Fifth front row puts Rossi in the running at Assen Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi took his fifth front row start of the 2008 season at Assen today, ahead of tomorrow's 60th Dutch TT. The Italian missed out on pole by just 0.139 seconds...
Fifth front row puts Rossi in the running at Assen
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi took his fifth front row start of the 2008 season at Assen today, ahead of tomorrow's 60th Dutch TT. The Italian missed out on pole by just 0.139 seconds and will share the front row with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, his closest championship rivals.
The bright sunshine of yesterday gave way to bad weather this morning and the first session was run on a wet track, with Rossi finishing seventh. The sun came out after lunch and the track was dry for qualifying, giving the team some time to continue with yesterday's work and refine their dry set-up. During the last third of the session Rossi was able to improve with each of his Bridgestone qualifying tyres and looked to be in with a chance of pole on his final flying lap, when a small problem in the final sector lost him his advantage. Second place behind Stoner looked secure until a last-minute dash from Pedrosa relegated him to the outside of the front row, with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo two rows behind him in seventh.
Rain is a possibility tomorrow and with the weather at Assen generally changing extremely quickly, the team may have to wait until just before the race to make a final tyre decision. Tomorrow's 26-lap race will begin at 1400 CET.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: 1'35.659 Laps: 29
"Like always, the front row is our target and so we are happy with this third position. Anyway it's better than last year, when I was 11th! We made some small modifications with the qualifying tyre and today everything seemed to work very well. Now we hope that it will translate to the race tyre, although of course we have to wait and see what the weather is like before we can make a choice, things change so quickly here! I was able to try for pole and I thought it was possible on the last lap, but unfortunately I had a small problem with the last tyre. Today we were all very close, closer than yesterday, but I think we still need to improve a bit more if we're going to be sure to be able to fight with Casey, so we will try to finalise things tomorrow morning."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"It's very good to be on the front row and it was good to see Valentino so fast this afternoon with the qualifying tyre and going very close to pole position. We still have some important final tuning to do in order to be able to stay at the front tomorrow, and then we will just have to see how the race develops. Of course we're all hoping for it to be dry but it's difficult to know what to expect with the weather here! It's clear that Stoner is very strong again, but we will be hoping to be able to go with him."
Third row puts Lorenzo in better shape for Dutch challenge
Jorge Lorenzo finished his second day's work in Assen in a somewhat happier mood than yesterday, after qualifying seventh for the 60th Dutch TT. The Fiat Yamaha Team rookie was struggling yesterday but a good run with his Michelin qualifying tyres this afternoon gave him confidence and he will start tomorrow's race ten places higher than he started last Sunday's in Donington.
After yesterday's troubles a wet session this morning was the last thing that Lorenzo and his team needed, and the Mallorcan was languishing down in 15th place after the rain-hit practice. The sun soon came out though and a strong wind helped to dry the track out, meaning that the team were able to try out a new dry setting in the first half of the afternoon session, which seemed to work well. Things improved even more with qualifying tyres; it was clear that Lorenzo was in much better shape than last week and he will head the third row tomorrow, alongside Chris Vermeulen.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 7th Time: 1'36.532 Laps: 26
"Today was a bit better than yesterday and I felt stronger, even if the improvement is still not what I hoped for since Donington. With race tyres we still have some problems, although it was better than yesterday with a new setting, but with my Michelin qualifying tyres I was able to push more and seventh is not so bad for us today. The front riders are very fast here and we know that to stay with them is going to be very difficult, but I have more confidence today and so I hope that I can be at least in the top seven. If I can do this I will be happy. We still have to go step-by-step and if I can improve a bit again tomorrow then I hope to be able to push more within the next two or three races."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"Overall this afternoon was important and interesting because we found some general improvement, even if we still have more work to do. Unfortunately the weather didn't help us this morning and for us it was an almost useless first session. In the afternoon we decided to try the new setting that we found last night and, although our lap time was more or less the same as yesterday, other riders were a bit slower than yesterday with race tyres due to the different track conditions and so this is actually encouraging for us. With qualifying tyres we were able to be in seventh place, which is much better than in Donington and gives us some confidence for the race tomorrow."