MotoGP: Lorenzo storms to pole for MotoGP opener

Reigning champion Lorenzo wasn’t far off the lap record

Photo: Yamaha Racing 
Saturday evening saw the new style qualifying format in MotoGP, and it certainly delivered. With fewer riders on track it meant more track space and we saw 2012 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo take pole position in the desert.  
Q1 had the bottom 14 riders battling it out in just 15 minutes, with only two prototypes in the session; Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies. 
Power Electronics Aspar CRT rider Aleix Espargaro sat at the top of the timing sheets for the majority of the 15 minutes with a time of 1.57.151. He returned to the pits before the session ended and his time set put him through into Q2. 
Following a big crash FP4, Ducati rider Ben Spies failed to make it into Q2 by just 0.237 and was one place behind teammate Andrea Iannone, who went up with Espargaro. 
British rookie Michael Laverty finished his first qualifying session in 24th position at the back of the grid.
Q2 is a 15 sprint for pole, and the first flying lap’s started coming with 10 minutes to go. Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo set the pace with a string of flying laps, and times soon started to drop down to 1.54’s compared to 1.56’s of free practice. 
With 5 minutes go the pressure began to build and new tyres were put in for the last push for pole. British rider Cal Crutchlow led the majority of the session by 0.248 seconds, but slipped down to second when Lorenzo set his pole position time of 1.54.714 with a minute to go. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa improved on his times over the weekend by setting the third fastest lap, a 1.55.15. Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith start tomorrows race in an equally impressive second and ninth position respectively. 
Both Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi only managed to qualify in sixth and seventh position, with some work to do in warm-up tomorrow evening.  
You can see the full MotoGP qualifying results here
Racing starts on Sunday with Moto3 at 5pm BST.

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