Australian GP: Fiat Yamaha qualifying report

Qualifying mishap leaves Rossi on fourth row down under An unfortunate mistake in the later stages of this afternoon's qualifying session means that Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix from the outside...

Qualifying mishap leaves Rossi on fourth row down under

An unfortunate mistake in the later stages of this afternoon's qualifying session means that Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix from the outside of the fourth row. The new world champion ran off onto the grass approaching turn three and fell awkwardly when he hit the gravel trap, suffering slight whiplash and some damage to the muscles in his neck in the process. He will undergo some intensive physiotherapy this evening but should be fit to race tomorrow.

With sunny but cool temperatures replacing yesterday's downpour, Rossi was sixth fastest this morning. This afternoon he was confident of making a play for the front row and had set the fastest sector one time yet with his second qualifying tyre when he ran wide onto the slightly-damp grass and was unable to bring his M1 back onto the track. He returned to the pits and, after being checked by the doctor, went out on his second bike but was a few seconds late crossing the line and unfortunately out of time for another flying lap.

With the championship title already under his belt, there is no pressure for the Italian tomorrow but he is nonetheless keen for a good result and will be hoping he is in good enough shape to attempt a charge through the field

Valentino Rossi - Position: 12th Time: 1'30.014 - Laps: 23

"I was pushing a lot with the qualifying tyre but unfortunately I went too wide at turn two and I came onto the grass on the exit. I thought I could take the bike back onto the track but, as soon as I touched the muddy grass I lost control and I couldn't stop it. Then I bumped my head and neck pretty hard when I landed in the gravel. It's a pity that I will have to start from 12th tomorrow, because this afternoon, with my Bridgestone race tyres, I had a very good pace. Now Dr. Costa and the Clinica Mobile staff will work to put me in good shape again - I am having treatment on my neck and then I will go immediately back to the hotel to rest until tomorrow. Tomorrow I am sure I will feel a lot better; we have good tyres and a good set-up so I will try to ride a good race!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

"Everything was going very well until this happened! It wasn't really a crash, Valentino just went a little bit off track, couldn't come back on and then hit the gravel. It was a pity because we were looking quite strong and our pace this afternoon was good. Valentino has some pain in his neck and he is now having some treatment to make him more comfortable for the night. Tomorrow morning he will have more treatment to make sure he is in the best shape possible for the race, and then we will see!"

Lorenzo on front row and relishing island challenge

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo sealed the seventh front row start of his rookie season today, qualifying second for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The Spaniard, who has won the last two 250cc races here, will start behind Casey Stoner with Nicky Hayden rounding out the front row.

After finding himself in better shape in the wet than the dry yesterday, a few overnight set-up changes to his M1 put the youngster in fine form today, which was dry and sunny. Lorenzo was third fastest this morning and carried on in the same fashion this afternoon, improving his race pace throughout the early part of the session before setting consecutively faster times with each of his four Michelin qualifying tyres. His final lap was just 0.069 seconds off Stoner's and, with the first four this afternoon all under the previous pole record, it looks like being an exciting battle when the race gets underway at the later time of 1600 local time tomorrow.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position 2nd Time -1'28.734 - Laps 30

"I've been fairly consistent throughout the sessions here and we made another step this morning which allowed me to be quite fast this afternoon. The weather was more complicated than it looked because the wind was very strong, but anyway my bike worked very well. I am disappointed to miss out on the pole position by such a tiny amount but anyway I am happy to be on the front row and also to have such a good race pace. My rivals are fast too and we know that it is going to be a hard battle, but I am really looking forward to it. Yesterday we tried some practice starts, because this has been an issue for me lately, so now I hope I can get a good start tomorrow, stay at the front and try to fight. Thanks to my team and Michelin for getting us onto the front row again; the fourth race in a row!"

Daniele Magnoli - Team Manager

"It's very good to be starting on the front row here; tomorrow we have a real chance of a good race. We improved quite a lot in the dry from yesterday, but we still have to improve the rear traction a little more. Our pace today was pretty good and we selected the best tyre, hopefully the conditions will allow us to use this one tomorrow. With the Michelin qualifiers Jorge was very fast and unfortunately we missed the front row by just 0.069 seconds! We will use tomorrow's warm-up to refine the setting a little bit more but we're in good shape and we're looking forward to an exciting race."


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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Davide Brivio , Phillip Island