Chinese GP: Fiat Yamaha qualifying report

Valentino Rossi put his Fiat Yamaha M1 onto the front row of the grid for the second time this season in Shanghai today, qualifying second for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix. Rossi looked to have pole position sewn up before fellow Yamaha rider...

Valentino Rossi put his Fiat Yamaha M1 onto the front row of the grid for the second time this season in Shanghai today, qualifying second for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix. Rossi looked to have pole position sewn up before fellow Yamaha rider Colin Edwards took his third career pole, Yamaha's fourth from four races this season.

Rossi continued in the same vein as yesterday by setting the pace in this morning's free practice and continuing to do so through most of this afternoon's session. Three-quarters of the way through a strong flying lap put him in provisional pole position and the Italian was confident that a slight improvement with the next qualifying tyre could be enough to take the front slot. He improved again but a last-minute lap from Edwards was 0.355 seconds faster, and Rossi will now have to wait a little longer for his 50th career pole.

Meanwhile Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo stunned onlookers by qualifying fourth, despite riding with a broken left ankle and having missed the most of the day yesterday following a crash in first practice. After qualifying on pole for his first three MotoGP races, Lorenzo's fourth is no less impressive and he makes it three Yamahas in the top four. Tomorrow's 22-lap race gets underway at 1500 local time and a forecast of heavy rain could make for some unexpected twists and turns.

Valentino Rossi 2nd 1.58.494

"I'm quite happy with this position; third in Estoril, second here...hopefully one better next time! I've been fast here since Friday morning and we've worked so hard with the team and with Bridgestone lately to improve the situation with the qualifying tyre, so we definitely deserve to be here. Today I had fun and I was able to fight with my rivals, plus I really enjoyed having the chance to ride at the maximum around this track. When I saw 58.5 on the clock I thought that I had a chance to try for the pole, but then Colin did 58.1 and this was a bit too much for us!

"Anyway it's very important to be on the front row, especially because we don't know whether it will rain or not. Thanks to my mechanics for doing a great job, and now we've just got to hope the rain stays away!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

"We're getting closer! Congratulations to Colin for a great lap, it's good for Yamaha to have another pole position; hopefully it will be us soon! We've done a good job overall in the four practice sessions and it seems like we're ready to be competitive now tomorrow, if it's dry. Everyone is expecting rain in which case the situation is less clear, but for the moment we're relaxed and looking forward to an exciting race."

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo battled through the pain barrier to put in an amazing qualifying performance for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix, defying the odds after badly injuring himself in a crash yesterday and putting his Michelin-shod M1 on the second row. The Mallorcan, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, fractured a bone in his left ankle and caused severe trauma to various parts of his right ankle and foot when high-siding just 11 laps into the first practice session yesterday, but he showed his spirit and determination today to qualify 4th, just over half a second off pole.

The youngster completed 21 laps in this morning's session and finished a creditable 14th. Having missed out on two sessions yesterday, the pain was not the only problem as the team also faced a difficult task to set the bike up in very limited time and with little data to work with. It was a painful day's work for Lorenzo but, after finding a comfortable race set-up this morning, he felt able to push as hard as his injuries allowed on both of his Michelin qualifying tyres this afternoon and fourth place on the grid is a deserved result for the courageous championship leader.

Jorge Lorenzo 4th 1.58.711

"The way I felt yesterday, I couldn't even imagine a result like this today. In fact it was all I could do to believe that I would be able to ride at all. This result is amazing for me, as good as my other pole positions, and it's given me a lot of confidence despite the pain. Now I have to take care and tomorrow I will just try to do the best I can; who knows what can happen in the race?

"I have a lot of pain in both feet and ankles and it's difficult to change down with the left and to change direction with the right, but I showed I am able to do it. Yesterday's crash was big, probably the biggest of my career, but I think I was actually quite lucky not to have worse injuries. The doctors at the clinic are working very hard to help me and now I will go back there for more treatment. Hopefully I will be feeling better again tomorrow and we will do what we can, rain or shine!"

Danielle Romagnoli

"Jorge is still surprising us! He did an unbelievable job in today's qualifying considering his injuries, and after the crash yesterday we could never have imagined a result like this. Having missed all of yesterday, we only had one session to set-up the bike but we managed to find a good race pace and some good tyres with Michelin. Then fourth place with the qualifying tyre this afternoon is very impressive!

"Thank you to Dr. Costa and to all of the team at the Clinica Mobile; they've played a very important part in today's result. The race is a different story because it's long and it will be arduous for Jorge, but hopefully he will be feeling a little bit better tomorrow and we know how brave he is!"

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Jorge Lorenzo , Davide Brivio