Jorge Lorenzo, racing for Yamaha Factory Racing Team finished in second place in the penultimate practice session 0.214 seconds behind leader Casey Stoner as he continued to develop his set up. A strong final session on hard tyres was then delivered before a softer rear option at the end provided the extra speed to take the top spot, 0.154 seconds ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow who was then in second.
“I am very happy with today because we improved a lot on yesterday’s lap time. I’m also happy for Cal in second, the bike seems much better than last year for us. I think we have even more potential for improvement tomorrow. We still have a few issues to solve, especially corner entry, but we manage to keep a good pace. I’m going to try my hardest for qualifying tomorrow and see what we can do.” said Jorge Lorenzo.
2011 Championship runner up Lorenzo has a strong record at Qatar, starting every premiership MotoGP race there from the front row and always finishing on the podium. An outright Losail victory has so far eluded him, something he aims to put rights this weekend, says Yamaha.
“I’m very excited to finally make a race and see how we are compared to our rivals. Qatar was a good race for us last year but I think this season we have a slightly more competitive bike so I am hoping for good things to happen. Because of my hand injury it has been a long time since I was in a race so I am really excited for Sunday. I have been training a lot for this season; I’m feeling very good and very happy with the bike as well.”\
Ben Spies experienced a less fortunate final practice session this evening. The Texan had embarked on a race simulation but lost the front end early on, possibly due to a cold front tyre. Spies was unhurt and returned to the garage to continue the session. Luck eluded him again, as his second bike faced technical issues and he had to stop. He finished 11th.
“It was a rough session tonight, we’ve had a good weekend up to now, unfortunately tonight was the most important session for us. I went out to do a race simulation and I think I didn’t let the front tyre heat up properly. I need to check the data to confirm it but I put the blame firmly on myself for it. Unfortunately the second bike just didn’t run right so a wasted session for us.” he explained.
Before the start of the weekend, Spies was very excited about getting back to racing after a long monotonous period of testing.
“Finally! I think testing can get a bit dull after a while so I’m happy we now get to go and do some racing at last. We’ve worked really hard over the winter; the Yamaha Engineers have done a great job so we’ve got a pretty good bike to race with at the weekend. Let’s get out there on Thursday and start finding a set up and see how it feels. It’s always special to race at night under the lights, we’re going to give it 100% and put on a good show!”
Well, let’s just hope his performance at free practice is not an indication of the entire weekend.
Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very good final free practice, the speed is good and we solved some issues from yesterday. We went the wrong way initially then found the right path to go in. We know exactly what we have to do for tomorrow, if the track improves and we can get the corner entry better then we are ready to race.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Definitely the third practice didn’t go how we expected. Unfortunately Ben crashed and we couldn’t test a different set up. When he jumped on the second bike it had an electrical problem that didn’t permit us to continue with the session. We tried to fix it but it wasn’t possible within the time so we have missed a session. The guys are going to have a long night to be ready for tomorrow. Ben will push hard in qualifying to get a good position. Jorge did a great job, pushing hard and consistently to set the pace.”
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