large margin of improvement to make in the acceleration department. In Q1, I pushed as hard as I could but things didn't turn out too positively and as a result, I have to start quite far back tomorrow. With unpredictable weather forecast, I'm not sure what to expect, and of course, I haven't given myself an easy task with the grid position. Yet, I am confident that in the warm up, we will have the same conditions as the race, so we need to take advantage of the track time in order to refine a few things so that we can be as competitive as possible in the afternoon."
Untitled Alex Lowes
16th / 2'18.900 / 6 lap

"I have to say that I am really enjoying this experience and I tried my best even if it was a bit challenging today as it was my first time in the wet on the YZR-M1 but I am looking forward to more track time tomorrow. I hoped that there was a chance to get through to Q2, but I can't be too unrealistic as this is my first weekend on a MotoGP bike and I only completed my first laps in the damp in FP4. Here, I felt good and I finished in 12th which set me up well for qualifying. I would have liked to have done a bit better in QP1 but I lost a bit of confidence tipping into the corner and that made me lose some time. I know that I really can't be disappointed but as a racer, I always want to do better, so maybe I could have got into Q2 but that would have been because of the weather. However, when I take a step back, I've got to remember that it's only day 2 and that I have learnt a lot in this short space of time. Whether it is wet or dry tomorrow, I have a realistic goal which is to try and get into the points. It was nice to try the bike in the wet, so I have had a bit of preparation if it does rain in the race, but let's see what happens. I had fun today and I enjoyed riding the YZR-M1 and now I am excited for my first MotoGP event. I must also say that it's fantastic to see the support around the track so thanks to my fans for spurring me on, and it's a pleasure that my first Grand Prix is at my home GP."

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.

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