Valentino Rossi, the recently-crowned 2008 MotoGP World Champion, got off to a strong start for the season's second-last race in Sepang today, finishing second in the combined standings. The Italian was one of just three riders to dip under the...
Valentino Rossi, the recently-crowned 2008 MotoGP World Champion, got off to a strong start for the season's second-last race in Sepang today, finishing second in the combined standings. The Italian was one of just three riders to dip under the 2'02 mark and the only one to do so in both sessions, having topped the time sheets in the morning.
After torrential downpours yesterday a few spots of rain at the start of second practice caused Rossi to delay his exit from the pits by a few minutes, but it did not worsen and the riders were able to use most of the session to continue with the dry set-up work they had begun in the morning. Rossi spent the day working on developing his base set-up to suit the demands of this track, which is the longest on the calendar, as well as working his way through his allocation of Bridgestone tyres.
Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also put in fast times today, finishing second in the morning and fifth in the combined standings.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 2'02.693 Laps: 38
"This was a good day for us because we were fastest this morning and then second this afternoon behind Colin. I like this track a lot; it's difficult, technical and wide and it's possible to have a lot of fun riding a MotoGP bike here. It's a different feeling compared to the tests here pre-season, because the bike has changed a lot since then and we've also learnt a lot more about the tyres; it's good to see how much we have improved everything since then. Our pace today is already good so I think we have a good potential this weekend, but it's definitely possible to improve some more and make our setting better. We need to work on one or two small things. I have a strong motivation for a good result here!"
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"Overall it's been a good opening day for us. We had a good session this morning, when everything worked well from the start, and then this afternoon we were able to continue more or less in the same way despite losing a bit of time because of the light rain at the start. We've been fast all day and we've collected a lot of information to add to the data we have from testing here pre-season. It seems our bike is already at a good level for this track so tomorrow we will look to refine our setting and finalise our tyre choice to make sure we're in the best shape."
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo made a promising start to the penultimate Grand Prix of his rookie season today, finishing fifth overall in the combined standings on the opening day in Sepang.
Lorenzo got his weekend off to a flying start this morning, finishing second behind his team-mate Valentino Rossi. Light rain at the start of this afternoon's session made the track conditions slightly less predictable and the Spaniard lacked a little grip in his final rear tyre, meaning he was unable to improve on his time from this morning. He is confident however that, with some more work on his set-up and Michelin tyres tomorrow, he will be in the right form to challenge for a front-row grid slot during qualifying.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 5 Time: 2'03.179 Laps: 38
"I felt good here today! Unfortunately this afternoon we changed a lot of things and we didn't have quite enough grip with the final tyre, so we weren't able to improve on the time from this morning, but anyway we know what the problem is so we're not so worried. I think I can be competitive here and that I can fight for the front row tomorrow. It's very hot but it's still great fun to ride the M1 here, you can slide the rear, which is a fantastic feeling on these bikes, and I really enjoyed myself today. I hope that this can continue for the rest of the weekend."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"The morning session was quite good and also useful to help us to confirm the improvements we have made this season since the winter tests. This afternoon was a bit more difficult however because of the changeable track conditions after the little bit of rain we had. Unfortunately we didn't select the best tyre for the right moment but we are confident that we can improve tomorrow and be competitive this weekend."