STONER BACK ON FRONT ROW AS MELANDRI MAKES IMPORTANT PROGRESS Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri played leading roles in qualifying practice for the Grand Prix of China this afternoon. The Australian returned his Ducati to the front row of the grid...
STONER BACK ON FRONT ROW AS MELANDRI MAKES IMPORTANT PROGRESS
Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri played leading roles in qualifying practice for the Grand Prix of China this afternoon. The Australian returned his Ducati to the front row of the grid with the third fastest time whilst the Italian managed to find a good race pace and was as high as fourth place with race tyres before the push for grid positions on qualifying tyres.
Stoner found a good setting for his GP8 in race trim and on the Bridgestone qualifying tyres and he is delighted to have rediscovered his feeling with the bike. Melandri, meanwhile, finally enjoyed a session without any setbacks and was able to work on weight distribution, electronics and tyres he was able to find a much improved set-up for tomorrow's race.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3rd fastest (1'58.591)
"First of all I want to say a big thank you to the team. We had a great result in Qatar and we knew Jerez and Estoril would be tough but we didn't realise how tough. Despite that nobody lost their head, everybody has stayed calm and together and this is the sign of a great team. It has meant that we have been able to come here with a clear focus, without panicking and making drastic changes to the bike. We found a good base setting for this track yesterday, with much improved front feeling, and today we were able to work on finding better grip on the rear. It's still not perfect but the lap times are good and it feels great to know we're competitive again. Also, I want to say thanks to Bridgestone because they came up with a really competitive qualifying tyre and it allowed us to get on the front row for the first time this season. We're all waiting to see what the weather will do but I won here in the wet in 250 back in2005 and I won in the dry last year in MotoGP so we certainly have nothing to fear."
MARCO MELANDRI - (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th fastest (1'59.678)
"Finally I can say I am happy! After three sessions when for one reason or another we couldn't work properly, this afternoon everything clicked. We've worked well, made some important modifications to the weight distribution to reduce spinning and that's allowed me to ride more comfortably. On qualifiers we've struggled a bit but the main thing is race pace. I don't want to make any predictions for tomorrow, about the weather or anything else, we'll just have to wait and see if we can continue this progression in the race. That's the way it should be - the team have always kept believing, remained optimistic and now we hope we can turn that into a result."