Jorge Lorenzo is confident of challenging for at least a podium in tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix after splitting the Repsol Hondas of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in qualifying. The world champion admitted on Friday that the Yamaha team had a lot of work to do to challenge for pole position and was delighted to be speaking 24 hours later having secured second on the grid.
“Yesterday things weren't like we expected but we made some changes and improved braking to make the bike more stable. The lap time improved from that and we got a lot closer to Dani today and finished in front of Casey. The pace in the last laps was quite good so we're happy. Big thanks to my team who worked hard to improve the bike. Tomorrow we aim for the podium or if it is possible to win the race.”
Teammate Ben Spies will start just behind in fourth despite riding with numbness in his left arm. The American admitted that he didn't expect to do quite so well having beaten the factory Hondas of Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso.
“Today honestly went a lot better than expected, we're at least in a good starting position for tomorrow. I'm not 100% confident about the race and what we can do but we've shown we've got the speed and the bike is good enough for top five. We'll do the best we can, I'm not going to make any promises but I know I've got at least half a good race in me. If we get some good rest tonight then hopefully we'll get lucky and catch a break and be good for it. We're optimistic, the bike is working well and the speed is there, I just hope I can be there too. I need to say a big thank you to all the guys at Clinica Mobile who are working hard this weekend to keep me in the game.”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli praised Spies for battling on despite being in obvious discomfort and is looking forward to a competitive race for both riders.
“I think Ben did a good job today considering his condition this morning. Starting the race form second row is very helpful, now we have to see how his endurance is. We are working with Clinica Mobile to make it possible to ride; he has to do the rest by himself. He is happy with the bike set up and tyre choice so let's see. Jorge did a great practice as usual, very impressive. His pace is very good so for sure tomorrow he will be there to fight for the win.”