THIRD ROW FOR ROSSI IN QATAR, HAYDEN THIRTEENTH
Valentino Rossi will start on the third row of the grid tomorrow in the Grand Prix of Qatar, while his teammate, Nicky Hayden, will have to try and work his way forward from the fifth row, with an error in the final split of what would have been his best lap preventing him from improving his time.
Nonetheless, the Italian rider said he is satisfied with the progress made with the setup of his GP11, and he hopes that his still-healing shoulder will permit him to maintain a good pace until the end of tomorrow's 22-lap race, a distance that he still hasn't completed in one run since his operation in November.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:55.637
"I think that without my shoulder problem, which is causing us to lose five or six tenths, we could have been on the second row today, because we were able to improve the setup by making changes that will also be important in the foreseeable future. Today I was able to ride the GP11 better, but by the time we used the soft tyre at the end of the session, my strength was gone. When I tried to do my lap time, there were some parts of the track where I just couldn't push. Anyway, we got an okay time and we still have some things we can try in the warm-up. As for the race I think that as long as my shoulder lasts, we'll be able to have a pace that's relatively competitive, apart from the two Hondas. We'll see how it goes from a physical point of view in the second half of the race, after eleven or twelve laps in a row riding on the limit."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 1:55.881
"It was pretty much the same way that it has been all weekend. I just clearly wasn't fast enough. We tried something toward the start of the session that was very similar to last year's setup, but it didn't work. I got back on my other bike and had one decent lap going, but I made a mistake in the last corner. Most of the weekend I've been able to go just as fast on used hard tyres, but that wasn't the case tonight, even though the temperature is warmer. I thought my best lap might get me out of trouble a little bit, because it was the first time since we got rid of qualifying tyres that I got into the 55s around here, but it wasn't nearly good enough this year. We've known since the tests in Malaysia that everybody has made a big step. It's been a frustrating weekend, and it won't be easy tomorrow starting from way back, but we're not ready to go home yet."
Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati - 2008), 1'55.153, 168.193 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha - 2008), 1'53.927, 170.003 Km/h