Italian GP: Fiat Yamaha qualifying report

Rossi makes it 50 with sensational Mugello Pole Valentino Rossi brought out the best for his home fans once again in Mugello this afternoon, taking a stunning pole position to ensure he will start tomorrow's quest for a ninth Mugello victory in...

Rossi makes it 50 with sensational Mugello Pole

Valentino Rossi brought out the best for his home fans once again in Mugello this afternoon, taking a stunning pole position to ensure he will start tomorrow's quest for a ninth Mugello victory in the best possible way. The Italian's 50th career pole has been a long time in coming, his last one having been at Catalunya last season, almost one year ago. It is also his first for Bridgestone and Yamaha's fifth from six races this season.

Rossi greeted his fans in slightly unusual fashion today as he unveiled his traditional one-off Mugello helmet, which this year carries a picture of his face on top of it. Joking aside however this morning's practice was another disjointed session with the track drying throughout after yet another rain shower and Rossi finishing sixth. After his crew made some slight, but important modifications to his M1 over lunch it was a different story this afternoon, as Rossi dominated a hot and sunny qualifying session. He was consistently fast on race tyres and then improved with the first three of his four Bridgestone qualifying tyres, bettering the existing pole position lap by more than 0.8 seconds with the third.

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo struggled with the lack of dry track time after yesterday's washout and was unable to find a perfect set-up for his M1, qualifying at the head of the second row in seventh. After two days of poor weather however the sun that finally came out this afternoon looks set to continue through tomorrow, when the 23-lap Italian Grand Prix gets underway at 1400 local time.

Valentino Rossi 1st 1'48.130;

"This is a great, great qualifying because it's been a long wait to be on pole position again, almost one year exactly! Now for sure we will try to win tomorrow. To be honest I was quite worried after practice this morning because we had a few problems with the set-up and I couldn't find my rhythm, but I want to say thank you to all my team because they made a great job during lunch, we did some important modifications and then this afternoon I had the feeling and the speed that I wanted. We're now fast on race tyres but we still need to make our final decision about which tyre to use and we will do this when we see the conditions tomorrow. It's great to make my first pole with Bridgestone and I think 48.1 is a very fast time and it shows how good their qualifying tyres are now.

"It's good as well to have two Italians on the front row and now I hope we have a lot of people here tomorrow and that we can make a big party once again! I have to be honest about my helmet, it was Aldo Drudi's idea this time but I think it's one of the best ever! It's not a drawing, it's a real picture of my face at the braking at the end of the straight here and I think it's very funny!"

Davide Brivio Team Manager;

"It's been a bit of wait to return to the front of the grid but it's nice to do it for the first time with Bridgestone here in Mugello, it's extra special for everyone! Congratulations are also due to the Yamaha engineers because this is their sixth pole of the season so it's clear that they have built a fantastic bike. With the reduced time we've had here in the dry our engineers have done a great job to find such a good set-up and to enable Valentino to have such a strong pace, both on race tyres and on qualifiers. We're in the best position for the race; hopefully it will be dry and we can continue our successful weekend."

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo will become the youngest rider ever to pass the 100 Grand Prix milestone tomorrow when he starts the Italian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid. It is the 21-year-old's lowest qualifying position so far since his MotoGP debut but, with four podiums already under his belt and an impressive passing record in the last two races especially, he will be looking forward to making his way through the field tomorrow to challenge at the front.

The hoped-for dry session this morning did not materialise as more rain early on meant the track was still damp for first practice and Lorenzo struggled in the conditions, finishing 14th. This afternoon the sun finally came out and the Mallorcan and his crew worked hard to iron out the issues they were having with the M1, making some improvement but not enough to allow them to challenge for the top qualifying spots. They will now aim to make the most of tomorrow's short warm-up session to finalise their choice of Michelin race tyre and make some last-minute adjustments to put them in better shape for the race.

Jorge Lorenzo 7th 1'48.905;

"Of course I'm not happy with seventh because I always want to be at the front, it's my worst position so far with Yamaha in MotoGP and I'm especially disappointed because I really like this track and I love the Italian fans, but now we just have to look forward to a good race! I still lack some power in my ankles but honestly I can't blame my injuries this time, today it was a case of lacking time to find the right dry set-up and of me not riding as well as I might have done.

"We need to work on the front especially because at the moment we are wheelying too much and we don't have enough stability in the bumpy areas, but I have confidence in my team and in Yamaha and I know we will be able to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, we know our bike is working well here because Valentino is on pole! Tomorrow morning we will decide on the race tyre, together with Michelin, and then I will try to get a good start and pass as many people as possible."

Daniele Romagnoli Team manager;

"Today was a bit more difficult than we've been used to and we have some small problems, specifically with wheelies making the bike a little bit difficult to control and also in the bumpy areas where we need to work on the suspension to make the bike more stable and less nervous. Now our engineers are studying the data and we will find a good solution for tomorrow. Jorge has shown in the last two races how well he can pass people so we're still looking forward to a great race tomorrow."

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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