ROSSI AND LORENZO MAKE STRONG START WITH SECOND AND FOURTH IN QATAR NIGHT The long-awaited first round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship finally got underway in Qatar tonight, with Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo making...
ROSSI AND LORENZO MAKE STRONG START WITH SECOND AND FOURTH IN QATAR NIGHT
The long-awaited first round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship finally got underway in Qatar tonight, with Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo making a promising start to their weekend by finishing second and fourth. Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards was third, making it three Yamaha's in the top four under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.
With the first Friday practice session now cancelled and all other sessions cut to 45 minutes, it was a strange first 'day' for the riders but the Yamaha duo made the most of the shortened time to adapt to the night time conditions and fine-tune the base settings they found during the test here last month, with conditions much warmer this time around. Rossi was fast from the outset, finishing 0.386 seconds off leader Casey Stoner, whilst Lorenzo took a little longer to find his rhythm but put in a fast lap at the end to jump up the order.
The M1's of Rossi and Lorenzo ran a new logo for the first time tonight for Official Sponsor Packard Bell, which had its global unveiling this morning. The Packard Bell brand means cutting-edge design, style, the ability to understand trends and to enliven desire with creativity. The new red colour and rounded edges fit perfectly with the MotoGP world, evoking competitive spirit, style and trends.
"This evening I am quite happy because at the test we were one second from Casey but now the gap is much less. We had some ideas after the test to improve our pace and I am happy to say that they all seemed to have worked. I am fast, I have a good pace and I am happy with this opening session. We can still improve; the track was quite dirty tonight so I think that tomorrow we will be able to push a bit harder. It's much warmer than at the test and this is helping us too, I am more confident and I can ride my M1 how I want to. It's strange only having 45 minutes in a session and you have to be quite well organised and plan more in advance, but on the whole it doesn't seem so bad to me. This weekend I have a special sticker on my bike, which says 'Forza Abruzzo.' It's a message from us for the people of Abruzzo, where the earthquake was last weekend. It's not so far from my home in Tavullia and I want them to know that we are with them at such a terrible time."
"We had a few problems, mainly in the hard braking areas where I didn't have such a great feeling with the front tyre, but apart from that it's been ok. The track was quite dirty so it was difficult to go at 100%, and I think tomorrow it will be much better. At the end today we made a big improvement and my last lap was much better, so I am not worried and I think tomorrow, with more time on track, we can improve. 45 minutes doesn't feel enough to me but I do understand the reason for this change; if it helps the championship then it's important and we just need to get used to this new way of working. The track should be much less dirty as well tomorrow so I hope we can start from where we finished tonight and keep going."
"It was a good practice tonight because we've taken what we learnt here during the test and at Jerez and made some good improvements to our base setting. Now we just need to continue to work in the same way and stay as close as possible to the top. It was the first time with just one Friday session, our aim was to ensure we used the reduced time as well as possible and I think we achieved this."
"Tonight was not so bad, although it will take some time to get used to the new, short practice! It's quite hard for Jorge as well because he generally likes to do quite a lot of laps. We had a few issues in the hard braking and some understeer into the turns but we improved at the end. Also the track conditions were not perfect which didn't help, but we're positive for tomorrow."
Ambient temperature: 25 degrees
Track temperature: 25 degrees