San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli missed out on a front row start in tomorrow's season-opening Grand Prix by just 0.041 seconds tonight, qualifying fourth fastest at Losail. However, Super Sic was delighted to have made significant improvements to his performance yesterday and is confident for the race, even though he still has some issues with fuel consumption due to his size and weight. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama qualified twelfth fastest but his race pace has been fast and consistent and he is also confident of a good showing tomorrow.
Marco Simoncelli (4th 1’ 54" 988) "Today went well and I am happy because after the two sessions yesterday I didn't think fourth place would be possible. We made a few small modifications this evening and found a better race setting, then on my qualifying lap I pushed really hard and only missed out on the front row by 0.041 seconds. It's a shame. I am still concerned about fuel consumption but we have some more changes to make before the race. Still, starting so close the the front is an advantage and the other bikes will be burning fuel too! The front two are really strong and it's a closed shop between them but the rest of us have a battle on for a top position."
Hiroshi Aoyama (12th 1’ 55" 724) "The grid position isn't fantastic but in race trim I feel ready.I would have obviously liked to start closer to the front but I am still pretty confident about tomorrow night. Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic out there at the end of the session and I couldn't improve but I am looking forward to a good race and a good result."
Fausto Gresini "I have to say I didn't expect these lap times, everybody has gone very fast tonight and all we can do is go even harder! I am really happy for Marco and pleased with his excellent performance. A second row start is very important for him. It hasn't been an easy weekend but compared to yesterday he made a lot of progress, thanks to the focus of the team. Looking at the lap time Aoyama seems to be in trouble but that is not the case - his race pace is good and I am confident of his chances tomorrow in the race too."
Alberto Vitaloni (PRESIDENTE SAN CARLO GROUP) "It is a wonderful evening - one we have been waiting for a long time and I am really happy. Qualifying on the second row is a fantastic feeling and I am extremely excited about it."