Front row start for Rossi's 200th race Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start his 200th Grand Prix from the front row of the grid tomorrow, after a consistent performance in the wet this afternoon put him second for tomorrow's British...
Front row start for Rossi's 200th race
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start his 200th Grand Prix from the front row of the grid tomorrow, after a consistent performance in the wet this afternoon put him second for tomorrow's British round at Donington Park. The Italian will be bidding for his eighth career win at this track but tomorrow promises to be no easy challenge, with today's wet weather expected to give way to high winds.
After a dry day yesterday today was wet throughout, a steady British drizzle soaking the track and making the already-slippery surface even more difficult to deal with, a situation that gave rise to several crashes in this morning's free practice. Rossi stayed upright but struggled with set-up issues and remained two seconds off the pace in ninth position. Some hard work from his engineers and mechanics proved fruitful this afternoon however and he was immediately more comfortable in this afternoon's qualifying session, lapping consistently in the top five. Half way through the session the rain ceased and the track began to dry further and, although a dry racing line never appeared, Rossi was able to put a string of fast laps together in the last twenty minutes and his best time was good enough for second, behind Casey Stoner and just ahead of Chris Vermeulen.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 1'38.881 Laps: 30
"I'm so happy with this qualifying result and it's very important for us that we're on the front row tomorrow. We know that our Bridgestone tyres are very fast in the wet but this morning we had some problems with the setting and honestly I was quite concerned! Anyway, we made some important changes to the set-up for the afternoon and straight away the balance was better and I was able to open the throttle when I wanted to, in fact I had a lot of fun! With more small modifications throughout qualifying things got even better and lap-by-lap we were able to get faster, especially at the end. Now we are waiting for the weather in order to decide the tyres. If it's dry we have quite a big question mark about some things but we have some good ideas and I am not too worried. It's my 200th race and it's very exciting for me to reach another landmark in my career but for now I think about it as just another race."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"This was a very good session for us and the team and engineers have done an excellent job after this morning, when we had some problems. They had some good ideas and we have made a strong recovery to come back and qualify on the front row. Valentino was riding very well in the wet and it's very important for him to be on the front row here. Tomorrow could be difficult because it looks like the warm-up will be dry but we're not so sure for the race, it may be very windy but we will just have to deal with whatever comes!"
Raim compound comeback difficulties for Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo's return from injury continued in unforgiving conditions today, with the 21-year-old having to cope with a rain-hit Donington Park as he tried to find his confidence and feeling after his recent run of bad luck. The Michelin-shod Fiat Yamaha rookie was unable to make much headway today and could only manage 17th on the grid, the first time he has qualified off the first two rows since he joined Yamaha.
In the first, very wet session this morning things seemed to be looking up with Lorenzo seeming to find a rhythm and finishing a creditable ninth. The rain eased up throughout the middle part of the day however and, although he improved his time by over three seconds, others improved more and his grid position suffered as a result. With tomorrow's forecast promising drier weather but high winds, Lorenzo's aim will be just to finish safely and try to gain some confidence back on the bike in the process, looking ahead to the next race in Assen just seven days away.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 17th Time: 1'41.873 Laps: 23
"This morning I was riding quite well but in the afternoon the track changed; it dried out a bit and it became more difficult for me. I improved by three seconds but it wasn't enough because the others improved by six or seven seconds! I've never started so far back in MotoGP and it's a very different experience for me. I would have liked to have done one more session in the dry conditions but it hasn't been possible, and now I must be very focused tomorrow. For me it will be a success to finish the race, because for sure it's better to finish than to crash! We have to keep going step-by-step and then I know that we can improve in Assen. Yesterday we made a mistake because we wanted to change a lot of things on the bike but in fact the problem was me; this is a bad time for me but I can't let it get me down because I know this will pass and that sooner or later things will be better."
Daniele Romagnoli -Team Manager
"This was a difficult qualifying session for us despite an encouraging morning, when things went quite well and we were able to find a good balance and lap time. This afternoon the track was drier and we lacked rear grip; it was very difficult for Jorge going into the fast corners and also under acceleration. These conditions are making a difficult weekend even harder for him, when he is already lacking confidence after coming back from injury, and he has to take even more care to avoid mistakes. Now we will have a long meeting and we must find some solutions to improve things for tomorrow, because for sure the sixth row is not the right place for us."