On superb MotoGP debut
Fiat Yamaha Team new recruit Jorge Lorenzo, at 20 the youngest rider on the grid, took an incredible pole position on his MotoGP debut in Qatar tonight.
The Spanish rookie is the first rider in ten years to take pole position at his debut premier-class
race and heads the first all-Yamaha front row since Sachsenring in 2002.
Following on from an impressive opening night yesterday, Lorenzo continued with more of the same in the first session this evening and finished second. As a result he headed into this evening's Qualifying session as one of the clear favourites for a spot on the front row and, with 20 minutes to go, he slotted in a Michelin qualifying tyre and went straight to the top of the time sheets.
It was a night for the rookies as pole position was briefly surrendered to fellow Yamaha new-boy James Toseland, but Lorenzo's final qualifying lap was too good for his competitors and a time of 1'53.927 saw him smash the previous pole record by over a second.
Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi finished the evening in 7th place which will see him start from the front of the third row, whilst Lorenzo will lead the front row ahead of the two Yamaha Tech 3 riders, with Toseland in second and Colin Edwards in third. Tomorrow's race, the first ever World Championship night race, gets underway at 2300 local time.
“Only in my dreams did I imagine being on pole at my very first MotoGP race; I can't believe it! This is something great for all of Yamaha; there are three Yamaha riders on the front row and this shows how hard they have been working. Tonight my M1 was working very well and with the Michelin qualifying tyres it was excellent, but also our race pace is very good.
Tomorrow will of course be very difficult; it's my first MotoGP race so there is a lot to think about, but I am excited and of course we will try to do our best and see what happens! The team and Michelin have done a great job over the winter so this is a thank you to them. I will try to get a good start and I will have to concentrate very hard on the first lap when the tyres are cold, and then we'll see what happens. Tomorrow is another day however and for the moment I just want to think about this and celebrate a special night\ for me and for Yamaha.”
“Like Jorge says, tonight is like a dream for us and we couldn't ask for more. We've done a great job with Yamaha and Michelin during the winter and the rider has adapted very well to a MotoGP bike. Also the team have done very well setting up the bike for him so well done and thank you to all of them. Today the Michelin qualifying tyres worked perfectly but we're also consistently fast with race tyres, so it's quite exciting. I want to thank Yamaha for doing a great job in the winter and giving us a very competitive bike, we're in good shape for the first race and now we are just waiting to see what happens tomorrow!”