ROSSI TAKES FIFTH POLE OF THE SEASON AT 'HOME' CIRCUIT Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's British Grand Prix from the front of the MotoGP grid after clocking his fifth pole position of the season in this ...
ROSSI TAKES FIFTH POLE OF THE SEASON AT 'HOME' CIRCUIT
Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's British Grand Prix from the front of the MotoGP grid after clocking his fifth pole position of the season in this afternoon's qualifying practice at Donington Park. The Italian smashed his own pole record at the Nottinghamshire circuit by almost a second when he clocked a time of 1'27.897 on his 27th lap of the afternoon session. Rossi's effort put him over half a second clear of his rivals just two minutes from the end of the session, with Sete Gibernau (Honda) reducing the gap to 0.285 seconds on the final lap.
After setting the pace in yesterday's first free practice sessions, Rossi's Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards was unable to continue his dominance today, slipping to sixth place on the grid but securing a valuable second row start. The American continued to work from the excellent base set-up he found yesterday and put in a scorching race pace during the morning session, when he was second fastest behind Rossi. However, a rear tyre experiment in the afternoon did not go as Edwards had hoped and he lost a handful of positions in the late push for times. Rossi and Gibernau will be joined on the front row of the grid by Marco Melandri (Honda), whilst Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden (both Honda) start immediately ahead of Edwards on row two.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st; 1'27.897 -- 30 laps)
"For sure this is a very special pole position because I live here and I am having a lot of fun. I think for tomorrow everybody will wake up and hope for good weather because yesterday we lost a lot of time because of the rain. Today the situation was better, it was a few degrees warmer and when the conditions are like this it is a great pleasure to ride at Donington Park. With the MotoGP bike it is incredible, one of my favourite tracks, and I always go very well here. I am happy because I was able to do a great lap -- almost one second faster than last year. The bike is quite good and the feeling is not bad, also with the race configuration. For sure the race will be hard but we will try to fix a few last things in the morning and I hope to do well."
COLIN EDWARDS (6th; 1'28.656 -- 29 laps)
"My race pace this morning was really good -- consistently around 1'29.2 and I'm pretty happy with that. This afternoon I did a 1'29.6 on a tyre that had 24 laps on it so we know we're in good shape for the race. I was hoping to push into the 1'27s on a soft tyre but I tested a different construction rear for seven laps at the start of the session and it gave me a little chatter on the front end, which damaged my confidence a little bit. It's my own fault but after that I found it hard to push the front as much as I had done in the morning and didn't quite get the lap time I had hoped for. Anyway, it makes no difference whether I am on the front row or the second row -- if you can get a good start you pretty much end up in the same place by the first corner."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"It has been a very good weekend for us so far. Valentino set pole position with a great lap and to knock nine tenths off the previous record is a very good achievement for the whole team. Unfortunately Colin didn't get the grid position he deserved after the way he has ridden all weekend, but his race pace is very good and I don't think the second row will be a problem for him -- it is just a matter of getting a good start. Both our riders have a good pace and if it stays dry as we all hope then we feel confident that both Vale and Colin will be at the front."