Yamaha Factory Racing rider Valentino Rossi faces an uphill battle in the final round of the 2005 MotoGP World Championship tomorrow after qualifying fifteenth fastest at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. Rossi slid from his YZR-M1 machine just over eleven minutes from the end of this afternoon's qualifying session and, despite returning to the track on his second machine, he lost several positions in the final push for times. The Italian will start from the fifth row of the grid as he aims to score his twelfth victory of the season and repeat the success he has enjoyed at this circuit for the past two years.
Rossi's Yamaha Factory team-mate Colin Edwards benefited from a more productive afternoon, making major progress with his new riding style and knocking almost two seconds off his best practice time from yesterday. For the second successive race the American will start from the second row of the grid in sixth place as he aims to improve his championship position with a good finish tomorrow. Pole position went to Sete Gibernau (Honda) in a new record time of 1'31.874 and the Spaniard is joined on the front row by Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden (both Honda), who will fight for the runner-up spot behind Rossi in the championship in tomorrow's race. =20
COLIN EDWARDS (6th - 1'32.456; 29 laps)
"I'm halfway happy with the result. We had a few problems early in the session but we worked things out and I was able to set a decent time on a qualifying tyre. The second row isn't terrible but we have work to do to find a better race pace. We made more progress with the new riding style but in reality I need 100 laps to perfect it, so I can't wait for winter testing! It takes me five or six laps to get going and we just need to get it ingrained in my system. The team has worked hard today and Michelin has given us some good options for tomorrow - I am determined to finish the season on a high. The stadium style atmosphere here is always fantastic so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
VALENTINO ROSSI (15th - 1'33.503; 27 laps)
"When I crashed I was pushing hard with the qualifying tyre and honestly I felt confident that I could do a good time. I was maybe a little too aggressive and when I touched the brake I just lost the front and went down. I was going fast and I have some small bruises on my elbow and on my leg, but I will be fine tomorrow for the race. I was lucky. The grid position is not so good, my worst for a very long time! The situation on the track is actually not so bad; the rhythm is okay, although we do have some problems and for sure I am slower than some of the other riders. The main problem is that it's hard to overtake at this circuit. A lot will depend on how many riders I can pass at the start and in the first lap. Anyway, we will try to make some progress tomorrow morning and see what happens in the race. My target is to be in the top five, any higher is maybe too difficult, but it's going to be a good battle!"
DAVIDE BRIVIO -YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM DIRECTOR
"We are in a strange situation. Colin is on the second row but his race pace is not as good as we would like, whilst Valentino is on the fifth row with a better race pace than his team-mate. We need to combine the two! Valentino's starting position is going to make it very difficult for him and it will not be his easiest race, but that is the reality of the situation and we have to deal with it. Luckily we have already won everything but we still want to have a good last race. It's going to be tough but we'll work hard in the morning and see what the race brings."