Motegi MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo loses front row record

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Having lost his 100 per cent podium record at the Motorland Aragon race a fortnight ago, Jorge Lorenzo saw another impressive run come to an end in Japan today.

The Spaniard, who earlier in the day confirmed signing a new two-year deal with Yamaha’s factory team, could only qualify in fourth position at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

That result cost Lorenzo his 100 per cent front row starting record in 2010 as a best lap time of 1.47.206 was 0.101s behind 2007 world champion Casey Stoner in third place.

Lorenzo, who had only qualified outside the top two twice this year prior to this afternoon, said:

“I am a little disappointed because this wasn't the result we were expecting. I would have really liked to be on the front row here in Japan, Yamaha's home, after signing with them for two more years this morning.

"However it's only qualifying and the most important thing is that we're ready for the race, we have a good pace and we only have one or two more small things still to work on. This afternoon I tried the new engine for the first time and it felt good in the high gears.

"This is the first time for me this season on the second row, but I am still close to the front and I will try to make the best start I can.”

Lorenzo can take a giant stride towards his first premier class world title in tomorrow’s 24-lap race.

With compatriot and closest rival Dani Pedrosa back in Europe for surgery on his badly injured left collarbone, Lorenzo could put himself in a position to wrap up the title in Sepang next weekend.

Pedrosa will undergo surgery on his collarbone in Barcelona today after a jammed throttle caused him to fall heavily in yesterday’s opening practice session.

Lorenzo needs to be leading the series by 75-points after the Malaysia race on October 10 to become the first Spaniard to lift the premier class crown since Alex Criville in 1999.

He starts tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix with a 56-point lead over injured Pedrosa, who is not expected to be back until the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on October 17 at the earliest.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt