Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took a record-breaking pole position at Misano World Circuit, beating his own pole lap from 2015 and putting in the first ever 1:31 lap of the Adriatic venue.
The Spaniard had been written off by many in the paddock as he struggles to gel with the Michelin tyres, but Lorenzo the reigning champion struck back in style, putting in a new lap record in qualifying to beat his own from 2015, laying down a marker at a track that, while behind enemy lines, has proven one of the Mallorcan’s best.
After just missing the 1:31 bracket in that first run, the ‘Spartan’ then came back out and lowered the lap time once again to put in 1:31.868 and smash the record. The pole at Misano is his 64th in the world championship – taking him one above Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and local idol Valentino Rossi.
Lorenzo said: “I was delighted with these lap times because already the first one was unbelievable, a 1’32.0s, but with riding over the limit more than normal I was able to improve this lap time by two tenths. When I saw I got pole I was delighted and very proud and I probably made the best lap ever for me. We made great progress with the setting, improving the bike little by little in all the corners, and in qualifying I had a great bike. Let’s try to improve the small details for tomorrow, but I think we have a great pace to fight at least for the podium and let’s see if we can fight for the win.”
Team-mate Rossi was half a second behind Lorenzo in second, with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales finishing third quickest. Marc Marquez qualified fourth, ahead of the Ducati factory duo of Michele Pirro, who is replacing the injured Andrea Iannone, and Andrea Dovizioso.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow heads up the third row as top Independent Team rider from Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, with Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro completing the top ten.