Qatari GP: Michelin qualifying report

MICHELIN MEN MONOPOLISE LOSAIL FRONT ROW Michelin riders dominated the opening qualifying session of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship at Losail tonight, recording the three fastest laps in the sport's first-ever night-time qualifying ...

MICHELIN MEN MONOPOLISE LOSAIL FRONT ROW

Michelin riders dominated the opening qualifying session of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship at Losail tonight, recording the three fastest laps in the sport's first-ever night-time qualifying encounter.

Two of Michelin's four rookies stunned the MotoGP establishment by taking the first two places on the grid, double 250 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) 0.255 seconds ahead of double World Superbike champion James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) with the more experienced Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) third fastest.

Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) also performed brilliantly, scoring second-row starts under Losail's 5.4 million watt floodlight system

"We are happy with the performance of our tyres today," said Jean-Phillipe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "Our qualifiers worked well and taking pole position is always good, but the race is a different matter. We expect a tough race tomorrow because the lap times on race tyres are faster than they were in last week's tests here.

"During the winter we worked very hard on a new rear construction that we introduced for the first time at Valencia last November. The focus was to make our tyres work better at lower temperatures and over a broader range of temperatures and it seems that the last two days here have confirmed our work, because the track temperature is only 18 degrees and the moisture level is quite high."

Lorenzo, the first premier-class rookie to score pole first time out since Max Biaggi (Marlboro Honda NSR500-Michelin) at Suzuka in 1998, was obviously delighted with his performance. "This is amazing, I didn't expect it," said the Spaniard. "Many things have changed for me since last year -- the bike, the team, the tyres, but everything is working well for me. This is an important day for Yamaha and for Michelin, with three riders on the front row. Now we will see what happens in the race, I will try and get a good start and concentrate on the first few laps."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Randy de Puniet