To qualify on second row
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo battled through the pain barrier to put in an amazing qualifying performance for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix, defying the odds after badly injuring himself in a crash yesterday and putting his Michelin-shod
M1 on the second row.
The Mallorcan, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, fractured a bone in his left ankle and caused severe trauma to various parts of his right ankle and foot when high-siding just 11 laps into the first practice session yesterday, but he showed his spirit and determination today to qualify 4th, just over half a second off pole.
The youngster completed 21 laps in this morning's session and finished a creditable 14th. Having missed out on two sessions yesterday, the pain was not the only problem as the team also faced a difficult task to set the bike up in very limited time and with little data to work with. It was a painful day's work for Lorenzo but, after finding a comfortable race set-up this morning, he felt able to push as hard as his injuries allowed on both of his Michelin qualifying tyres this afternoon and fourth place on the grid is a deserved result for the courageous championship leader.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi qualified second and, following Lorenzo's three poles so far this season, Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards made it four in a row for Yamaha. After two days of sunshine rain is forecast for tomorrow's 22-lap race, which starts at 1500 local time.
“The way I felt yesterday, I couldn't even imagine a result like this today.
In fact it was all I could do to believe that I would be able to ride at all. This result is amazing for me, as good as my other pole positions, and it's given me a lot of confidence despite the pain. Now I have to take care and tomorrow I will just try to do the best I can; who knows what can happen in the race? I have a lot of pain in both feet and ankles and it's difficult to change down with the left and to change direction with the right, but I showed I am able to do it. Yesterday's crash was big, probably the biggest of my career, but I think I was actually quite lucky not to have worse injuries. The doctors at the clinic are working very hard to help me and now I will go back there for more treatment. Hopefully I will be feeling better again tomorrow and we will do what we can, rain or shine!”
“Jorge is still surprising us! He did an unbelievable job in today's qualifying considering his injuries, and after the crash yesterday we could never have imagined a result like this. Having missed all of yesterday, we only had one session to set-up the bike but we managed to find a good race pace and some good tyres with Michelin. Then fourth place with the qualifying tyre this afternoon is very impressive! Thank you to Dr. Costa and to all of the team at the Clinica Mobile; they've played a very important part in today's result. The race is a different story because it's long and it will be arduous for Jorge, but hopefully he will be feeling a little bit better tomorrow and we know how brave he is!”