Jorge Lorenzo admitted he needed to extract every last thousandth of a second out of his Yamaha YZR-M1 to claim pole position at Laguna Seca. The championship leader trailed Casey Stoner when the hour-long session reached its conclusion but produced a record breaking final lap to beat the Repsol Honda by 0.074s.
Lorenzo was delighted with the result, especially in the United States which will have meant a lot to the team, but is staying calm with a 32 lap race still ahead of him.
“I knew Casey and Dani were going to try and take pole but I really wanted it here in America so I tried my best for Yamaha. I pushed to the limit, especially in the last corner, I was at full lean and opened the throttle really soon. In my first two tries for a perfect lap there was a lot of traffic so I had to wait for the right moment. The important thing is tomorrow, pole position is nice but anyway the race is what counts.”
Teammate Ben Spies starts from the front of the second row but the abiding memory of his afternoon was a heavy crash twelve minutes from the end (below). The American was rather dazed when he first got to his feet and will still need to undergo checks on his heel but feels fit enough to take his fourth place on tomorrow's grid.
“Today was ok, we obviously had a crash which was unfortunate as I think we could have got on the front row. I was feeling really good I just maybe didn't let the right side of the tyre heat up to quite the right temperature and had a pretty big high side. Anyway we got back out and were able to do the same times as before the crash. I need to get some x-rays to check my heel as I took a big hit on it in the crash.”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli chose to focus on the positives and is encouraged by the consistency Spies has shown so far this weekend. If he can continue it, Meregalli is confident Spies can claim his best result of the season so far.
“A great pole from Jorge, he's putting a lot of pressure on the Honda guys. Ben had a big crash using the second soft tyre during the qualifying. Anyway, he's pretty consistent and happy with the bike set up and hopefully tomorrow he will be 100% fine to ride. I'm pretty confident because he's finished all the practices in the top four and we know which tyre he is going to use.”