The qualifying sessions for the Grand Prix of Portugal were cancelled due to rain today as grim weather continued to disrupt the penultimate race of the 2010 season. With water flowing across large areas of the Estoril circuit, the event...
The qualifying sessions for the Grand Prix of Portugal were cancelled due to rain today as grim weather continued to disrupt the penultimate race of the 2010 season. With water flowing across large areas of the Estoril circuit, the event organisers had little choice but to call off qualifying for all three Grand Prix classes this afternoon. Grid positions for tomorrow's race have therefore been decided according to each rider's best overall practice lap from the two sessions yesterday and this morning's practice. According to this system the Repsol Honda riders have been slightly unlucky, with Andrea Dovizioso in seventh on the grid and Dani Pedrosa in twelfth.
Both Dovizioso and Pedrosa set their fastest times in this morning's wet session where they finished in third and eighth places respectively after gaining in confidence and making a lot of progress with their machine settings. However, all the riders who have qualified above Dovizioso set their best times towards the end of yesterday afternoon's session when a drying track meant the conditions were at their most favourable from the weekend so far.
Pedrosa has been making steady progress this weekend after returning from injury and he seemed likely to climb up the timesheets the longer he was out on track. However, with yesterday morning's session also effectively ruled out because of rain, it is somewhat unfortunate for the 25-year-old Spaniard that two precious practice sessions have been lost to rain this weekend. However, Pedrosa remains philosophical about tomorrow's race and will aim to make a fast start and get away with the leaders, whatever the weather does.
The forecast is a little better tomorrow and if those predictions are correct, the Grand Prix of Portugal will start at the scheduled time of 13.00 (GMT + 0 hours, due to the clocks going back one hour tonight.)
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 7th - 1m 50.007s +1.485s
"I'm sorry we couldn't have the qualifying session because our target was to get a front row starting position and, since I was third in the wet this morning, that looked achievable for us. This morning we improved a lot in terms of our set-up and electronics, and I was able to maintain a fast and consistent pace thanks to some important changes on the machine. It was really impossible to have qualifying though - there was no way we could ride in those conditions. Tomorrow the weather forecast seems to be for a wet warm-up and a dry race - and if this happens it really means the race will be a lottery because no one has had any practice time in the dry. Also for me this is a track where it takes some time to find a good rhythm, so really I hope for a dry warm-up session and a dry race."
DANI PEDROSA - 12th - 1m 50.824s + 2.032s
"We were improving step-by-step this morning in terms of my lap times and my position and I think we could have continued that this afternoon, so it's a pity the qualifying session was cancelled - although of course there was no alternative. At the beginning of the morning session I didn't feel particularly confident on the machine but I decided with the team to stay out and keep lapping to get more time on the bike. It was a good decision because we made some good progress in the second half of the session. We wanted to move further forward on the grid this afternoon and I think this should have been possible if the session had gone ahead. Tomorrow we don't know what the weather will do, but what I do know is that from 12th I have to make a great start - wet or dry. I'm not thinking about what Casey and Valentino will do tomorrow - all I can do is give my maximum and hope to keep any loss as small as possible."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Well this was another day owned by the rain and cancelling the qualifying session was the only choice because the conditions were so bad out on track. This didn't really play into our hands however because, as we saw this morning, both Andrea and Dani were making strong progress which I'm sure would have continued had we been able to run this afternoon. So with these qualifying positions, both riders will need to make a good start from their grid slots, and then of course the key factor everyone is waiting to find out about is what the weather will do - both for warm-up and for the race. The simplest scenario for us would be a dry warm up and race but, as ever, we will wait and see, and we will be prepared for any conditions."