After a disastrous last year, World Champion Valentino Rossi took the 59th pole position of his career and his first of the season today with an authoritative performance in sunny Le Mans.
His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was just five hundredths of a second off his time, as the Fiat Yamaha pair put up a commanding display ahead of tomorrow’s French Grand Prix.
After topping the time sheets yesterday, Rossi was third this morning with Lorenzo ahead of him in second. This afternoon temperatures once again soared into the high twenties and both riders looked in menacing form, having already found excellent base settings for their M1s yesterday.
Both had spent time at the top of the standings before the session entered its final quarter and with ten minutes to go Lorenzo went top again, becoming the first man to dip into the 1’33s. The Mallorcan held out for a few minutes before Casey Stoner and then Dani Pedrosa took over but it was Rossi who had the most still hidden up his sleeve, the 31-year-old maestro pulling out a brilliant lap in a time of 1’33.408, a target that proved unassailable in the final two minutes.
Speaking to the media after the qualifying session, Rossi said, “This weather is really making me very happy, because for once in Le Mans we have been able to use all of the sessions properly and now here we are on pole. My setting is good, I feel comfortable on my M1 and Bridgestone Tyres and my race pace is not bad either so everything is working out. It’s a great pleasure to be on pole and when I looked and saw the lap time I was very pleased with my performance and with how well we had worked, so thanks to all my team. I am still worried about my shoulder because sincerely today after ten or fifteen laps I started to lose power, but I hope adrenaline will take over in the race and that I will be able to arrive fast right to the end.”
Le Mans MotoGP would be broadcaster live tomorrow at 2:15pm IST.
Le Mans 2010 Qualifying Times
1.Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’33.408
2.Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’33.462
3.Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’33.573
4.Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’33.824
5.Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’33.845
6.Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’34.074
7.Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1’34.204
8.Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’34.304
9.Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’34.306
10.Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1’34.514
11.Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’34.523
12.Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’34.920
13.Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’34.942
14.Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 1’34.979
15.Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1’35.323
16.Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1’35.810