Jorge Lorenzo doesn't think he will be able to do better than third in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Aragon after a difficult qualifying session for the World Champion. Lorenzo languished down in 12th early on before dragging the Yamaha up to fourth in the dying seconds.
With the Repsol Hondas of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa over half a second clear at the front of the field, Lorenzo feels third is the best he can achieve unless the weather intervenes.
“We struggled here last year and we are here struggling again this year, maybe even more. We have many problems with rear grip; we are not getting enough traction to be really fast. Tomorrow I think the maximum we can get is third place on the podium unless something very strange happens so that is the goal we have. The long straight is not the best for us but in the corners we are also a bit slower than the others so we must find something.”
Ben Spies did at least make sure Yamaha had one rider on the front row with an impressive performance. The American edged out his teammate by a tenth of a second and hopes to maintain a place in the top three tomorrow.
“The whole weekend has been pretty good for me, I'm pretty happy with it. We struggled a little bit this morning but the bike's working really well. We looked over a bit of data and tried to find the best compromise. We found it with 30 minutes to go in qualifying and with the race tyres we were about third or fourth quickest. When we put the softer tyres on we were able to go quicker and get on the front row. The crew has done an amazing job to get the bike where it is, we're just lacking a bit of speed from the front two guys. We're going to try and challenge for the podium tomorrow.”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli kept a positive frame of mind ahead of tomorrow's race and expects Lorenzo, in particular, to perform better in race trim.
“I think that Ben and the track are working in the same direction, they both improved grip over the day. We were struggling this morning but as the track has improved it has allowed Ben to improve as well. To start from the first row is a good advantage, especially in a circuit like this with its layout. We have to work a bit again to try and get closer but from yesterday to now we've made good steps. We are quite positive about the race tomorrow. The temperature will be less which may have an effect, we'll have to wait and see. Jorge also made some improvements but is still looking for some more grip with his set up. His crew are working hard and we are confident they will make another step before the race.”