Difficult qualifying for FIAT Yamaha Team in rain-hit Assen
It was business as usual in the MotoGP paddock today, as the bad weather that has become the norm this season disrupted this afternoon's Qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Dutch TT. After a dry session this morning, when Fiat Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were first and fourth fastest respectively, it was once again time for the riders to put on their rain-suits and do battle with the elements in the fight for grid slots.
It was a less than perfect afternoon for the Yamaha pair as they both struggled to match their fast dry pace on the soaking circuit. Both spent most of the session in the bottom half of the order as they searched for the right set-up and tyre combination for the difficult conditions, although Edwards managed to improve things considerably at the end and put in an excellent final lap to move up to sixth, on the outside of the second row. Rossi meanwhile was unable to make such a drastic jump and could only manage 11th, which will see him start from the middle of the fourth row. With better weather promised tomorrow however and both riders boasting a strong race pace in the dry, the pair are confident of being in the mix tomorrow when the 26-lap race gets underway at 1400 local time.
Colin Edwards - 6th, 1'49.691
"This afternoon was quite difficult, which I think was pretty obvious, but we were able to salvage something at the end! I can't say I'm thrilled with my grid position after how strong we've been recently in qualifying but it could have been worse. We used pretty much the same setting we had for the rain in Donington, where things were working good, and once we'd made some small changes and put a softer tyre in we were okay. I saw I had one lap left at the end and I was behind a couple of other riders so I rolled off a little to give myself some space and then just thought "whatever, let's give it a try!" I took a few risks, put my head down and managed to make it round without any problems. Obviously I would prefer it to be dry tomorrow, in fact the drier and hotter the better! Our race pace in the dry is quite fast so if we have the right conditions then I'm feeling confident about a good race. No mistakes this year!"
Valentino Rossi - 11th, 1'50.392
"For sure today in the wet we had some problems and the fourth row is not great! Of course in order to fight for the victory here I would prefer to be nearer the front, as to win from the fourth row is quite hard! We've given ourselves a difficult job to do and now I will need to do a perfect race, with no mistakes from start to finish, in order to come back towards the front. I'm quite sad about the weather because I think from the front row I would definitely have been in a position to try to win tomorrow. As we've proved before however, we know that it's not impossible to make a good race from the fourth row! We need to make the right tyre choice and we need to make a good start, because it's not so easy to pass people here. Our pace in the dry this morning was good and luckily we're expecting better weather. We'll do our best and see how we go."
Davide Brivio - Team Director
"So, neither of our riders is in pole position, which is the first good thing because it seems at the moment it's impossible to win from pole! Also Valentino is in much better shape than last year, when he had to start from last position with his injury. It is not a disaster; in Mugello we started from the front row and then we were in eighth on lap one! Of course Valentino has a hard job to do from the fourth row but he has the pace in the dry and we know he'll try as hard as possible to get back up to the front and fight for the podium. Colin did very well at the end of the session today in very difficult conditions and he deserves to be up on the second row like this. He too has a good pace in the dry and I think we can expect a great race from him tomorrow. Let's hope we've had the last of the rain and we'll be fighting tomorrow, we're certainly not going to give up before the start!"