Jorge Lorenzo put an end to his recent slump in form by storming to pole position for this weekend’s MotoGP race at Misano.
Three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo entered the San Marino Grand Prix weekend having scored just one podium finish in the past six races, a run of form that has seen him slip 64 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez.
Lorenzo produced a storming lap of 1:31.868 towards the end of Q2 at Misano to finish three-tenths of a second clear of the field and pick up his first pole since the French Grand Prix in May.
Lorenzo’s lap saw him beat teammate and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who completed an impressive run for Yamaha in qualifying by finishing second.
The two Yamaha riders will be joined on the front row by Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales, who just six days after his maiden MotoGP victory qualified third on the grid, half a second off Lorenzo’s time.
Series leader Marquez struggled to match the pace of his rivals on Saturday at Misano, fading to P4 in qualifying and over half a second off the pole-man.
Ducati wildcard-turned-replacement entry Michele Pirro impressed to finish fifth-fastest, deputizing for the injured Andrea Iannone. Teammate Andrea Dovizioso qualified sixth ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.
Dani Pedrosa’s recent struggles continued as he finished eighth-fastest for Honda, while brothers Aleix Espargaro and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top 10 for Suzuki and Yamaha Tech3 respectively.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).
It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).
Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.
The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.
“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”