ROSSI MAKES TIMELY RETURN TO POLE IN BARCELONA Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will line up in pole position for the first time in almost a year when the MotoGP World Championship riders take their place on the grid for the seventh ...
ROSSI MAKES TIMELY RETURN TO POLE IN BARCELONA
Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will line up in pole position for the first time in almost a year when the MotoGP World Championship riders take their place on the grid for the seventh round of the season at Catalunya tomorrow. The Italian has been in excellent form all weekend and after continuing yesterday's job to set his YZR-M1 up for the 25-lap race, he was able to concentrate fully on a burst of quick laps at the end of this afternoon's qualifying session. His fastest lap registered a new pole record of 1'41.855 and put him at the front of the MotoGP grid for the first time since the 2005 British Grand Prix last July.
Colin Edwards also followed up positive work on his two machines yesterday with further progress in the morning free practice, when he set the fourth fastest time on race tyres. However, slight changes to the setting of his bike and the extra grip offered by a softer rear tyre had a detrimental effect as he pushed for a quick lap time at the end of the qualifying session, the American eventually dropping to twelfth place on the grid as a host of riders posted one-off flying laps, despite not matching the consistency demonstrated by Edwards. Rossi will be joined on the front row by two of Edwards' compatriots, John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Kenny Roberts (Honda KR).
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st -- 1'41.855; 26 laps)
"I am really, really happy -- it is a big satisfaction to be back on pole after such a long time. The bike has been working really well all weekend and I have to say a big 'thank you' to everybody at Yamaha and all my engineers because they have worked so hard to build this new chassis and then make it work so well in such a short space of time. I said yesterday that we have been able to work in a normal way and this meant that today I was able to focus on finding a good setting for the qualifying tyre and putting some fast laps in at the end. It is the first time I have had this pleasure in a long time and to do it at this track is amazing because it is so much fun to ride here. There are some tough riders out there but I have a special feeling in front of these fans. They always treat me so well and I want to put on a good show for them tomorrow."
COLIN EDWARDS (12th -- 1'42.655; 26 laps)
"I don't seem to be getting any kind of luck in qualifying lately. We haven't had so much time yet with the new chassis and unfortunately when I put the softer tyre on it kept folding the front end, so I couldn't push harder for a time and get the place on the grid that my pace would otherwise reflect. Also we made a couple of changes to the setting -- nothing major, just a millimetre here or there -- but it seemed to add to the extra force on the front so we perhaps would have been better sticking to what we found in the morning. Tomorrow we'll have to go backwards a little bit with the setting and no doubt we can go forwards a lot during the race!"
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"Of course it is very nice to be back on pole but the most pleasing thing is to see the constant progression we have made with the bike from Le Mans to Mugello to here. To come off the back of that win in Italy to take pole here is a reflection of the excellent work the team has done with the bike and we hope that this situation is now the 'norm' until the end of the season. It will be a difficult race tomorrow and we are still not sure of the conditions, but we know we can be involved and it will be up to Valentino to keep fighting to the end, as he always does. Colin has a good race pace but he didn't manage to get the best out of the qualifying tyres at the end. He will have another fight on his hands over the first few laps so we will see what happens."