Jorge Lorenzo was beaming after taking pole position for the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca despite riding in pain following a crash in practice. The World Champion lost control of his YZR-M1 at the very end of FP3 with the bike following him into the gravel before striking the Spaniard.
Lorenzo admitted he was short of 100% in qualifying but still beat the Repsol Hondas to pole, a result that even left the Yamaha number one impressed.
“This pole position was unexpected for us after this morning, but thankfully I feel more pain walking than I do riding the bike. Of course I'm not in perfect condition on the bike and for sure I have to put more pressure on my arms and will get more tired. I think I was very lucky this morning that I had no big injuries. I think this pole position is for us an impressive result.”
Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg was elated with Lorenzo's performance and believes the team are also well set-up to challenge for victory.
“I'm a very happy team manager today! We had an unbelievable qualifying session. It's the first one this year! After the crash nobody really thought about having pole but just seeing how we are for tomorrow's race. His second lap was a 21.9, I thank that was a thank you to his mechanics because he used the bike that he crashed with this morning. It was pretty smashed up after the crash so they worked hard to make it ready. I think the consistent lap times show he is ready to rock and roll tomorrow.”
Teammate Ben Spies was the main challenger to Lorenzo in the final 15 minutes and briefly held pole position himself but his dreams of starting his home grand prix from the front were dashed when he slid off late on.
The American was demoted to fourth in the dying seconds and is still hopeful of challenging for a podium finish on Sunday.
“It wasn't a bad qualifying session, we tried a couple of things and the race set up is not so bad. We got in qualifying mode and got some pretty good laps in. I made a mistake and locked the front up on the brakes going in to turn three trying super hard to get on the front row. The Yamaha boss said to me last night that he wanted me on the front row so I was doing everything I could. Joking aside I was trying everything and just made a small mistake. I banged my hand up quite a bit but it will be fine and ready for the race tomorrow. I think we'll find a couple of things with the bike in the morning and hopefully it'll be a good day.”