Rookie Spanish ace Dani Pedrosa grabbed today his third pole position of the season in the British GP, the ninth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), at the Donington Park circuit. Chris Vermeulen, another rookie,...
Rookie Spanish ace Dani Pedrosa grabbed today his third pole position of the season in the British GP, the ninth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), at the Donington Park circuit. Chris Vermeulen, another rookie, and Fortuna Honda rider Marco Melandri completed the front row.
Pedrosa clocked a time of 1m27s676 on his 30th and last lap of the session to confirm the strong pace he had shown on his Repsol Honda bike in yesterday's practice, and to set a new track record in Donington.
"I think we did a good job today. The first few laps will be crucial too of course. I didn't expect to have such a big gap to the rest today, and to be honest I also didn't expect to get pole position at Donington, so it's a nice surprise", Pedrosa commented.
About Sunday's race, the 20 year-old rider explained: "The feeling on the bike is good and the race setup is just about there, too, so what I need to focus on now is making a great start tomorrow -- this is really important".
"We still have to make the final decision on the race tyre, so we'll see how the weather conditions are and use the time in warm-up tomorrow. I'm pleased because we've worked really so far this weekend so I'd like to say thank you to my team", he remarked.
Pedrosa, second in the standings, already took his first MotoGP victory in China and is ready to fight for another one to keep on in the chase for the tittle in his debut season, nothing less.
Second place in the qualifying belonged to Rizla Suzuki racer Vermeulen, although he was almost half a second adrift of Pedrosa with a time of 1m28s158. It is the best qualifying position for the Aussie since the pole position he took in Istanbul for the Turkish GP in April.
"I'm very happy with today's result and being on the front row of the grid. All the guys have worked really hard this week and all credit to all of them. The Bridgestone qualifier worked excellent and it gave me fantastic grip for the lap", Vermeulen mentioned.
The 24 year-old Australian will try to achieve his first career podium in a season that has a sixth place in Catalunya as his top result.
"The thing tomorrow is going to be trying to make a tyre last and be competitive for the whole race distance -- that will be the tricky bit! We have given ourselves the best chance by getting a front row start, so hopefully I can get away well and stay with the lead group", Vermeulen hopes.
Melandri arrived to England determined not to lose any more points in the championship battle, and a third place on the grid is a good way to stay in the fight. The Italian, still hurting from his crash at Barcelona two weeks ago, marked a time of 1m28s205 after 25 laps.
"It is incredible to have set the third fastest time just two weeks after the accident. This is quite a tough circuit and it will be very difficult tomorrow so I just hope to stay with the front group from the start", he said. Melandri suffers intense pain in his neck and shoulder, an issue that should mean a ballast for the two times winner this season.
"Donington requires a lot of physical effort and even though I am not at 100% I hope I can stand the pace of the race. We have to take a step forward with my own pace but considering the pain I am in it was a very good result today", he finished.
John Hopkins put the other Suzuki on fourth place followed by Ducati's Loris Capirossi -- who sat out yesterday's final practice session in order to recuperate from his ongoing abdominal injury -- both Kawasaki boys Randy de Puniet and Shinya Nakano, Casey Stoner, Kenny Roberts jr. and Colin Edwards closing top ten places.
A poor performance had standings leader Nicky Hayden take only the 11th spot with the other bike of Repsol Honda, 0s833 from his teammate and pole winner Pedrosa. The American will have to improve the pace on Sunday if he is to bring home good points for the title chase.
A technical problem at the start of this afternoon's one-hour qualifying session reduced the time available to the 24-year-old American and affected his qualifying position.
"I'm not thrilled with how qualifying went today. We had some electrical problems at the start of the session which cost me quite a lot of time but that's just the way it goes in racing sometimes. We'll put our heads together and try to get an awesome start tomorrow and recover some places quickly", Hayden stated.
The reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi, ended up on 12th position with the Yamaha M1. The Italian continues suffering from his hand injury, a consequence of the Assen accident, and setup problems while his championship hopes seemes to fade away.
"We didn't expect to have so many problems here in Donington because last year our bike worked really well. It's a track where I've always been able to be really fast and go very well from the start, so it's quite disappointing. The situation with the wrist isn't so bad, but I've got some problems in the hard braking areas. For sure I can't ride how I would like to; we're not at the maximum.", Rossi mentioned.
Tomorrow at 13.00 local time will mark the start of the GAS British Grand Prix in a competition that should feature another thrilling show for the lead -- although Pedrosa thinks differently!