Valentino Rossi took pole for the second race running at Donington Park this afternoon, his fourth of the season and the 56th of his career.
Jorge Lorenzo qualified third and, with four poles for him also this year, the Fiat Yamaha Team has now taken the front grid slot in
eight out of the ten races.
It is also the fifth consecutive race at which both riders have been on the front row.
After yesterday's downpours, today was dry with sunny intervals and this morning saw Lorenzo second and Rossi third as they got their first chance to work on their dry settings around the 4km track. In this afternoon's hour-long qualifying session Lorenzo held pole position for most of the session until briefly surrendering it to Dani Pedrosa ten minutes from the end, whilst Rossi struggled slightly to find the best set-up with the hard Bridgestone tyre.
22-year-old Lorenzo moved back to the top just a couple of laps later but was then edged off by Rossi with three minutes to go, as the Italian found his best form at the perfect time. The Spaniard was unable to match the pace of his championship-leading team-mate with the soft tyre and finished 0.286 seconds adrift, whilst a strong charge from Dani Pedrosa edged the Spaniard into third but was not good enough to knock Rossi off pole.
“I am quite surprised to be on pole today because we had a couple of problems this afternoon!”, said Rossi. “This morning unfortunately we didn't try the hard Bridgestone tyre but we weren't worried because everyone else had good grip with it. But this afternoon when we finally tried it we found the grip to be not as we expected and our pace with it wasn't so good. We made some modifications and improved it a bit, then we made a few more and used the soft tyre again and then we were very quick.
Like that I could ride the bike how I wanted and it felt great, fast and flowing so this was a good job from the team. We need to do some work to improve our pace with the hard tyre, and then we just have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow. Whatever happens, we're starting from the front and this is the most important thing.”
“With the harder tyre, we're definitely ready and I feel very good on the bike”, indicated Lorenzo. “With the softer tyre and on my last run I wasn't so fast, but we are not too concerned about this. Anyway I feel confident on my M1 and I am enjoying riding here. Tomorrow we don't know about the weather but I was fast also in the rain yesterday so I know that I can be competitive even if the weather is bad. I am really hoping for a good race here since it's the last time we will come.”
Tomorrow's race will start at the later time of 1530 local time, which is 1630 CET.