Rossi claims sensational pole ahead of Shanghai showdown An incredible flying lap from Valentino Rossi saw the Fiat Yamaha Team rider take his third pole of the season in China this afternoon, the Italian bettering last year's pole time by more...
Rossi claims sensational pole ahead of Shanghai showdown
An incredible flying lap from Valentino Rossi saw the Fiat Yamaha Team rider take his third pole of the season in China this afternoon, the Italian bettering last year's pole time by more than half a second with a perfect lap around the 5.2km Shanghai International Circuit. For the third time this season Rossi is also joined on the front row by his team-mate Colin Edwards, who qualified third, with the Yamaha pair separated by Edwards' fellow American John Hopkins.
The promised rain once again failed to appear and the hour-long qualifying session was played out on a dry track with the clouds giving way to bright sunshine by the end. The first 45 minutes passed busily for the Yamaha duo, who were intent on using all the available time to fine-tune their set-up and gather information about tyres before concentrating on their qualifying laps in the final stages. Edwards' first run with a soft Michelin qualifying tyre moved him close to the top of the order but it was Rossi's first flying lap that left everyone amazed, the Italian completing a faultless lap right on the limit of his Yamaha's capabilities to put in an incredible time of 1'58.424. Edwards' second flying lap was good enough to move him into second but he was eventually pushed down one place by Hopkins. Although Rossi's lap proved well out of the striking distance of his rivals, he showed it was no fluke by going within 0.1 seconds of his own time on his second qualifying tyre just minutes later.
Position: 1st Time: 1'58.424 Laps: 24
"That was sincerely an incredibly exciting feeling for me; to ride my M1 right on the limit and make such a perfect lap at 100%. When I saw the time on the television I was quite surprised because I didn't know it was that fast, but I had pushed the bike to the maximum and I knew that it was a good lap. I had great grip from my Michelin qualifying tyre and my Yamaha worked perfectly, so a big thank you to everyone involved. I was able to arrive at every corner very fast and to brake at the last possible moment; a couple of times I was worried I was too late but every time my bike responded perfectly and I had great grip. I felt a lot of adrenalin from this lap! Despite both of us being on the front row, maybe we're not favourites for tomorrow and the race is a very different story. Anyway we've all done very well today. We need to make a couple more small modifications to the setting and then we will just hope for good weather again, a good start and a good race."
Position: 3rd Time: 1'59.406 Laps: 18
"Well done to the team, once again they've done a really good job, worked their tails off and here we are again on the front row alongside Valentino. The qualifying tyres are working really well this year and with the extra grip they give us we can really push hard. As for the race setting, we've changed a few things with the geometry today and it seems to have improved things a fair bit, although we've still got to make a final decision with regards to the race tyre. It's always going to be a little bit of a gamble but hopefully we'll make the right choice. The bike feels very good and a podium is definitely a realistic aim, but it's going to be a very long and hard race. Starting from the front row will be pretty important here and hopefully we can make the most of this advantage, avoid any repeats of the first-lap pile-up in Turkey and try to better last year's podium!"
Davide Brivio - Team Director
"It's great for the team to have both riders on the front row once again, after the problems we had last year it's very encouraging that this is becoming a regular occurrence. When everything is working well our riders are always at the top so this shows the great potential of our package. Valentino's lap was exceptional today and Colin is also in good shape and riding very well; we're especially happy for him to be on the front row again after his unlucky crash in Turkey. Despite this qualifying result we know that tomorrow's race is going to be very difficult and our riders will have to fight at 100% throughout it. The team have done a great job and now they just need to make a few final preparations in the morning and then we'll be ready for an exciting race!"