GAULOISES YAMAHA PAIR TAKE FRONT TWO GRID SLOTS AT LE MANS Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards took the front two positions on the starting grid for the French Grand Prix in a grand finale to today's qualifying session.
GAULOISES YAMAHA PAIR TAKE FRONT TWO GRID SLOTS AT LE MANS
Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards took the front two positions on the starting grid for the French Grand Prix in a grand finale to today's qualifying session. After a wet morning practice the thick clouds were broken by bright sunshine that warmed the Le Mans circuit in the afternoon, giving the riders a crucial opportunity to work on their race set-up for tomorrow's fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship. It was the most intense practice session of the season so far as the teams worked frantically in the pit boxes and the riders pushed harder and harder towards a dramatic climax.
After setting the fastest time in the only other dry practice so far this weekend, which took place in cool conditions yesterday morning, it was no surprise when Edwards surged to the top of the time sheets with eight minutes remaining. Having used a softer compound Michelin tyre for that lap, Edwards then moved on to his qualifying tyres and posted two more scorching times, only to be denied pole position by his irrepressible team-mate with a pair of stunning laps of his own. Rossi's first effort proved decisive as he stopped the clock at 1'33.226, some 0.199 seconds inside the pole position record, before setting a second lap within a tenth of that time.
VALENTINO ROSSI -- (1'33.226, 29 laps)
"This track wasn't so good for me last year so this pole position is very important. We suffered a little bit in the practice but we did a great job in the hour we had this afternoon. The weather was good, the track surface was good and we were able to take advantage of every available second, working a lot on the tyres and the suspension. The race configuration is not bad. I put in a qualifying tyre and I wasn't at 100% on the first lap, but the second lap was perfect and the grip was excellent. I'm really happy for Yamaha because Colin is second today. He is a fast rider and his performance shows the potential of the YZR-M1. I think we can both have a good race tomorrow."
COLIN EDWARDS (1'33.449, 28 laps)
"At last our hard work in the preseason and over the first three races is paying off! We pulled the bikes off the truck on Friday morning and basically they worked straight away. One of them had a simple base set-up and we dialled a few things into the other one that we thought would work here, and they turned out to be perfect. My race pace was really good and Michelin had the idea of putting a slightly softer tyre on before switching to the qualifiers, which really helped. The whole team have worked tremendously hard so far this season so this is a welcome boost. The first corner should be a bit gnarly but I'm feeling confident and, as I said yesterday, I'm ready to race whatever the weather."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- TEAM DIRECTOR
"The team did a great job today, especially the riders. It is only Saturday but we're very happy to have the top two places on the grid. We've worked hard for the race and it seems both riders can keep a good pace and use all of the potential of the bike. We'll see how it goes tomorrow but my dream is for the same result!"