Australian GP: Yamaha qualifying report

Lorenzo and Spies take front row at Philip Island, Rossi unlucky in eight Jorge Lorenzo secured his 15th front row start of the season at Phillip Island today, in a qualifying session made difficult by cold temperatures and windy conditions at...

Lorenzo and Spies take front row at Philip Island, Rossi unlucky in eight

Jorge Lorenzo secured his 15th front row start of the season at Phillip Island today, in a qualifying session made difficult by cold temperatures and windy conditions at the cliff-top track. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi came in for some bad luck in the final stages of the session and could only manage to qualify eighth.

After yesterday's downpours today was largely sunny, but strong winds and biting cold made it another testing day on track for the riders. Lorenzo and his crew spent the session focusing on improving their time in the fourth split, where they found they were losing time this morning, and were able to make some improvements although there is still more to be done. The new World Champion spent a brief sojourn at the top of the time sheets before being ousted by Casey Stoner and he was unable to come any closer to the Australian's time, settling for second place and the middle of the front row.

Rossi has been searching for a comfortable set-up all weekend and he made some improvements today but was still lacking race pace in comparison to his rivals. He was hopeful of making a challenge for the front row but luck was not on his side today as all three of his planned qualifying laps, when he was using the softer Bridgestone tyres, were interrupted. He was hampered first by another rider, then a crashed bike on track and then the weather, as it started to spit with rain with three minutes to go. The Italian will start tomorrow from eighth on the grid, in the middle of the third row.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2nd - Time: 1'30.775 - Laps: 25

"These conditions were really risky because it was so cold and also incredibly windy. It was hard to stay on the bike sometimes! I'm happy with my race pace which is unusual for me here because I've never been so strong in MotoGP at this track, but I think we've done a good job. I wanted pole today but the weather and Casey stopped me - he is so quick here. We have the second best time so it is okay and I am feeling very calm after last weekend. We hope the weather is like this or better tomorrow, with no rain, and then we will go for it and see what happens in the race. I am ready for the race; I just want to enjoy it."

Valentino Rossi - Position: 8th - Time: 1'31.627 - Laps: 27

"I was really unlucky today because with each of the softer tyres, when I think I could have improved a bit, I had problems. First it was Espargaro, then Hayden's bike on the track and then it began to rain, so I couldn't use any of the tyres how I wanted in the end. We start from the third row, which will be very hard, especially because our race pace isn't that strong and we don't have the right set-up yet. We need to work hard tonight and tomorrow morning to try to improve. The conditions aren't good and it's a great pity because this is a fantastic track but you can't enjoy it in this cold, because it takes so long for the tyres to get to the right temperature. Tomorrow will be hard, but we will see what we can do."

Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"The conditions are very difficult but of course it's the same for everyone. We decided to concentrate on improving the final split because this is where we were losing the most time this morning and in the end we were able to improve quite a lot, but we know we can still do more. We have some ideas, which we need to sit down and discuss now. Second on the grid is good, the rain stopped us at the end but I don't think we could have got pole anyway today as Casey was very fast. We definitely need to find a few more tenths but anything can happen tomorrow."

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"Unfortunately we weren't really able to try for a good qualifying lap today because Valentino was unlucky with each of his soft tyres today. These issues aside however we are still not set for the race and we need to try to improve our bike more. The starting position is not helpful but if we can fix the bike then we can try, so we will see what we can do in tomorrow morning's warm-up."

-source: yamaha

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Davide Brivio , Phillip Island